Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington Education Association, Candidates’ Dinner
October 19, 1999


Thank you LeeAnn Prielipp for that kind introduction. And thanks for your great effort on behalf of educators and our kids. It’s great to be here.

Candidates, congratulations. I know the certification results won’t be announced until later this fall, but we’re celebrating before the results are announced because each of you has already accomplished a great thing just by becoming a candidate.

I’m impressed with the standards and certification process the Board has developed and implemented. But the work the Board does would be pointless if it wasn’t for teachers like you who step up to the plate and say: I want to try. Teachers like you who are committed to your profession, committed to our children, committed to excellence in education.

What you did is tremendous—I know that applying for board certification is an incredibly rigorous process. It’s expensive and it’s time consuming and it’s down right hard. Nationally, less than half of the candidates who try for National Board Certification make it the first time around. But you are trying anyway, and I applaud your commitment to what I believe is one of the most valuable professional development experiences a teacher can pursue.

You have voluntarily offered evidence of your teaching practice to the scrutiny of your peers across the country. You have compared your teaching to the National Board standards and continually asked yourself, “Is my teaching contributing to student learning? How do I reach every student?” And you have honed the skills of analyzing and reflecting upon your teaching. These skills will benefit all of the students who are fortunate enough to be placed in your classes.

There are some people with us tonight who might not know just how rigorous and rewarding the Board Certification process is. And I think the best way to explain it is to hear from some of the people who have actually experienced the process. Let me introduce Erich Sacks, the son of Lois Perkins, a candidate from Clover Park. Erich is a high school senior and a Running Start participant at Tacoma Community College. Let’s hear from Erich for a wider, slightly different perspective.

Erich Sacks speaks.

Thank you Erich. Now let’s hear from some of the candidates themselves.

Various candidates share their experiences.

Well, that was certainly enlightening. Please know that the harder you work, the harder I work. Last year I proposed a 15% pay bump for all National Board Certified teachers. Legislature put a cap on funding for this, and that cap is unacceptable. I will go back to the Legislature this year to ensure that every teacher who becomes Board certified gets this increase and is rewarded for not just undergoing this rigorous process, but more importantly for being an exceptional teacher.

I am also talking with large corporations in Washington, proposing that they cover at least half of the $2,000 candidate subsidy fee if local districts will contribute the other half.

We’ve set a goal of having 500 Board certified teachers in Washington by 2005, and all of you are helping to make that goal a reality. Thank you all very much for helping to make Washington State a better place to live, to work, and to raise a family, and more importantly a state of lifelong learning.
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