National Teacher Certification: A Waste of Time

Published January 4, 2011

Strangely, after admitting that the paper credential of national teacher certification does not necessarily correlate with superior teaching performance, you go on to argue the intrinsic worth of local teachers having endured the “challenging, time-consuming process” of meeting National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) requirements. (“Certified teachers make effort to rise to top of profession,” Jan. 2.) That reasoning values process more highly than actual educational output.

Created in 1987 at the behest of the national teacher unions and schools of education, the NBPTS is a contrivance to convey taxpayer-funded bonuses to teachers who can show through videotapes and portfolios that they subscribe to the “progressive” pedagogy favored by most ed-schools. That means adherence to such dubious doctrines as “constructivism” (students construct their own knowledge) and multiculturalism. NBPTS ideologues deride teacher-directed instruction of basic skill and knowledge, which necessarily entails some memorization, as “drill and kill.”

Unsurprisingly, independent studies have shown that nationally certified teachers are no more effective than non-certified teachers at generating gains in objectively measured student achievement. What then is the value for students of their teachers consuming so much time in this flawed process? Wouldn’t young folks (and the general public) be better served if teachers devoted their undivided attention to their students?
Robert Holland, Senior Fellow for Education Policy, Heartland Institute