National Board Certified teachers: Pay raises were promised

Is it fair?

The state is cutting the legislated bonuses awarded to teachers who earn a national board certified teacher endorsement.

In 1999 at the urging of Gov. Roy Barnes, the Georgia Legislature passed a law giving a 10 percent raise to teachers who earn national certification. The national board certification program is run by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and offers a certification that one local teacher once called “the Oscars of teaching.”

From the start, critics said the raises were too generous. The pay boost inspired many teachers to seek the coveted designation. Now, more than 2,500 Georgia teachers get a 10 percent salary bonus from the state because they became board certified.

This costs  about $12 million a year but the state is now slashing the bonuses, which will lead to pay drops of at least $3,000 to $4,000 this year for the teachers. The decision has angered the teachers who feel misled.

Among the comments from affected teachers was this one:

“Count me in as one of the many who are deeply disappointed by the outcome of this legislative session. Those of us who are National Board Certified Teachers got the shaft. Because the Senate Republicans refused to fully fund  us– despite the House’s recommendation to do so– each of the state’s approximately 2500 NBCT’s will see a reduction in pay of at least $300 per paycheck beginning with the new school year .

Now, it’s common knowledge that educators don’t make that much in the first place; for many of us, $300 is the car payment, groceries, or day care bill for the month.  Losing this pay will be a true hardship. How can it possibly be fair to balance the education budget on the backs of  two percent of the state’s teachers?

Here’s an idea: Instead of taking $300 a month from 2500 of us, subtract a measly $10 per month from the paycheck of each of Georgia’s 116,811 K-12 teachers. (I may be wrong, but I don’t think such a move would spark any big protests.) This simple action would generate a tidy $14,016,000. Problem solved.”

I don’t know. Would other teachers accept the $10 cut, as small as it might be? What do you think?

66 comments Add your comment


September 28th, 2009
1:52 pm

C’mon Maureen, you don’t think ‘employees’ would be willing to take a cut in pay so that others can have a ‘bonus’? If it meant taking a cut in pay to protect jobs, I believe most employees would consider it. Not for bonuses.

HS Teacher, Too

September 28th, 2009
2:11 pm

Once again the government breaks a contract and there is no recourse.
EXACTLY why I left teaching in Georgia.

Good luck, y’all.


September 28th, 2009
2:19 pm

Yeah, its crap. But you know what? I was laid off for 6 months this year, too. And the company that I was laid off from cut the salaries of remaining employees by 5%. You have to realize that no corner of the state… NO ONE has been untouched. No one has a permanent right to a job or a rate of pay. All those people … the citizens… that pay teachers salaries are suffering from 10+% unemployment and plunging house prices. Those are the sources of income for schools. There are people losing their jobs and their homes, yet you expect them to keep forking over salary at the 1999-2005 boom rate? Get over it!

Look, the right thing to do is to suspend the program until property prices and jobs rebound. Teachers SHOULD be rewarded for their extra efforts, but they must realize that the reward only exists as long as the income stream is there to pay it.


September 28th, 2009
2:38 pm

There are several of issues with this program, not the least of which is many of the “teachers” getting this bonus are no longer teaching – as in they are not in the classroom. And because the bonus is paid as 10% of salary, these folks are often the ones getting the biggest stipends. Is that what we intended to fund?

How long is the state obligated to pay for a program? Because teacher pay automatically increases, this program costs more every year, even if no new teachers get the bonus. Are we obligated to pay for it until all 2500 teachers retire? Research has shown that being NBC doesn’t lead to higher test scores, and we all know that is all that is important. So do we need to continue funding this?


September 28th, 2009
2:58 pm

Does our state ever keep its promises to teachers?

Old School

September 28th, 2009
3:29 pm

Clarence, I have not gotten any automatic pay increases since I reached the top (21+ years) step on the salary schedule some 15 years ago. This is my 36th year and the only increases I would get would be those cost of living ones the legislature might pass and possibly fund or the one that would come if I got my Specialist degree. I have never complained about my salary nor have I groused about putting in extra hours during the school year or days during the summer. I don’t have a problem with the bonuses if the funding is there without sacrificing jobs or programs that actually work.

I just wish as much emphasis and money was being put towards updating our vocational programs as is going to testing and manipulating data.


September 28th, 2009
4:05 pm

When everyone was working the bonuses were ok, but with layoffs and increased classs sizes it is time to retink this. I would feel differently if the outcomes in the class were beter, but they are just not!Right now we are all on a budget cut. And no I would not pay $10 a month for someone elses bonus. Teachers in GA make more and have far better benefits than most of our neighbors. We ought to appreciate what we all have.


September 28th, 2009
5:16 pm

If the phrase “the Georgia Legislature passed a law giving a 10 percent raise to teachers who earn national certification” is accurate how is this even legal?


September 28th, 2009
5:52 pm

I never understood why teachers bought into the National Certification, especially as the pay increase was linked to promises. I put my time, effort, and money into earning a Masters and I’m currenty working on a Ph.D. The pay increase for these is built into the state pay structure. No certification in ANY occupation guarantees a better “product”. I know several excellent National Board teachers, but I know a couple of clunkers, too.

Pee Cup Jones

September 28th, 2009
6:10 pm

“$300 is the car payment” —my car is old and payed off, why should I pay for yours.

You will do just fine without that $300.


September 28th, 2009
6:12 pm

“Pay raises were promised”

Me wifey promised me sexy time every night if we got hitched too.


September 28th, 2009
6:29 pm

The worst thing the GOP could ever do is educate the electorate. A well educated public would mean the death penalty for the republican party.

Don’t kid yourself – the education in this state sucks because the people controlling the purse strings don’t give a rats backside about it.


September 28th, 2009
6:50 pm

The difference between teachers and other workers is we sign a CONTRACT which is legally binding for US but not for the other party (the state). Would you be happy with a contract to buy a house for 100,000 dollars, but then be told you are obligated to pay 120,000 because “we changed our minds?”

Until the state is held to its side of the contract, teachers will be the pawns in the “crisis of the moment” game. Not only can the state (via its duly constituted school boards) offer and then reneg, bu they can also add to your duties as they wish, with the clause about “or other tasks as required.” I am surprised we are not expected to spend more time in general custodial work than we already do. Oops! Better not say that out loud!

I feel for any teacher who has put their heart and soul into teaching, preparation, etc, only to be slapped in the face time and again. We are told by parents to “do our job”–maybe that is ALL we should do, and let the chaff fall where it may.


September 28th, 2009
6:59 pm

BTW, on your data blog from the other day: We were told today that they were unable to submit the information (all on the system’s computer database) in time to the state and although they had promised us labels for the ITBS to be given in a few days, we teacher would have to individually code in the students’ data on their answer sheets(again!)–more precious hours wasted on top of the other malarkey that already detracts from our job of instruction, planning, and evaluating.


September 28th, 2009
8:19 pm

At least the head football coach got his full stipend and the field looks f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s. All this talk of cut backs had a lot of us worried over here at the bait and tackle shop.

Maureen's accountability metric

September 28th, 2009
8:50 pm

Let me get this straight. If we are to follow the logic of the NBC teacher, we should steal a little bit, from a lot of people, to compensate a few people who had a lot stolen from them?

I’m guessing that National Board Certification process didn’t contain an “ethics” component.

Speaking of ethics, clearly we need to honor our promise to those teachers who completed the process. If the process isn’t proving to have a suitable return on investment, then stop the promises for future applicants.

Just another reason to take an honest look at the educational bureaucracy, and see where cuts can be made. We know we need teachers in the classroom; that’s a given. But how much of the education bureaucracy is truly needed, and in fact in some cases is even counterproductive?

Where are there the educational and political leaders in Georgia willing to discuss that, or are the educational and political leaders tied too closely to the educational bureaucracy to have an honest discussion about it?

Food for thought

September 28th, 2009
8:51 pm

Whoever said that the rest of us wouldn’t mind giving up $10 so they can get their bonuses was wrong – many of us would mind. As a science teacher supposedly promised a bonus for being a science teacher, not only do I not expect it in this economic climate, I also would never expect to get it from $10 taken from my colleagues – that’s insane.

That being said, it should’ve been clear from the beginning how the bonuses/stipends/pay increases were going to be both structured and paid for – I was under the impression years ago that the 10% was a pay increase no different that the increase for a Master’s, Specialist, or Doctorate. Then a few years back, it was changed so that only teachers in Title 1 schools were eligible for the bonus (help me NBCTs – am I right??). Now they want to take it away entirely – I’m sorry, I don’t think that should be allowed – it seems like some sort of breach of contract to me. Now, if they want to cease paying the bonus from this point forward, then I’m fine with that, but I think current recipients should be grandfathered in. I also think the bonus should only be for someone actually in the classroom – administrators, literacy and math coaches, etc should not be eligible.

We are paying a lot of money for board certification and advanced degrees. We could save some money by only granting the pay raises for degrees in field and for teachers still in the classroom (leadership degrees for admin being a logical exception). NBCT stipends could be 10% based on the BS step only – that would still provide incentive but be more cost effective.

Middle School maniac

September 28th, 2009
9:16 pm

I think we need to really begin to look differently at budgets and how we structure pay across the profession. Every other private business structure pay for performance. Be it healthcare, law, retail, sales, marketing, consulting, service, athletics, or manufacturing if you are better you have more opportunity for more pay. In education, everyone gets the same whether they work extra hours and extra days or if they come in with the busses and leave with the busses. Whether kids learn or not doesn’t matter, this needs to change. If we gave more money based on whether you were an effective teacher instead of on seniority, NCBT wouldn’t be such an issue.

In addition, tough choices have to be made everywhere in the budget season and it will only get worse next year.


September 28th, 2009
10:17 pm

Pay raises weren’t just promised…they were contracted. If I abandon my contract, I can lose my certificate. How is it then, that the state can abandon its contract with me? There is legislation that gave that bonus pay. Unless the law is repealed, then it seems that the state is obligated.


September 28th, 2009
10:22 pm

Los profesores merecen ser pagados qué valen. Mis cabritos quieren una buena educación y necesitamos a profesores más inteligentes aquí.


September 28th, 2009
10:41 pm

I’m not a NBC teacher, but those who are ought to get what was promised to them. I don’t know that I think they should if they aren’t in the classroom anymore, but apparently the state promised it to them regardless.


September 28th, 2009
10:55 pm

Just a thought, why are we spending money producing CRCT for 1st and 2nd grade since testing those students isn’t required under the current version of ESEA (more commonly called (despite the fact that many children are left behind) NCLB)? Why doesn’t the state eliminate the EOCT in high schools? These are nothing more than final exams. Teachers can write their own final exams and save the state a lot of money on producing and scoring those tests. They were originally slated to replace GHSGT, but I have yet to see any movement towards that. Hey, I do know where we can find another $30 Million,but I’m sure y’all are tired of hearing me fuss about a fish pond in Houston County.


September 29th, 2009
1:09 am

Only the teachers who had to suffer the ordeal of getting national certification have an idea of the long arduous process it took to gain it. Needless to say most would not have endured it while trying to keep up with a class and home life had they not been lured into it by the government with promises of a higher salary (money they had already earned by virtue of being underpaid). My wife luckily chose to get a Masters instead.

The state and local school boards need to realize what they are doing to the morale of many of our teachers this year. Educators are having to do many more hours of busy work writing detailed lesson plans that the great majority of experienced teachers do not need to do. Suddenly a staff at even a high performing school has an extra 10-15 hours of needless busy work because some administrator decided to come up with an idea to justify their existence. So lets pay them less, give them more work to do so they have less time with their families and basically stress them out.

Yet we have systems like Cobb pay a connected inept attorney millions a year (who apparently gives bad, sometimes illegal advice) because of an even more inept board and that’s just one source of wasted funds. For the first time in 30 years my wife is stressed to the point of quitting. If it weren’t for the kids she would have already. I’m all for it. I’d like to have her back. And happy.

[...] O­ri­gi­n­al­ po­s­t: National­ Boar­d­ C­er­tified­ teac­her­s: Pay r­aises … [...]


September 29th, 2009
6:58 am

We have a coach that makes over 100,000 per year.

We have limited the number of trips the cheerleaders (girls) and band (predominately girls) can take, but not limited the number of football games. How is this not a Title 9 violation?


September 29th, 2009
7:54 am

And let us not forget that GA had a billion dollars in uncollected taxes last year – money the Dems wanted to collect for schools, but the GOP said ‘nope’. And then a week after shooting it down, the GOP gave Sonny $27 mil for his new fish tank.

The citizens of GA simply aren’t smart enough to value education – a real bad deal for those who started their teaching careers here. College profs ought tell their education students to seek jobs in another state when they graduate.

Pee Cup Jones

September 29th, 2009
8:11 am


In Gwinnett County, they are not making that unless he/she is the head football coach with a PhD and 30+ years of teaching experience service. FY 2010 Teaching salary = $86,749. Head football coaching stipend adds another $12,863 if they have 20+ years coaching experience.

Otherwise, the football booster club(i.e. private funds) must be supplementing their salary for a coach to make $100K.



September 29th, 2009
8:28 am

FOOD FOR THOUGHT, you are correct. When Barnes brought the program to Georgia, he promised 10% of ACTUAL salary to all NBCT’s. That was then changed so that only NBCT’s who worked in high needs schools could get the stipend (luckily, at that point, we NBCT’s who were current were grandfathered in). Now, of course, the money is effectively gone. I also am in a county that is holding the money until they can determine whether or not the state will cough up. I will never see a dime.

The point is taken that we should have known better than to trust our government when they promised us this money. A PhD would have been a sure thing for me. However, I have NO regrets about doing NB even though it was the most horrifically challenging professional experience of my life. I am up for renewal next year, and I will do it in spite of the money. The experience and the practice-changing knowledge it brought me are invaluable.

John Dewey

September 29th, 2009
8:59 am

1) It boils down to keeping one’s word–integrity–lacking in much of government today. Many politicians but few statesmen.
2) I pursued a MA in history to deepen my knowledge and practice but my EdS to feed my family. I grew tired of working two jobs (teaching plus one other) and never being home for my family.
3) I am National Board Certified. It was much, much harder to fulfill than my EdS program and I came away from the process a better teacher. I discovered the process in 2000 before GA offered to pay for it but could not afford it. When GA decided to pay the cost I jumped at it.
4) I sometime wonder if the participants here read the article from which the post is driven. The young couple interviewed, as have I, were both board certified and both lost a hefty chunk of their income.
5) It feels un-professional to think about money, but altruism aside, we want to feed our families and I think we want fair compensation for a fair day’s work. However, they keep changing the definition of a fair day on us.

William Casey

September 29th, 2009
9:17 am

STEVE R is right on the money. NBC is hard work, in essence a second job. Nationaly certified teachers have EARNED this money; it isn’t a “bonus” any more than my Masters Degree pay increase or coaching stipends are bonuses. I do agree that the extra pay should go ONLY to classroom teachers since NBC is not designed to improve the performance of highly paid principals or central office bureaucrats.

Master Teacher

September 29th, 2009
9:57 am

If they treat National Board as a “bonus” then what is next? Will extra pay for additional degrees suffer the same fate? I have a family to support and I have to be able to predict what my pay will be. I understand many have lost jobs – my wife has worked 2 days in the last 6 months – but teachers take low pay and long hours (anyone want to grade 129 research papers for me?) under the impression that as a public servant I will be watched out for in tough times.
When the economy was good I went 9 years with not so much as a cost of living adjustment. I resisted the many job offers that had much better pay because I felt my job was important and because I was working on things like National Board to improve my pay. Now I discover that the promises were hallow and that many in community don’t want to sacrifice a slight tax increase to help the teachers out who sacrifice incessantly for the greater good of the community.
Let me state clearly – the very things that make me and outstanding teacher (I have a shelf of awards) will make me very successful in any career field. The general public should not be surprised when there is a mass exodus of the best teachers when the economy improves. I have already prepared my resume. I am no longer naive about how much our politicians and citizens value teachers.


September 29th, 2009
10:03 am

Glad I didn’t fall for the NBC when it was hyped several years ago. Knew it was too good to be true. Some teachers need letters after their names to make them feel worthy. Others go into the classroom, do their job and go home feeling good about themselves and their impact on children.

Pee Cup Jones

September 29th, 2009
1:50 pm

“Let me state clearly – the very things that make me and outstanding teacher (I have a shelf of awards) will make me very successful in any career field.”

It’s a free country dude.

Thank you...

September 29th, 2009
2:24 pm

This will really hurt my family. It was a hardship on us when my other half took the time to get the certification. It will be even more of a hardship when they take away those earnings promised with the Certification. Add that to the furlough days and I have encouraged a change of profession.

A teacher that loves teaching looking for other employment because it is better for their family is just wrong.

This will only hurt Georgia Students going forward. Why on earth would any teacher ever do anything more than the minimum expected of them after this!?

This is a criminal decision handed down by our so-called “leaders.” These “leaders” have found a way to punish the top 5% of teachers in the state of Georgia. Kudos GA Legislature on another botched decision!

Lastly, the teaching profession is filled with people who value seeing a new understanding in a student’s eyes or that pride fill a student’s chest when they finally ‘get’ a new concept, moreso than the paycheck that they receive for providing such a valuable service. To start with the pay that teachers receive is hardly in line with the service that they provide. Saddling the whole profession with the furloughs was a low blow, albeit understandable. But punishing the top 5% of the teachers is just counterproductive…I hope the whole state holds the legislature responsible for yet another year of horrible test results.

Why not just pay them to find other jobs!?

jim d

September 29th, 2009
3:03 pm

Maybe—-just maybe—a group of teachers in Georgia will quit whinning and grow a pair.

jim d

September 29th, 2009
3:04 pm

Naw— that’ll never happen

jim d

September 29th, 2009
3:22 pm

Why teachers refuse to grow up.

Codependence is a pattern of detrimental, behavioral interactions within a dysfunctional relationship which is regarded as an emotional disorder, and by some as a psychological disease.[1] In the relationship, the codependent person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition, such as drug addiction.[2] The codependent’s life gets more and more out of hand and at the end, they might become as sick as the one they are codependent on.[3] In general, the codependent is understood to be a person who perpetuates the addiction or pathological condition of someone close to them in a way that hampers recovery. This can be done through direct control over the dependent, by making excuses for their dysfunctional behavior or relieving them of the consequences of the dependence. This is called enabling, which can have negative social and health consequences for both parties. A codependent may feel shame about, or try to change, their most private thoughts and feelings if they conflict with those of another person.

jim d

September 29th, 2009
3:24 pm


Filters may have just eaten one

Maureen Downey

September 29th, 2009
3:28 pm

It’s there now.

jim d

September 29th, 2009
3:33 pm

codependency—-What are some of the symptoms?

controlling behavior
avoidance of feelings
intimacy problems
caretaking behavior
hypervigilance (a heightened awareness for potential threat/danger)
physical illness related to stress

Hmmm, sound like a lot of people we all know and trust our children to?

jim d

September 29th, 2009
3:37 pm

Thanks Mo.

maybe we can wake a few folks up

Thank you...

September 29th, 2009
4:20 pm

I have lived here my whole life and paid taxes into the system. I’ll tell you…Charlotte is looking more inviting by the second.

Jim d…Way to positively impact the exchange guy. Nobody is forcing you to send your kids to a public school. If you don’t like the teachers here, maybe you should sell a few of those nickel and dime words of yours and send them to private school.

Me? I like and trust the teachers. It is the Legislators that lie…making me feel like I’d be better off anywhere else!

Thank you...

September 29th, 2009
4:33 pm

How come Jim D’s comments are posted and mine are not? His comments are more derisive than mine. Keep up the good work Maureen.

jim d

September 29th, 2009
4:47 pm

Thank you—

did the private school for a few years-I did put my money where my mouth is. -mine is now off to college in another state thank you very little

Maureen Downey

September 29th, 2009
4:49 pm

To Thank you,
Where are your missing comments? The filter is empty now and nothing by you appeared there all day. (In fact, I can’t remember anything in the filter with your screen name this week.)
Are you sure you are posting to Get Schooled?

jim d

September 29th, 2009
4:52 pm

5 out of 7 in just a couple of paragraphs—AMAZING!

Pee Cup Jones

September 29th, 2009
5:04 pm

My wifey poo is a teacher. 12 yrs experience. EdS degree. Makes $62K for 190 days of work plus outstanding health insurance and a to die for pension program.

She works very hard.

But so do I. At a Fortune 500 company–at the tune of 230 days a year, for about the same money–prorated. My benies stink by comparison to hers.

She whines, I listen–she has a sweet deal and doesn’t know it.


September 29th, 2009
5:11 pm

@ Thank you…–”Why on earth would any teacher ever do anything more than the minimum expected of them after this!?”

Sounds like you will take your paycut it out on your students.

jim d

September 29th, 2009
5:18 pm


I’m beginning to wonder if our schools for educators don’t teach a class on whinning.


September 29th, 2009
9:15 pm

Pee Cup, sounds like you need to become a teacher so you can get some of those good benies too.