California could address achievement gap by putting a National Board Certified Teacher in every classroom

Teachers author report calling on CA to support 15% increase in NBCTs by 2030

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards released a report today that outlines how increasing the number of highly accomplished teachers in California classrooms, particularly in the state’s high-need schools, could help eliminate the state’s growing achievement gap. The report, “One Million More: Building a Workforce of National Board Certified Teachers for California Students,” includes key recommendations for California legislators to implement to increase the number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in the state by 2030.  

 Authored by Bootsie Battle-Holt, NBCT and Lori Celiz, NBCT, both California Advocacy Fellows with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the report notes that if 15% of California teachers achieve National Board Certification – an advanced credential offered by the National Board that is considered the gold standard in teaching – one million more California students could have access to highly accomplished teachers. 

 “I feel passionately that the children of California deserve to be taught by National Board Certified Teachers and that’s especially true in rural and high needs schools. These teachers teach to the highest standards and help drive student learning. We are calling on the state to take action so even more students have access to these highly skilled educators,” said Celiz.

 Repeated studies have shown that students taught by NBCTs demonstrate significant learning gains. Estimates of the increase in learning are on the order of an additional one to two months of instruction. In California, recent research found that a key differentiator of the top-performing school districts was “hiring, supporting, and retaining a strong, stable educator workforce.”

“Research shows that National Board Certified teachers are both highly effective in the classroom and also powerful leaders, raising the effectiveness of other teachers in their schools, through mentoring, coaching, and collaborative planning.”said Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the Learning Policy Institute and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University.

Throughout the U.S., many states support National Board Certification for their teachers by offering a financial incentive to NBCTs, with an additional stipend for NBCTs in designated high-need schools; fee support for teachers undergoing Board certification; and grant programs designed to help teachers advance their practice and remain in the profession through the pursuit and achievement of National Board certification. A number of California districts offer such incentives for NBCTs in their schools – including the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has led the nation in producing NBCTs in recent years. 

“Working in Los Angeles, teachers like me are fortunate to have the support from colleagues and District and union programs. I achieved National Board Certification and it transformed my classroom practice to benefit students. The recognition and compensation by LAUSD, has allowed for continual growth, and an ongoing professional  journey from classroom practitioner to teacher leader,” said Battle-Holt.

There are currently more than 7,000 NBCTs in California, including nearly half who work in Title I schools. However, this represents less than 3% of the state’s teaching workforce. Despite the fact that many California teachers are interested in pursuing National Board certification, many barriers remain – including lack of access to support programs, assessment fees, and job-embedded time to work toward advancing their practice. 

 To get California to one million more students taught by NBCTs by 2030, the report recommends:

  • A high-need incentive for NBCTs in high-need schools 
  • A statewide incentive for NBCTs to offset the cost for districts that can’t afford to offer stipends
  • A grant program to increase the number of accomplished teachers in districts by supporting cohorts of teachers pursuing National Board Certification
  • Guidance to districts on how they can use professional development funds to support National Board Certification.


About the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (

The founding mission of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is to advance the quality of teaching and learning by: (1) maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do; (2) providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards; and (3) advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers. Recognized as the “gold standard” in teacher certification, the National Board believes higher standards for teachers means better learning for students.