To round out Teacher Appreciation Week, The Hunt Team is digging in the Jim Hunt archives and posting an excerpt from the former governor’s speech to the National Board Certified Teachers and National Board For Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Board of Directors on October 19, 1995. Though a small portion of his remarks, it is a testament to Governor Hunt’s long-time commitment to teachers and the teaching profession.
While the landmark 1983 “A Nation at Risk” report focused the national spotlight on the troubled state of American Education and provoked a wave of reform efforts, most of these initiatives left out a critical element of the education equation: the classroom teacher. Teaching is at the heart of education, and the single most important action we as a nation can take to improve our children’s learning is to strengthen the ability, knowledge, and professionalism of our teachers. Knowing this, the task force called for the establishment of a National Board for Professional teaching Standards, and there has not been a times since then that I have wavered in my commitment to see this idea turn into reality.
Every effort in education, geared to improve student learning, depends on one thing to start with: a quality teacher. The national board and national board certification is a link to quality. Teachers who are national board certified are true professionals, at the top of their field, who deserve the highest prestige in their communities.
The founding members of the NBPTS Board of Directors overcame so many hurdles. Never had so many people with a stake in teaching been all together at one table. Never had the profession established standards for performance measuring what highly accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. Never had an assessment been developed that accurately and fairly measured how well a teacher meets those standards. It took the commitment of the founding director to create the vision for every board member since to carry out. Our first national board-certified teachers have the board members to thank for carrying this out.
I remain committed to this process, because there is nothing more important than preparing our children for the future by ensuring they receive the best possible education. Knowing their children are being taught by the best in the profession will give parents a great sense of security.