Business group calls for merit pay for teachers, raising dropout age

01/17/2011 07:17 PM

Kentucky needs to raise the profile of the teaching profession by encouraging more top-flight college graduates to enter the profession, raising their pay and rewarding the best teachers, the state Chamber of Commerce president said.

“We are very much for looking at differentiated roles within a school. And if a teacher is performing in an excellent fashion, that person should be rewarded financially,” Dave Adkisson, the group’s president, said on Pure Politics Monday night.

While the state’s teacher’s union — the Kentucky Education Association — has opposed that proposal, Adkisson said Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration and state’s business community are in favor of merit pay.

The chamber also is backing some of the concepts that already have begun moving through the legislative pipeline.

Adkisson said the chamber supports a bill that made it through the Republican-led Senate that would give superintendents more say in selecting principals.

He also said it’s time to raise the dropout age from 16 to 18, as is being pushed by some including Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg and Gov. Steve Beshear.

“Because of the job situation in Kentucky these days, unfortunately someone who drops out of high school is really not going to have many options in the world of work today,” Adkisson said.

- Ryan Alessi


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