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American Board Receives $35 Million in Federal Funding

U.S. Department of Education Grant to Support the Expansion of Alternative Pathway to Teacher Certification and New Master Teacher Certification

WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 25, 2003) —The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded the organization a $35 million, multi-year grant for the continued development of their breakthrough approach to teacher certification.

The American Board is a new pathway to full teacher certification that helps states identify qualified individuals with the knowledge necessary to impact student academic achievement. The organization benefits students and parents by ensuring that every teacher enters the classroom equipped with a knowledge base critical to teaching and to ensuring that all children learn.

“We thank Secretary Paige for his vision and support. The American Board is committed to placing a highly qualified teacher in every classroom and this additional funding will help us to deliver on that promise," said Kathleen Madigan, president of the American Board. “The funding also further affirms the urgent need for alternative routes to teacher certification and the value of exploring new avenues that improve student access to highly qualified teachers. We must continue to break down existing barriers and open new pathways to the classroom. The American Board does both, providing an approved option for states to help meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind."

Based on rigorous standards for professional teaching knowledge and subject matter expertise, the American Board offers certification for both new and experienced teachers. Teachers earning American Board certification will be able to transfer their credentials easily among the states that adopt the American Board.

Passport to Teaching certification is available for mid-career changers, recent graduates and teachers seeking certification. All candidates for Passport to Teaching certification must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a criminal background check, along with passing the American Board professional teaching knowledge and subject area knowledge examinations. Subject area knowledge examinations are currently being offered in Elementary Education (grades K-6), with math and English for middle and high school to follow early next year. The funding announced today will also allow the American Board to develop examinations for high-needs areas, such as science, history, reading and special education.

Master Teacher certification is available for candidates who have been in the classroom for a minimum of three years. Candidates must pass a subject-area knowledge examination in addition to documenting student academic learning gains.

“The American Board commitment to assessing teachers’ knowledge based on what has been proven to impact student progress drives the development of both levels of certification," said Lisa Graham Keegan, CEO of Education Leaders Council, a founding partner in the American Board. “Both the process and standards for the American Board are redefining teacher certification, creating viable solutions to critical issues in our schools and in the way we prepare teachers."

The first assessment window for American Board candidates is currently open – scheduled from Aug. 22 to Oct. 5 – with the next window planned for February 2004 and continuing on a quarterly cycle thereafter in testing centers nationwide. The examinations employ computer-based technologies that present interactive video and audio segments, asking candidates to assess specific situations and skills and respond accordingly. The professional teaching knowledge exam also includes a written essay component, based on the skills necessary for teachers to effectively communicate with other educators and parents.

About the American Board

The American Board addresses the need to place a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. Through assessments of rigorous standards in professional teaching and subject area knowledge, the American Board offers a new approach to certification that helps states identify qualified individuals with the knowledge to impact student academic achievement. Founded by Education Leaders Council and the National Council on Teacher Quality, the American Board is recognized as approved provider of teacher certification in the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

The American Board was recently recognized by Secretary Paige as an innovative new option for teacher certification in “Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge," The Secretary’s Second Annual Report on Teacher Quality, July 2003 and also in the U.S. Department of Education Toolkit for Teachers, September 2003. For more information, please visit