PDK/Gallup Poll Finds Strong Public Support for Board Certification for Teachers

ARLINGTON, Va. — More than 80 percent of Americans agreed that teachers should achieve Board certification in addition to be being licensed to practice, similar to professions like law and medicine, according to results from a national poll by PDK International and Gallup released today. The statement garnered the most positive overall response from respondents among the survey questions included in the 46th annual Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, published in the October issue of Kappan.

In addition, 70 percent agreed that “new teachers should spend at least a year practicing under the guidance of a certified teacher before assuming responsibility for their own classrooms.”

These two poll findings support National Board President and CEO Ron Thorpe’s call in the September issue of Kappan to create a universal one-year medical residency model for teachers that builds a pipeline of preparation and support leading to Board certification. Responding to the survey’s findings, Thorpe said:

“The PDK/Gallup poll shows that the American public’s confidence in their doctors and other professionals is connected to Board certification—each profession’s assertion of accomplished practice that goes beyond state licensure. They believe that teaching deserves to have that same level of professional status, and they see Board certification as the path to making that happen. National Board Certification is the teaching profession’s assurance that teachers have met those standards and are capable of helping students learn. I see this poll as a clear mandate for making Board certification the norm among teachers in the same way it is in other professions. Today, only 3% of teachers are Board certified. We must increase that number substantially, and we must support teachers in pursuing and achieving this level of accomplishment.

Raising the bar on teacher preparation and entry into the profession is important but not enough. Teachers need fully articulated residency programs—similar to teaching hospitals—in which they spend no less than a year working under the guidance of Board-certified teachers. They need strong support during their first three years in the classroom followed by access to outstanding master’s programs designed to help them become Board certified. And then we must start to differentiate roles in schools so that teachers can lead their profession without leaving their classrooms. This is what both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have called for. This is what teachers need and deserve. Most important, this is what our children need and deserve.”