I totally get where you are coming from when you talk about teacher voice in ed policy. We need to have more influence, if only to make sure we don’t keep making the same mistakes as a nation. But, like with many things, even in our own land we are not seen as having what it takes to truly lead. Take the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for example. It is one of the most important reforms to influence education in the past 25 years. It created a professional standard for teaching that is uniformly high and agreed on as accomplished not just effective. It used collaboration and consensus to secure broad based support in a time (1985) when teachers were almost as poorly respected as they seem now. It is a performance based assessment with proven credibility and power.
The idea of recognizing and rewarding excellence has served to strengthen the teaching profession and yet…
It has floundered in recent years. As an organization it has not moved quickly when it needed to respond to criticisms and has not stood up to destructive forces that have, in some experts’ opinion “infantalized” teachers. The organization, born to promote accomplished teaching has not, at least recently, acted like a teacher by standing up to the class bullies. It has not effectively taught the nation how valuable accomplished teaching truly is, what it means for our country, and why it should be invested in locally and nationally. It has acted more like an administrator or more closely a bureaucrat, who chooses battles that do not matter (certifying principals) and avoided politically difficult but important issues (certifying teachers in high-needs schools) that would further the profession. I’ll remind you here that I am an NBCT and proud of it but, I have never felt the organization represented me accurately, or effectively empower me, post certification. It did not connect me with other early childhood educators with whom I could develop a community of practice or provide me opportunities to support other preschool teachers. When I first certified as an Early Childhood Generalist in 2004 I spent hours and hours trying to identify other Head Start teachers with whom I could connect. It was impossible through the NBPTS because they did not have a database that described grade levels and when they launched NBCT Link the interface was entirely one dimensional.
I think if the organization, founded by teachers for teachers, was actually run by a teacher, we might see a more responsive, politically risky, and powerful advocate for the teaching profession. And guess what, now we have that opportunity.
The NBPTS is hiring a new President and CEO to lead NBCTs into a new era for the organization. Here is my nominee for the position of t leaders of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.
Renee Moore: An accomplished teacher and powerful speaker who is unafraid to face political flack. She daily picks up the shield of equity in the name of what’s right for students. She is an exemplar of the very teacher the NBPTS has stated it wants to certify. She has taught children of color, living in poverty, in a high needs school. As Barnett Berry said recently, “Renee is a state teacher of the year, a Milken winner, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of TEACHING (its first Board member who taught K-12!) and chairs major committees on teaching quality reforms in her home state. Her experience is broad and deep.”
Renee could take over the CEO position from her perch on the board of the NBPTS and really make the organization a beacon for accomplished teachers passionate about equity and teacher voice in education policy. Even if Renee isn’t interested in becoming a beltway insider I hope the board considers hiring a person that stands up for equity and understands the power of accomplished teaching intimately.