National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS, 1994), the Interstate New Teacher Support Consortium (INTASC, 1999), and more strident calls by local, state, and national officials for more rigorous teacher education programs and licensing examinations. In addition, an increasing number of states have implemented (or will do so in the next several years) statewide testing programs for students, many of which place a strong emphasis on content knowledge. Because many of these tests will determine whether students can advance to higher grades or can earn high-school diplomas, teachers are under increasing pressure to become better versed in the content of the subject areas that they teach.

However, many school districts have not recognized nor responded to their responsibility to help teachers become better versed in their profession through well-planned, ongoing professional development programs. Inservice training within schools, where “one-size-fits-all” programs may be offered to teachers during the several professional development days during the school year, may not provide the knowledge teachers need to improve their ability to help students learn specific subjects such as science and mathematics. Inservice education for teachers also is among the first programs to be cut by school districts when resources are scarce or when school days are lost because of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

This lack of support for or provision of high-quality, professional development opportunities by school districts also is becoming increasingly coupled with demands by states that teachers acquire advanced degrees to become permanently certified. As a result, teachers often must continue their education and professional development on their own time and, unlike many other professions, at their own expense.

Policy Position:

  • Teachers are committed to students and their learning.

  • Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.

  • Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.

  • Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.

  • Teachers are members of learning communities.

National Board for Professional

Teaching Standards, 1994



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