Tonight I am angry. I am so angry that I think my head might pop off. Today I was informed that Hampton City Schools, my district in Virginia, has decided not to fund their National Board Stipends for next year. No other teacher in the district will be taking the kind of salary cut that the NBCTs will be taking- mine will be close to $3000. I am feeling betrayed, devalued and completely disillusioned with education in general and my district in particular.
There are 100 NBC teachers in my district and Hampton recruits vigorously using the stipend as incentive. They advertise that they have the highest number of National Board teachers in the area on the district web site. And they have sold all of us out. The district only needed $200,000 to protect this stipend, but just couldn’t work up the motivation to do it. I honestly don’t know what to think.
I certified in 2000, in Early Adolescent English Language Arts, the first teacher in my district to do so. I re-certified in 2010, after having been assured that the stipend would be protected in budget negotiations. So now, I am wondering. What is expertise worth? What are best practices, knowledge of content and some of the highest standardized test scores in the city worth? Apparently not much.
This salary cut means we will have to sell my husband’s new truck- I won’t have the $300/month truck payment. I guess that’s a small price to pay for working ten hours a day at school, two to three hours at night and on weekends, chaperoning dances, sponsoring clubs, mentoring new teachers and NB candidates, acting as the department chair and all that that entails and getting to spend thousands of my own dollars to equip my classroom because the district doesn’t have the funds to do it. I think something has to give. This time it won’t be me.