What Percent Spin?

I’m not nearly as excited about these big percent increases in minority candidates achieving National Board Certification as Ed Week’s usually Bulldoggish Bess Keller or AFTie Propagandist One-L.

From Ed Week:

Black teachers winning the stamp of approval from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards rose by 24 percent, from 324 in 2005 to 403 last year, the privately organized group based in Arlington, Va., announced this month. Hispanic teachers, with 301 in the group that achieved certification last year, showed an increase of 13 percent over 2005.

In comparison, the number of white teachers awarded the credential grew by just 4 percent, from 6,208 in 2005 to 6,428 in 2006. Asian and Pacific Islander teachers stayed steady at about 100 each of those years.

I’m all for the progress but isn’t the headline here (or at least the subhead), “Minorities Still Substantially Underrepresented among National Board Certified Teachers.” Forget the hyped percentages, the underlying numbers are out of alignment with the population and the teaching force. I thought journos were supposed to be cynics?

My sense is still that National Board Certification is too much of a publicly subsidized giveaway to the schools and kids that don’t need the most intensive help right now. Current policies don’t do much to help that situation and this data, while trending the right way, is hardly an indicator that we’re on top of the problem so it’s a bit early for the backslapping.

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