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While controversy swirls at the White House, Chicago teachers go on strike and Democratic primary contender retired Admiral Joe Sestak walks 105 miles across New Hampshire.

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“Master Teachers” - One Answer to NY Schools Challenge?

December 15, 2010

ALBANY, N. Y. - They are the stars of New York classrooms. National Board Certification has been awarded to 131 teachers around the state. Considered "master teachers," it's a status that is not easily attained.

One recipient, Lynne Ogren, describes it as "putting her life on hold for a year" to complete the process. The 27-year veteran Spanish teacher from the South Colonie school system sees it as strike against public school teachers being frequently blamed for the troubles facing education statewide.

"Charter schools aren't a panacea and in public schools, we have a lot of caring, quality educators – and a certification process like this brings that to light."

Fourteen more New York teachers were awarded Board Certification this year than last, bringing the total statewide to 1,130. New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) says these standout educators "make a dramatic difference in the lives of students."

While she is proud to be recognized with National Board Certification, Ogren says she knows countless other teachers who are equally talented and should be praised for their contributions.

"I think it's really easy to use teachers as scapegoats for a lot of the frustrations that we have in our education process and the system itself, and it's certainly filled with a lot of flaws and things that we need to look at."

Ogren says good teachers aren't content to rest on their laurels.

"I've been teaching 27 years, so you look for ways to continue to challenge yourself, so that you can continue to be the best educator that you can be."

In a statement, NYSUT said research shows the national certification process "holds great promise as a tool...as the nation looks for better ways to evaluate teachers and gauge teacher effectiveness."

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY