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Florida Adopts American Board Certification; Helping State to Meet Call For “Highly Qualified” Teachers

WASHINGTON, DC (June 16, 2004) — The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (American Board) today announced that the Florida State Board of Education voted on Tuesday to accept the Passport to TeachingSM as a new route to full certification for the state’s public school teachers. Florida becomes the third state along with Pennsylvania and Idaho to formally recognize the American Board and embrace new approaches in helping to meet the requirements under the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 to place a “highly qualified” teacher in every classroom by the 2005-06 school year.

“Florida teachers and students are the true beneficiaries of this decision,” said Dr. Kathleen Madigan, president of the American Board. “Currently, Florida has more than 4,000 uncertified teachers in classrooms. This certification program will help put Florida back on track to providing the best possible education from the most qualified individuals.  Passport to Teaching certification will work side-byside with existing certification options to ensure that Florida teachers have the knowledge necessary to impact student learning.”:

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, complete a criminal background check, and meet American Board standards by passing the professional teaching knowledge and subject area knowledge examinations. The examinations employ computer-based technologies that include question and response, alongside interactive video and audio segments, asking candidates to demonstrate specific competencies by accurately responding to actual classroom situations. 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.

“The most important factor in student achievement is the presence of a high-performing, dedicated teacher in the classroom,” said Jim Horne, Florida Commissioner of Education. “Faced with a population that grows by close to 60,000 students each year, a rigid class-size amendment, and some veteran educators retiring, Florida has gone to great lengths to bring the best and brightest into our classrooms. The American Board is providing yet another pathway to attract qualified individuals to the teaching profession in Florida.”

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.

The American Board is recognized as approved provider of teacher certification in the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The recently released Teaching Commission report, Teaching at Risk: A Call to Action cited the American Board’s program as a promising and innovative model for testing and certification.

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.

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