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Idaho Announces New Pathway to Teacher Certification

WASHINGTON, DC (March 2, 2004)— Governor Kempthorne and Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education Hickok today praised the Idaho State Board of Education in announcing the launch of a new pathway to teacher certification for individuals with the passion and desire to teach. Offered through the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), Passport to TeachingSM certification provides a time-efficient and cost-effective way for talented individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher to enter the teaching field. This approach will help Idaho meet the requirements set forth by the federal No Child Left Behind Act to place a “highly qualified” teacher in every classroom by the 2005-06 school year.

“This is the ‘Generation of the Child,’ and we, as Idahoans, need to make Idaho’s children our first priority,” stated Governor Kempthorne. “We must ensure that they are well educated to continue our success. Through the American Board’s program we have raised the bar in education, utilizing a way to continually strengthen and improve how we teach our children so they are prepared to compete successfully in the world. I commend our State Board of Education, which has been aggressive in implementing No Child Left Behind. The adoption of the American Board’s Passport to TeachingSM reflects Idaho’s commitment to our children, our future.”

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 among the states that adopt the American Board. The American Board is founded by Education Leaders Council and the National Council on Teacher Quality.

“This gives Idaho another tool to draw qualified, experienced and competent professionals into the teaching field, which will ultimately benefit its students. We know that students will achieve at higher levels when their teachers have a solid understanding of their respective disciplines, and the American Board is offering a great program to accomplish this,” said Dr. Eugene Hickok, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education. “Alternative certification will enrich our classrooms, especially in many of our urban and rural areas, where school officials are often hard-pressed to find individuals with the dedication and expertise to serve students in those often challenging environments. I applaud the State Board of Education and look forward to seeing improved student achievement.”

Targeting mid-career changers, recent graduates and teachers seeking certification, Passport to Teaching offers computer-based assessments in subject area and professional teaching knowledge that provide a new approach to 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.

“Teacher quality and certification are very important issues to Idahoans,” said Dr. Randy Thompson, chief academic officer for the Idaho State Board of Education. “As it stands right now, Idaho’s classrooms are operating with over 200 non-certified teachers, in addition to the many aging professionals who are seeking retirement. Therefore, it is time to implement a program that can compensate for the retiring teachers, as well as improve current teacher credentials. We are pleased to accept the American Board’s program to place highly qualified teachers into every Idaho classroom. This will greatly benefit rural communities, particularly those trying to attract math and science teachers.”  “The American Board believes that quality teachers, with mastery in their subject area as well as professional teaching knowledge, are essential for achieving student success,”  stated Dr. Kathleen Madigan, president of the American Board. “Based on excellence, _Passport to Teaching ^SM^_ certification is designed to give professionals with extensive knowledge in a subject area a new way to enter Idaho’s public classrooms.”

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.

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