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Two Key Officials Have Resigned From National Teaching-Standards Board

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Two senior staff members have resigned from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the privately organized group that is establishing a voluntary system for certifying outstanding teachers.

James R. Smith, the senior vice president, left the Detroit-based organization last month to pursue other interests. Mr. Smith, a former top official in the California education department, oversaw the development of the board's assessments for evaluating teachers.

Joan Baratz-Snowden, the vice president for education policy and reform, has become the deputy director of the educational-issues department at the American Federation of Teachers.

Mr. Smith said his departure after nearly four years was "entirely amicable."

"I'm proud of what we accomplished on my watch," he said. "We published 20 standards and demonstrated it was possible to deliver technically and legally defensible performance assessments that really do identify accomplished teachers."

Mr. Smith said he intends to move back to California and do educational consulting.

New Assessments

At the AFT, based in Washington, Ms. Baratz-Snowden will seek ways for the union to further the national board's agenda through professional-development activities and support for its vision of accomplished teaching.

"My heart is with the national board, and everything I do here will be influenced by that," she said. "I don't feel that I've left it, so much as I have gone to help support it in other ways."

David Mandel, the board's vice president for policy development, will handle the duties once shouldered by Ms. Baratz-Snowden. He has been primarily responsible for creating the standards of accomplished teaching for each field in which the national board intends to offer certification.

Now that 20 sets of standards are finished or under way, the board plans to concentrate on creating more assessments to go with them, said James A. Kelly, its pre~sident.

Two people will share Mr. Smith's job, each on a half-time basis. Lloyd Bond, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Philip Kearney, a professor at the University of Michigan, will be senior advisers to Mr. Kelly.

In the future, Mr. Kelly said, the organization plans to contract out the development of its assessments and the administration of the nationwide system for offering them to teachers. That means fewer staff people will be needed to coordinate the work.

Mr. Kelly said the request for proposals for the work, issued over the summer, called for the formation of a consortium to handle those tasks. The new contract also will include coordinating work among subcontractors. Several bids are being considered.

The organization's 63-member governing board, however, will retain quality control over the assessments, Mr. Kelly said. "We are making very sure that the substantive control of our assessments remains with us and not with a contractor."

At its October meeting, members of the governing board may be asked to increase the fee for candidates seeking certification in the 1996-97 school year. Evaluating the first two groups of teachers to undergo the process cost more than four times the $975 charged each teacher. (See Education Week, May 31, 1995.)

Mr. Kelly said the fee likely will need to increase substantially. Eventually, the organization hopes the certification system--now paid for by grants and federal money--will sustain itself through the fees paid by candidates.

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