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Virginia Journal of Education


NBCTs on the rise

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The ranks of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) are growing steadily, according to statistics from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Here are some of the organization's figures:

. The number of NBCTs has almost tripled during the past five years, moving from 23,930 in 2002 to nearly 64,000 in 2007.

. The states that had the most teachers earn national certification in 2007 were Florida (1,675), North Carolina (1,442), South Carolina (651), Illinois (511) and Washington (484). Virginia was seventh in 2007, with 285 teachers becoming nationally certified.

. Twenty-five states, including the District of Columbia, had an increase in NBCTs in 2007 of at least 20 percent compared with 2006.

. NBCTs now comprise at least 5 percent of the total teaching force in five states: North Carolina (13.5 percent), South Carolina (12.1 percent), Mississippi (8.7 percent), Florida (6.7 percent) and Delaware (5 percent).


Education Funding Often
Missing Districts
Where It's Most Needed

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Too many states in the U.S. are still providing the fewest resources to their school districts serving students with the greatest needs, according to an annual report by The Education Trust. In addition, the report lists Virginia as one of 16 states where the funding gap between high- and low-poverty districts actually grew between 1999 and 2005.

The report, called "The Funding Gap," examines the resources that are made available by states to school districts serving the highest percentages of low-income students and minority students and compares them with the resources provided to districts with the lowest percentages of such students.

There is evidence of some progress in the report, however. The Education Trust says that 10 states decreased their funding gap between 1999 and 2005, and in five states (Alaska, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ohio), high-minority districts received at least $1,000 more per student than districts with the lowest percentages of minority students.

"This report delivers both bad and good news," says Kati Haycock, The Education Trust's president. "We hope that the bad news will shine a light on the work that must be done to make the promise of equal educational opportunity real. The good news will remind citizens and policymakers that unjust funding patterns are not carved in stone."


American Public
Supports the Arts

WASHINGTON, D.C.-While some policymakers may seem to disagree, a new national poll shows that the American public understands the importance of subjects such as art and music as young people seek to attain the skills needed to succeed.

In a random phone survey of 1,000 likely registered voters, co-sponsored by the NEA:

. 80 percent believe that arts education helps equip students with the imagination and critical, intellectual and personal skills they'll need in a global economy;
. 85 percent agree that just learning the basics, without an emphasis on being imaginative, creative and innovative, is insufficient in today's environment;
. 78 percent say that working for good scores on standardized tests doesn't motivate students to perform beyond the average and doesn't fully develop their imaginations;
. 87 percent believe that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, when integrated with the arts, offers students essential skills to promote innovation.

"The poll confirms that voters understand two key problems with current education policy," says John Wilson, NEA's executive director. "There's too much attention paid to standardized testing and not enough to the arts and helping our children develop 21st-century skills."

Schools Must Reach Out
to Parents of ELLs

TEMPE, AZ-English language learners (ELLs) now make up more than 10 percent of the U.S. student population and have grown increasingly isolated from their English-proficient peers in the last decade, making parental involvement for such students critical work for schools.

In a new research brief, the Education Policy Research Unit at Arizona State University looks at some of the obstacles to parent involvement for ELL families, including the education level of the parents, the parents' inability to speak English, differences between home culture and school culture, and the view of some school officials that ELL parents lack the ability to be effectively involved.

The brief, entitled "Promoting ELL Parent Involvement: Challenges in Contested Times," goes on to offer several recommendations, among them supporting linguistically and culturally appropriate outreach programs to parents; using non-traditional approaches such as meeting clothing needs for ELL students; and sponsoring professional development programs for teachers.


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