Paying a premium
Washington state teachers who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards would see a 15 percent pay increase under a proposal that Gov. Gary Locke plans to present to the legislature during the session that convened last week.
The salary supplement would represent the most generous offered by any state and a significant increase over what Washington offers now, according to NBPTS spokeswoman Nancy Schwartz.
Washington teachers who complete the rigorous, voluntary certification process now earn a $3,500 annual bonus. The state also gives teachers attempting national certification a $1,000 subsidy to help cover the $2,300 fee charged by the privately organized board to enter the yearlong process.
The Democratic governor also announced $1.5 million in foundation and corporate grants to help up to 600 teachers go through the certification process over the next four years.
"This is great news for students, who benefit from energized and well- prepared teachers," state schools Superintendent Terry Bergeson said of the pay proposal.
Thirty-nine states give some incentive to pursue the certification— such as helping teachers pay the fee or freeing them from some duties—and 29 states provide extra pay to teachers who win certification, which is good for 10 years. Some offer lump-sum bonuses, while others provide supplements based on a percentage of the educator's salary.
If the legislature approves Mr. Locke's plan, Washington state will offer the highest such percentage. Currently, North Carolina holds that status, giving board-certified educators a 12 percent pay supplement. The Tar Heel State has by far the most board- certified teachers in the nation, with 2,407 of the nationwide total of 9,524.
Washington has just 67 teachers who are board-certified, including 42 who earned that status last year.
Vol. 20, Issue 18, Page 18