To the Editor:
Your article concerning the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (“Expansion of Licensing Test Hits New Bumps,” Nov. 3, 2004) took an admirable first step in presenting the facts about the American Board. However, I would like to offer the following clarifications about the board, its program, and its funding.
First, the American Board was launched by the National Council on Teacher Quality and has been an independent nonprofit organization since January 2004. It is not currently “affiliated” with the Education Leaders Council. The ELC was a partner with the NCTQ in the initial project, but the ELC has never been responsible for fiscal or management oversight of the American Board.
Second, there is some confusion over the reviews used in the grant-approval process. The American Board was awarded two different grants. The first was awarded in October 2001, which was prior to passage of the No Child Left Behind Act. That was a $5 million, two-year grant to the NCTQ and required peer reviewers to make recommendations to the U.S. secretary of education. Two of the reviewers merely questioned the need for alternative certification, while the third reviewer saw the merits of the proposal and gave it 99 points out of a possible 100. The secretary of education, understanding the need for highly qualified teachers, agreed with the third reviewer and awarded the funding.
Finally, the second grant was awarded to the American Board in September 2003 for $35 million over a five-year period. Three out of three reviewers of that grant proposal recommended funding, with an average score of 91 out of 100 points. Clearly, when the American Board applied for a second grant, the requirement for highly qualified teachers was law, and there were no reservations about the quality or value of the board’s program.
In the past, some organizations have misrepresented the facts about the American Board. This practice can only divide. Instead, we need to unify our efforts to meet the goal of placing highly qualified teachers in every classroom. We know that our method of certification achieves this goal, helping our children and our future.
Randy C. Thompson
Vice President of Marketing and
American Board for Certification of
A version of this article appeared in the November 17, 2004 edition of Education Week as American Board Objects to ‘Misrepresented Facts’