An Edutopian View of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

December 7, 2017

An Edutopian View of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Edutopia posted an article on December 1 about the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards headlined “National Board Aims to Certify 1 Million.” If it told the whole story, it might be headlined “National Board Aims to Pay Back $1 Million.”

NBPTS offers a voluntary national certification program for teachers that seeks to establish a higher standard than state licensure. The fees for certification total about $2,000, but some states and organizations provide financial assistance. The U.S. Department of Education has issued $10.4 million in grants to the organization through various established funds. Some school districts give nationally certified teachers additional pay.

The program has been generally well-received over the years. The Edutopia article explains that the board has certified 112,000 teachers in its 30-year existence. It does not mention that the original goal of NBPTS was 100,000 certified teachers by 2003 – a goal it did not reach until last year. Its new goal is 1 million nationally certified teachers by 2025.

This is an ambitious target, particularly since NBPTS has had trouble handling its money recently. The organization’s net assets since 2010 show a steady and troubling decline:

2010: $32.8 million

2011: $28.9 million

2012: $22.5 million

2013: $16.8 million

2014: $11.9 million

2015: $5 million

2016: $1.8 million

$1 million, no-interest loan from the National Education Association in 2016 hasn’t stemmed the decline.

Edutopia doesn’t address the financial health of NBPTS, but does note that “the board has introduced an online tool called Atlas, which contains videos of certified teachers at work to help guide the application process from afar.”

Let’s hope Atlas is valuable, since NBPTS used it as collateral to secure the NEA loan.

The loan’s term is five years, with $50,000 repayments to NEA for the first three years, followed by balloon payments of $250,000 and $600,000 in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Further help from the federal government or even the national teachers’ unions seems, at best, uncertain. Without a secure revenue stream, the organization’s lofty goals are unreachable, and its future is in doubt.

Recent Intercepts. EIA’s daily blog, Intercepts, covered these topics December 1-6:

* Winner of NEA PAC Giveaway Got Locked Away. How quickly one’s luck can turn.

Don’t Pass Laws You Can’t Enforce. Ridiculous.

* Knock, Knock. Janice?

Quote of the Week. “CCEA would like to reassure you that you will continue to have professional liability insurance and be provided legal services, as well as not lose insurance plans you may have purchased through NEA’s discount program. Though many of you will never utilize this benefit, it is nonetheless there for you.” – Vikki Courtney and Theo Small, president and vice president of the Clark County Education Association, responding to the state and national unions’ cutting off CCEA member benefits because of nonpayment of dues. The unions are litigating their disputes. (December 1 CCEA letter to members)