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Louisiana teacher certification declines

Last Modified: Tuesday, January 08, 2013 11:38 AM

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Just 54 teachers in Louisiana achieved certification in 2012 from a well-regarded national teaching organization.

The Advocate reported the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced the results Monday. The totals are down from 102 in 2011 and 148 in 2010.

Louisiana's peak for nationally certified teachers was 250 teachers in 2005.

Nationally, the trend is similar. A total of 4,930 teachers earned the certification in 2012, compared with 6,266 in 2011 and 8,600 the year before that.

The downward trend is likely to continue, at least in Louisiana.

Michelle Accardi, director of state policy and outreach, said the number of new Louisiana applicants for certification for 2013 is down 60 percent from where it was a year ago.

Accardi noted that the poor economy has probably made it harder for teachers to afford the $2,500 fee associated with national board certification. Also, she said Louisiana has made many changes in public education, including a new teacher evaluation system, and many teachers may lack the time to participate.

"It would be hard to have to carve out that kind of time," she said.

As the numbers have declined, the Louisiana Department of Education has ceased promoting the annual numbers as it used to through its public affairs office.

In response to the economic downturn, many states, including Louisiana, have cut back their support for the program. An Education Week survey in 2012 found the number of states offering a stipend for the certification declined from 39 to 24.

In 2010, Louisiana quit paying its annual $5,000 stipend, instead shifting that expense onto school districts.

In 2008, a dozen school districts offered complementary stipends, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, to national board-certified teachers but most of those have been cut back or eliminated since.

A total of 102,327 teachers have earned the certification since the program began in North Carolina in 1987. Louisiana has contributed 1,838 of those teachers.

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