The Edmond Sun

Our View

February 24, 2012

OUR VIEW: Teacher certification payment causes concern

EDMOND — Educators have become pitted against legislators once again over a program that should have brought nothing but good things to our schools and students. However, teachers and lawmakers alike have soured over the National Board Certified Teachers program due to insufficient state funds to keep up promised annual payments to those teachers who earned the designation.

In 1998, the Legislature agreed to pay $5,000 a year per teacher earning the designation for up to 10 years delivering a total of $50,000 to those who put in the time, money and effort to gain the certification.

An unforeseen consequence of the state promise is that in 1998 only 36 teachers received the certification. That number grew annually. By 2007, 438 additional teachers attained the certification that year alone. There are now a total of 2,994 NBC teachers in Oklahoma set to earn a $5,000 a year stipend for their 10 years. In Edmond, there are 137 NBC teachers.

The state made a partial payment in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years. This academic year the NBC teachers will receive no stipend at all, causing them to cry foul. Rightly so, as a promise is a promise and those teachers budgeted on those funds coming to them. And it’s not the first time the Legislature has played fast and loose with teachers’ purse strings. Just look at the number of years state pension funds were not fully funded.

The real question we must ask is if it was wise to make this promise to teachers to begin with? We think not and we’re glad to see the Legislature place a moratorium on payments to those gaining the certification going forward.

While it’s true that the program is rigorous and the certification is difficult to obtain, it’s also true that few studies exist that quantify the program’s effectiveness in achieving student results. Oklahoma far outstrips its neighboring states in number of certified teachers but continues to rank low in educational attainment nationally.

Superintendent Janet Barresi is asking the Oklahoma Legislature to restore $157.9 million back to the State Department of Education’s budget for next fiscal year, but there’s no guarantee those funds will materialize. She was wise to ask for the NBCT funds to be a line item because it allows her to protect the funds for now, but makes it easier to eliminate the funds in the future once the state’s current obligations are met.

If teachers truly want to keep the stipend program, then a measurement of its success must be developed to prove its worthiness to taxpayers. Just like in any other industry, individuals must weigh the costs versus the benefits of continued professional development.

We hope teachers will continue to develop their skills while understanding that difficult budget times call for tough choices to be made.

1
Text Only
Our View
  • OUR VIEW: Don’t wait to improve reading

    One state representative wants to hold off implementing The Oklahoma Reading Sufficiency Act until more funding for the education reform is put in place by the Legislature.

    February 17, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Votes needed Tuesday

    Voters in the Edmond Public Schools’ District 4 seat will be asked to make a choice Tuesday at the ballot box.
    Running for Edmond Board of Education are Cynthia Benson and Stephanie Bills. This is for a five-year term of service on the board and replaces the seat vacated last year by longtime board member George Cohlmia. Bills was appointed by the Board of Education last spring to fulfill the remainder of Cohlmia’s unexpired term.

    February 8, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Consider storm shelter petition carefully

    Thousands of Oklahomans are expected to sign a petition seeking a state bond issue to pay for installing storm shelters in every Oklahoma public school. And after seeing the destruction wrought in Moore — again — we certainly support the need for school districts to vigorously pursue adding storm shelters to their buildings.
    However, the mechanism that we choose to pay for this endeavor needs to be carefully considered.

    November 18, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Even one death by violence is too many

    A recent study highlights the rate of women killed by men in 2011. In this study, Oklahoma ranked third in the nation with 38 women killed that year by men, often their partners. In 2010, there were 27 women killed by men in Oklahoma.

    October 25, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: We’re tired of waiting

    Getting to a compromise before Thursday’s deadline to end the government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt ceiling may take more political willpower and guts than most in Congress currently have to give.

    October 14, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Caudill should step down

    Oklahoma County Clerk Carolynn Caudill has apologized publicly for her actions. She takes the blame for her Sept. 17 DUI arrest and promises constituents that she will be better in the future.

    September 30, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Thank you Supreme Court

    All Oklahomans received good news this past week when the state Supreme Court ruled that the University of Central Oklahoma can legally use the Master Lease program from the State Regents of Higher Education to pay for bonds to build a new Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office.

    September 28, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Downtown needs homegrown vision

    Local developer Pete Reeser brought up an excellent question this week before the Edmond City Council.

    September 14, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Throw out government cheaters

    Conservatives for decades have argued that government is too bloated, that the United States is becoming over-regulated and that both conditions are harmful to our economic future.
    Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., have highlighted an issue that just proves that the U.S. government truly needs a good pruning.
    More than 311,000 federal employees and retirees now owe a total of $3.5 billion in federal taxes, according to the IRS. That’s right — billion with a “b.”
    According to a fact sheet released by Coburn’s office, the IRS has found the following delinquencies:

    July 22, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Let’s regulate digital signs already

    For those who have paid any attention to the city’s tortured discussion these past three years about updating its sign ordinance, we don’t blame any of you for being confused. It’s hard not to be when City Council members are so clearly confused themselves about what they really want, in particular regarding electronic messaging center signs.

    June 24, 2013