Education Funding

Donors Underwriting National-Board Fees

By Bess Keller — April 10, 2007 1 min read

Two prominent corporations are channeling support to teachers seeking national certification as a way to advance some of the donors’ charitable causes.

Fannie Mae, the federally chartered home-mortgage company, has put up an initial $1.3 million to help as many as 250 public school teachers in the District of Columbia win certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Those same teachers will also be eligible for down-payment assistance of $10,000 so they can buy homes in the nation’s capital.

Separately, GlaxoSmithKline, an international pharmaceutical and health-care company, has announced a $1 million endowment to support about 50 American science teachers a year seeking the national credential.

The fee for the extensive assessments that lead to the voluntary national certification in specific teaching fields is $2,500. Another expense for school districts that want to encourage the credential is hiring nationally certified teachers to coach candidates through the process, which usually lasts at least a year.

A spokeswoman for Fannie Mae said she did not yet know exactly how the money targeted for certification would be spent by the District of Columbia schools. The fund is part of $10 million in new contributions the secondary-mortgage-market company is making in Washington, where it is based. In addition to the $1.3 million for teachers, $2 million is to go this year to upgrade high school athletic facilities, support after-school activities, and open more school recreational facilities to residents.

The GlaxoSmithKline fund proceeds will be distributed as scholarships covering teachers’ assessment fees. The giant pharmaceutical company, whose U.S. headquarters are in Research Triangle Park, N.C., works to improve science education. Its charitable giving focuses on health care and education.

A version of this article appeared in the April 11, 2007 edition of Education Week

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