More state teachers expected to gain national certification

The Associated Press
Monday November 19, 2001

SACRAMENTO – The number of nationally certified public schoolteachers in California is expected to jump sharply this year, thanks in part to bonuses the state gives those who earn the honor, state officials said in a conference call with reporters Sunday. 

More than 500 state public school teachers are expected to be certified by the nonprofit National Board for Professional Teaching Standards this year. That will push the total number of nationally certified public school teachers in the state to roughly 1,200. California has 300,000 public school teachers. 

Public school teachers must have a state credential to teach in California. A national credential is not required, but is considered prestigious. Officials will announce Tuesday which teachers earned certification this year. 

During the administration of former Gov. Pete Wilson, California began awarding $10,000 bonuses to teachers certified under the national program. As recently as three years ago, there were only 59 such teachers in the state. 

Since then, Gov. Gray Davis has signed legislation promising another $20,000 to certified teachers who agreed to work for at least four years in low-performing schools. 

“It is a significant financial incentive and I certainly believe it is making a difference,” California Education Secretary Kerry Mazzoni said during the conference call. 

Candidates for national certification must have three years’ experience and are required to submit portfolios of their work, student work samples and other items. State, federal and private funds underwrite nearly the entire $2,300 application cost. 

Since the non-governmental National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, based in Arlington, Va., began certifying teachers in 1995, 9,531 teachers nationwide have earned the honor. About 13,000 more sought certification this year, including 1,033 from California. 

Roughly three dozen other states also offer financial incentives for teachers who win national certification.