Bipartisan Resolution Encourages States to Expand Program Embraced by Mississippi

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) is among the primary sponsors of a Senate resolution that recognizes the importance and contributions of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT), a program embraced by the state of Mississippi in its quest to improve educational achievement.

The resolution (S.Res.533), also sponsored by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), encourages administrators, school districts, and states to promote the growth of certification programs and also designates a “National Board Certified Teacher Week.” 

“Educational achievement among Mississippi students has made great strides in recent years, a fact that can be attributed in part to our state’s efforts to encourage more educators to become certified,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Our bipartisan resolution endorses the National Board Certified Teachers program and seeks its growth into more classrooms.”

Mississippi is among 29 states that provide salary incentives for certified teachers and prioritize incentives for high-needs schools.  The state ranks seventh nationally for both the total number of NBCT (4,818) and the number of new recruits (133).  Notably, 30 percent of all teachers in the Pontotoc school district are board certified.

“The National Board Certification process is the most impactful professional development a teacher can experience.  It has caused me to focus more on reflective teaching and to look beyond assessment grades so that I can help each child reach their full potential through meaningful learning opportunities,” said Laura Jo Ferguson, who teaches second grade at Clinton’s Northside Elementary School who recently earned NBCT certification.  “I am grateful that Senator Hyde-Smith and her colleagues are recognizing the thousands of teachers across the country who have worked so hard for this achievement.”

National Board Certification is a rigorous process that teachers can voluntarily opt into to strengthen their teaching skills and demonstrate their effectiveness in the classroom. This process, which also involves recertification, not only strengthens a teacher’s career but also greatly benefits their students.   

Studies have shown students taught by National Board Certified Teachers learn more than their peers and benefit from the leadership and mentorship provided by these instructors.  Board Certified teachers also tend to stay in their professions much longer and can accelerate a student’s learning by 1-to-2 months of instruction per school year.    

“We are so excited and honored that the U.S. Congress has chosen to honor the work of our organization and of National Board Certified teachers by announcing these important resolutions,” said Peggy Brookins, NBCT President and CEO of the National Board.  “We know first-hand the vital impact that Board Certified teachers have on children’s learning across the country, and we are excited that this resolution will spread the word of that impact to lawmakers in both federal and state governments.  A heartfelt thank you to Senators Britt, Heinrich, Hirono, and Hyde-Smith for cosponsoring the resolution in the Senate, and for the partnership and support!”

Mississippi’s six World Class Teaching Program sites (Alcorn, Delta State, Jackson State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Southern Miss) participate in the National Board Transforming Literacy Through Certification Grant.

In addition to Heinrich, Britt, Hirono, and Hyde-Smith, the resolution is cosponsored in by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).   

Read the Senate’s NBCT resolution here

(Update:  The Senate approved S.Res.533 by unanimous consent on January 25, 2024.)