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Volume 18, Number 2
March/April 2002

Putting National Board Certification to the Test

After years of development, this credential for veteran teachers is drawing high praise—and tough questions, too


In February 1997, David Lustick was itching for a challenge. He had earned a master's degree in education and taught high school chemistry in New York City for four years. Now he was in São Paolo, Brazil, teaching at the American School. It was after midnight, and Lustick was watching President Bill Clinton's State of the Union speech on television. "To have the best schools, we must have the best teachers," the president said as he endorsed the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Clinton noted that just 500 of the nation's three million teachers had been certified by NBPTS as accomplished veteran teachers since 1994, the first year of credentialing. He asked Congress to provide the resources to encourage 100,000 teachers to become National Board certified in the coming years. "We should reward and recognize our best teachers. And as we reward them, we should quickly and fairly remove those few who don't measure up, and we should challenge more of our finest young people to consider teaching as a career."

That was the first time David Lustick heard of National Board certification. The idea grabbed him: "I felt that my practice was unrecognized. This was a way to distinguish myself and improve my marketability for future positions." Later that year, Lustick paid the $2,000-plus fee out of his own pocket and began the process of getting National Board certification to teach high school science.

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For Further Information

For Further Information

L. Bond. "Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and the Assessment of Accomplished Teaching." Journal of Negro Education 67, no. 3 (1998): 242-254.

R. Burroughs. "Composing Standards and Composing Teachers." Journal of Teacher Education 52, no. 3 (May/June 2001): 222-223.

R. Burroughs, T.A. Schwartz, and M. Hendricks-Lee. "Communities of Practice and Discourse Communities: Negotiating Boundaries in NBPTS Certification." Teachers College Record 102, no. 2 (April 2000): 346-376.

Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession. "A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century." New York: Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986.

S.M. Johnson. "Can Professional Certification for Teachers Re shape Teaching as a Career?" Phi Delta Kappan 82, no. 5 (January 2001): 393-399.

G. Ladson-Billings. The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.

G. Ladson-Billings and L. Darling-Hammond. "The Validity of National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)/Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Assessments for Effective Urban Teachers: Findings and Implications for Assessments." Paper prepared for the National Partnership for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching, May 2000.

M. Podgursky. "Should States Subsidize National Certification?" Education Week, April 11, 2001: 38, 40-41.

M. Podgursky. "Defrocking the National Board." Education Next 1, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 79-82.

M. Poliakoff. "Mastering the Basics." Philanthropy 15, no. 6 (October 2001): 22-25.

C. Tell. "Appreciating Good Teaching: A Conversation with Lee Shulman." Educational Leadership 58, no. 5 (February 2001): 6-11.

D.D. Wilcox. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: Can It Live Up to Its Promise? Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 2000.