National Board certification has seen sunnier days in Florida, D.C.

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The nation's economic woes are making life harder for the National Board, after a period of many good years when the numbers of Board-certified teachers exploded and bonuses were flowing.

Now Florida is reporting a 90 percent drop in the number of teachers seeking Board certification with just 400 teachers pursuing it this year, down from 4,000 last year. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Sunshine State previously halted both its subsidy of the Board application fee and a 10 percent annual bonus for Board teachers who mentor others.

Along with those cuts, some Florida teachers are getting less than has been promised. Last year, a number of Board-certified teachers in Broward County agreed to teach at Title I schools in exchange for a $10,000 bonus, but the county, caught in a budget crunch, has yet to pay up.

Up north in the District of Columbia, DCPS has also cut support for teachers seeking the Board's stamp of approval. Chancellor Michelle Rhee defended her move citing the evidence that the connection between Board certification and improved student learning is weak.