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August 04, 2009
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Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) has the highest number of teachers with certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (139) of any Ohio district, but the way these teachers are distributed across the??district threatens to undermine CPS' mission to improve learning for all students.??
The Enquirer recently posted numbers illustrating the inequitable spread of Board certified teachers. Unsurprisingly, they are more likely to be located in buildings that are higher performing, and children in?? schools rated "D" or "F" are less likely to come into contact with such "highly qualified" teachers.
The discrepancy between "A/A+" schools and "F" schools is stark, with 213 students per one board certified teachers in the highest achieving CPS schools, and 1,097, or five times as many students per one such teacher in the most struggling CPS schools.
Student/teacher ratios for National Board certified instructors in Cincinnati Public Schools??(broken down by academic rating)
Source: Ohio Department of Education and Cincinnati Enquirer article
Whether National Board certification improves a teacher's classroom effectiveness is up for debate, as is the relationship between a school's academic status and the number of "highly qualified" teachers who teach there (e.g. is the school "F" because its teachers are not "highly qualified," or do no "highly qualified" teachers want to work there because it is an "F" school?)
Nevertheless, National Board certification is a selective process and signifies that a teacher has put in the effort to apply for the honor (it takes up to three years). And while teacher effectiveness (measured in part by student test scores) is more important than teacher quality (measured by degrees, certification, years of service), we'd??guess that this uneven distribution of Board certified teachers mirrors the larger pattern of inequity between highly effective and less effective teachers, with less effective teachers migrating to or stagnating at the worst schools.
In a recent analysis of human capital in the Queen City, The New Teacher Project (TNTP) recognized the problem of inequitable distribution of talent and made several recommendations to combat it, including: making hiring and transfer processes less burdensome; giving principals more authority over hiring (e.g. the ability to reject less effective candidates); and??increasing the concentration of highly effective teachers in low-performing schools through tools such as performance-based pay.??CPS superintendent Mary Ronan has agreed that channeling effective teachers to the most high-need schools will be a priority in the upcoming union contract negotiations.
Regardless of how you measure teacher quality or effectiveness (through National Board certification or another measure), it is clear that CPS - and all Ohio districts - must find ways to encourage the most talented teachers to go where they are needed.
??- Jamie Davies?? O'Leary