October 26, 2005

The Chicago Public Education Fund announces up to $3 million in incentives for CPS teachers

CHICAGO—The Chicago Public Education Fund announced the allocation of up to $3 million toward National Board Certification incentives for Chicago’s public school teachers last night at its National Board Certification Leadership Summit with former North Carolina Gov. James Hunt.

“Public schools are the hope of America and we have to make them great,” said Gov. Hunt, a national leader in education and the founding chairman of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), the organization that administers National Board Certification. “The best way to do [that] is to focus on great teachers and to have as many of them be National Board Certified as possible.”

The Fund’s incentives give teachers who attain the prestigious credential the opportunity to earn up to $3,000 in addition to other stipends offered by the state and Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

“We absolutely believe that teachers should be rewarded well for their performance,” said Tribune Publishing President Scott Smith, The Fund’s founding chairman.

CPS CEO Arne Duncan joined Smith and the governor at the summit, which was attended by nearly 150 of Chicago’s business and civic leaders, and National Board Certified teachers (NBCTs). He praised National Board Certification, noting that high-quality teaching is the most important factor in improving student achievement.

To continue improving Chicago’s schools, Duncan said, “we have to work not just harder, but smarter. There’s no smarter way to work than National Board Certification. There’s no better investment.”

The highest credential in the teaching profession, National Board Certification is widely recognized as one of the most effective ways to identify, support and compensate some of our best teachers. Teachers achieve certification through a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes between one and three years to complete, and measures what accomplished teachers and school counselors should know and be able to do. Research has repeatedly shown that NBCTs are among the best in their profession, and The Fund’s incentives demonstrate its renewed commitment to supporting and positioning them in the schools that need them the most.

“If there’s anything we can aspire to be number one in,” said Nuveen Investments Chairman and CEO Tim Schwertfeger, The Fund’s chairman, “Chicago and Illinois can and should be the number one city and number one state in the union in terms of National Board Certified teachers.”

Following the summit, Schwertfeger joined Gov. Hunt, Duncan and others for a meeting with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, the nation’s only mayor on the NBPTS. At the meeting, the mayor reaffirmed his commitment to leading National Board Certification efforts within Chicago and committed to advocating for increased state support. To date, 377 teachers in Chicago Public Schools have achieved National Board Certification, up from just 11 in 1999. The mayor, CPS and The Fund share a goal of 1,200 NBCTs in the district by 2008.

“With Mayor Daley and Gov. Hunt’s leadership, we’re confident that we will reach our goal,” said Janet Knupp, founding president of The Fund. “We are committed to ensuring that more of these highly talented teachers – National Board Certified teachers – are in the classrooms that need them the most.”

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As a venture capital fund for public education, The Chicago Public Education Fund is an unprecedented catalyst for improving school leadership and student achievement system wide. Launched by a group of corporate and civic leaders, The Fund brings private sector dollars and expertise to high-impact programs aligned with Chicago Public Schools priorities. Find out more at www.cpef.org.