After the recession started, the state cut 10 percent raises for teachers who spent time and money on national board certification. Although Gov. Nathan Deal says he’s planning to spend $547 million more on education, the extra money isn’t expected to translate to raises for about 2,000 nationally board certified teachers in Georgia.
“They took our supplement and gave us furlough days,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Cherokee County high school science teacher Christine Lauer as saying. “They took the people who had gone the furthest, who had gone the extra mile, and said, ‘We’re going to hurt you for bettering yourself.’”
National board certification isn’t a requirement, but it’s believed to have ties to how effective an educator is in the classroom. During a study in 2012, researchers from Harvard University found teachers who were board certified in Gwinnett County — the state’s largest district — outperformed peers with the same level of experience in certain subject areas. Several other studies have also found that national board certified teachers had greater impacts on minority and low-income students.
Heavenly Montgomery, a board certified teacher who now works as a Title I data support specialist for Fulton County Schools, said the national board certification process forced her to follow research-based practices in theory and application.
“In order to certify you have to show evidence in writing and video- taped lessons of the teacher actually applying best practices,” she said, adding that the national board standards are more rigorous than the state’s evaluation criteria.
Republican Rep. Earl Ehrhart, House budget subcommittee chairman, said it would be difficult to fund the pay supplements, and he understands why Deal didn’t include them in the 2014 budget proposal.
“I haven’t changed my position on national board certification,” he said. “It was a promise we made and I still think we ought to continue to try to find a way to fund it.”
National Board of Professional Teaching Standards spokeswoman Aparna Kumar said nearly three-fourths of all states offer support for teachers who are nationally certified. The support can range from extra pay to the state paying for teachers to renew their certification.