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Utah Adopts American Board Certification, Helping State

WASHINGTON, DC (December 10, 2004) — The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (American Board) today announced that the Utah State Board of Education voted to accept the Passport to TeachingSM mathematics program as a new route to full teacher certification. Utah becomes the fifth state, along with Florida, Idaho, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, to formally recognize the American Board as a new approach to meeting federal requirements to place a “highly qualified"  teacher in every classroom by the 2005-06 school year.

“Utah teachers and students are the true beneficiaries of this decision," said Dr. Kathleen Madigan, president of the American Board. “More than four hundred teachers in Utah’s classrooms currently are not fully certified, and reports from the 2003-04 school year show that forty-eight of those teachers were math teachers. The Passport to Teaching will work side-by-side with existing certification options to ensure that Utah’s mathematics teachers have the necessary knowledge to impact student learning."

Targeting mid-career changers, recent college graduates and teachers seeking full certification, the American Board’s Passport to Teaching offers an alternative route for qualified individuals to join the teaching field. Candidates must complete a standards-based process that includes a self-assessment followed by development and completion of an individualized learning plan with an advisor. The process culminates with the successful completion of two examinations, one dealing with the prospective teacher’s knowledge of his or her subject area and the other probing knowledge of professional teaching. Teachers earning American Board certification will be able to transfer their credentials easily among the states that adopt the American Board. To date, Florida, Idaho, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Utah have approved the program.

About the American Board

The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence is a non-profit organization that 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 positively impact student academic achievement.

The American Board has received bipartisan support. It is specifically referenced as an innovative nontraditional certification process in Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The Secretary’s Second Annual Report on Teacher Quality (2003) and as a promising initiative for addressing the teacher quality challenge in the Secretary’s third annual report (2004). Additionally, the 2004 Teaching Commission report Teaching at Risk: A Call to Action cites the American Board as a promising model to promote high quality skills and preparation, and the Progressive Policy Institute cites the American Board as a high quality innovative alternative route to certification that fits its “Tear Down the Walls" approach needed to reform current certification programs.

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