Committee supports Libby bill to increase number of high-quality teachers in high-need schools

Posted: May 07, 2019 | Senator Libby

Legislation from Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, to increase the number of high-quality teachers in high-need school districts was endorsed in the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on Monday by a 7-4 vote.

“There are many reasons that students in schools with high rates of food insecurity may struggle in school, one them being that their school district can’t afford to pay teacher salaries that are competitive with the wealthier districts nearby,” said Sen. Libby. “A boost in the stipend will help us keep the high-quality teachers that we desperately need in the schools where students need their skills and experience the most.”

Under LD 1549, “An Act To Increase the Supplement for Certain National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certified Teachers in Maine,” as amended, teachers who have attained certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards will have their state funded stipend increase from the current $3,000 to $5,000 per year if they’re teaching in a district where more than 50 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced meals.

National Board Certification is a voluntary, advanced teaching credential that is earned through a rigorous certification process. It goes beyond state licensure and sets national standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.

“More than a decade of research from across the country establishes that students taught by NBCTs learn more than students taught by other teachers,” said Kathy Henrickson, a first grade teacher at Dike-Newell School in Bath who is National Board Certified, said at a recent public hearing on LD 1549. “Estimates of the increase in learning are on the order of an additional one to two months of instruction and the positive impact is even greater for high-need students.”

The bill now goes to the Maine Senate and House for further votes.