AUGUSTA—The Maine Senate voted to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of a teacher training bill, LD 1781, “An Act To Restructure the National Board Certification Program for Teachers”. The veto was overturned by a vote of 26 – 9.
“Every child deserves the most effective teacher in their classroom. Supporting this program strengthens our teachers and gives our students the best opportunity for success,” said Senator Justin Alfond, the sponsor of the bill. “We know that the most effective teachers are also life-long learners. And I am proud that today we supported our teachers.”
The bill received unanimous support in the Education and Cultural Affairs committee and strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
The bill encourages and provides incentives for teachers to attain national certification from a preeminent, national certification program. Five years ago, the Legislature created a stipend program set at $3,000 to incentivize teachers enlisting into the National Board Certification Program (NBCP). However the NBCP stipend has been reduced and currently sits at $1,950. The measure returned the salary stipend to $3,000 by 2014-2015. Additionally, the bill created a scholarship fund to encourage more teachers to enter into the NBCP.
Currently, Maine is in the bottom 20% of states when it comes to Board Certified teachers. Out of an estimated 15,000 public school teachers in Maine, only 158 are National Board Certified. National Board Certification is administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The certification is valid for 10 years, and may be renewed. The rigorous, multi-year process is an advanced teaching credential. As part of the certification process candidates complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas and spend up to 400 hours completing the program.
The veto now faces consideration in the House.