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Idaho to eliminate certification stipend for teachers

The state is ending a stipend for teachers earning National Board certification and some fear that the loss of that incentive will result in fewer educators completing the rigorous program, which can take up to three years to finish.

Lawmakers in the 2010 Idaho Legislature voted to discontinue a long-standing stipend of $10,000, distributed over five years, to teachers who earn the certification, starting this July.

Teachers who receive certification before July 1 will still receive the stipend.

Students taught by educators who get certified by the National Board tend to make bigger gains on standardized tests than students taught by other teachers, according a 2008 report from the National Research Council.

Sue Hovey, who teaches the state’s only National Board certification courses at the University of Idaho in Moscow, said it was “a travesty that it’s unfunded.”

“Idaho can’t afford to lose its higher-certified teachers … to other states which offer better incentives,” she said.

Public schools chief Tom Luna included new incentives for teachers in changes signed into law this year.

The incentives include a pay-for-performance plan to reward some educators for extra effort. School districts may reward or encourage teachers to seek national certification as part of the merit pay plan.

Hovey fears that won’t be enough of an incentive for teachers to complete the National Board certification courses and fewer educators will enroll.

“The program could be so much more, as it is in other states,” Hovey said.

Other states are wrangling with the issue of paying National Board Certified teachers an annual stipend.

In Oklahoma, a state senator is seeking an attorney general’s opinion on whether the pay is mandatory in that state.

About The Associated Press