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November 26, 2002

Contact: Elizabeth Hirst
(850) 488-5394

Lt. Governor Brogan Announces Record Number of Florida Teachers Achieve National Board Certification

TALLAHASSEE — Lt. Governor Frank Brogan today announced that Florida has 1,243 newly board certified teachers. The state's total number of teachers who have attained this achievement is now 3,489 ranking Florida second in nation. This prestigious Excellent Teaching Program provides salary bonuses and mentor teacher supplements to Florida's best teachers who become National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certified.

"It is imperative that Florida competes for and retains high-quality teachers to ensure all children get the education they deserve," said Lt. Governor Brogan. "I commend the more than twelve hundred newly national board certified teachers who have demonstrated their commitment to rising student achievement and professionalism. Florida's Excellent Teaching Program is one of the most generous in the nation in support of and in financial rewards to teachers who earn certification and mentor their peers."

The Excellent Teaching Program in Florida was enacted in 1998 and provides two types of bonuses to teachers who have achieved national certification:

  • Teachers receive the bonuses every year for the life of the certification — 10 years.

  • One bonus, equal to 10 percent of the prior fiscal year's statewide average salary for classroom teachers, is given to every nationally certified teacher.

  • The second bonus, also equal to 10 percent of the prior fiscal year's statewide average salary for classroom teachers, is given to all nationally certified teachers who meet the requirements of mentoring non-nationally certified teachers.

  • The bonuses are equal to almost $8,000 per year.

  • The state pays $2070 of the $2300 application fee and reimburses teachers $150 of the costs they incur to create a required work portfolio.

  • Number of Florida teachers earning national certification each year:

    • 1999-2000 — 568 teachers
    • 2000-2001 — 700 teachers
    • 2001-2002 — 992 teachers
    • 2002-2003 — 1243 teachers

During the Bush/Brogan administration, funding for the Excellent Teaching Program has increased for each school year from $12 million in 1998-99 to $48.7 million in 2002-03. This four-year funding represents an increase of over 300 percent.

The Governor's Executive Budget Proposal for 2003-04 will also include an increase to fund the Excellent Teaching Program to cover currently certified teachers, as well as funding for the estimated 2,000 additional teachers expected to enroll in the program this coming year.

"National board certification is a way to recognize the excellent teachers at work in Florida's schools," said Education Secretary Jim Horne. "We want to keep these teachers in our classrooms, doing the job they love. By certifying their skills and professional development, we encourage them to stay active in teaching and become examples for others to follow. Certification reinforces best teaching practices, helps teachers develop better lesson plans and encourages the use of student-focused instruction, thus benefiting both our students and the teaching profession in Florida."

Joining the Lt. Governor at today's press conference was Secretary of Education Jim Horne, Education Commissioner Charlie Crist and nationally board certified teachers from Florida.

As a candidate for National Board Certification, I had to demonstrate my commitment to meeting the diverse learning needs of children, my continued professional development, and the ongoing partnership with parents and my community," said Tallahassee teacher Karen Hatfield.

"This process has confirmed my own belief that I am an excellent teacher who expects only the best from myself and my students," said Jacksonville teacher Debbie Scarbrough.