Setting ‘The Standard’ for what’s to come

January 15, 2015

Exactly twenty years ago, I was a graduate student and a student teacher, simultaneously trying to figure out what I was doing, and where I was headed as a teacher. Some of my professors at the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) told us about a relatively new National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. They explained the Board’s potential to elevate the profession by certifying accomplished teaching practice relative to a set of teacher-developed standards. Like a newly hatched bird, I imprinted on the National Board, saw it as an essential part of my growth and development in the profession.

That imprint has, in a way, led me to this moment, launching a new blogging project in collaboration with the National Board and with NBCT-bloggers around the country. In between, I’ve been certified and recertified by the Board, served as a candidate support provider, presented at NBPTS conferences and advocated for the Board and NBCTs in the halls of Congress and my state legislature.

The common thread in these activities has always been an abiding belief in the centrality of teacher voice in quality education. It seems self-evident to me, and many others, that the best schools, systems, and policies emerge from inclusive processes that depend upon teachers’ vision, voices, and leadership at every step. Still, teacher leadership has been a slowly emerging and shifting concept for a long time, and we still have work to do to define and strengthen that leadership.

The Standard will be a blog space that aims to contribute to defining and strengthening teacher leadership, by sharing the reflections and insights of some dynamic NBCTs around the country. Our stories will illuminate teaching practices and policies from diverse classrooms and settings, while sharing the kind of analytical and reflective lens that distinguishes accomplished teachers. Follow along, share the posts with colleagues and other education leaders and stakeholders, and help us amplify the voices of accomplished teachers to bring about better teaching and learning nationwide.

David B. Cohen, NBCT

David B. Cohen is a National Board Certified English Teacher and the Blog Editor of The Standard. Cohen taught high school English for 12 years in Palo Alto, Ca. For several years, Cohen co-directed a teacher leadership network called Accomplished California Teachers (ACT). That experience gave him opportunities to learn about and work with teachers from all over California. Having worked with a variety of other networks and organizations, and having built relationships with individuals and groups around the state, Cohen is currently working on a book about excellence in California public education. Follow him on twitter @CohenD.