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Quality across the board

By Staff
For the 12th year, North Carolina leads the nation in the number of teachers who have earned certification by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.
That’s great news.
Florida ranks second. South Carolina is third. California is fourth. Ohio is fifth.
Wake County’s public school system is ranked No. 2 nationally, with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County school system ranked No. 4 nationally.
That’s great news — for those two school systems. That news also underscores the fact that the state’s affluent school systems have the resources that enhance the opportunities and abilities for their teachers to earn national board certifications while poorer school systems don’t have those resources.
It’s the same old story — the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Poorer school systems have problems with finding enough teachers who meet minimum qualifications. It is not surprising that many school teachers want to work for school systems that pay higher salaries, help them earn national board certifications and have the resources to provide them with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.
Across North Carolina, there are 12,770 teachers with national board certifications. About 15 percent of the teachers in the state have earned those certifications.
Those preparations are needed. So are preparations that would allow poorer school systems to increase the number of their national board certified teachers.
To be sure, North Carolina supports teachers’ efforts to earn their national board certifications. The state does the following:
Those are wonderful incentives and rewards. Perhaps some other incentives could be made available to teachers in poor school systems that don’t have the resources that a Wake County school system or a Charlotte-Mecklenburg County school system has to help its teachers. A teacher in the poorest school system in the state should have the same opportunities that a teacher with the richest school system in the state has when it comes to earning national board certification.
After all, state law requires that each student in the state be provided an opportunity to receive a “free” and quality education. As it has for years, the definition of quality is often determined by how much money a school system has to spend on education. In reality, that means richer school systems provide their students and teachers with opportunities that poorer school systems cannot provide their students and teachers.
School systems in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin and Washington counties have quality teachers. Some teachers in those school systems either have achieved national board certifications or are working toward earning those certifications. The teachers seeking certification probably could use some extra help.
Providing the extra assistance would be a good investment for the state. After all, the more national board certified teachers the state has, the better job it should be able to do when it comes to providing the best education possible to students.
When it comes to the state leading the nation in the number of national board certified teachers, North Carolinians should celebrate that accomplishment.
When the celebrating is over, the state should do its best to ensure that teachers in its poorer school systems have the same opportunities their counterparts in richer school systems are afforded.
Quality teachers and quality education should be statewide.