House Education Chairman says he could support added pay for AP teachers

02/02/2011 07:33 PM

The Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee said he could support bonuses for teachers of advanced placement courses who get results — a first hint that lawmakers might find ground to compromise on merit pay for teachers.

The issue has come up this session in a Senate bill, S.B. 13, which calls for bonuses for teachers of advanced placement classes in math, science and English. Teachers in those areas could earn up to $7,500 depending on how many of their students scored well enough to earn college credit on the AP exams.

The Kentucky Education Association has expressed reservations about the legislation because it excludes AP teachers in other subjects such as social studies or foreign languages.

Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway, said on Pure Politics Wednesday that he also didn’t like that the legislation wouldn’t apply bonuses to teachers of other AP courses. But he said he could support additional pay for all those who teach AP courses “if they’re getting results.”

“I wouldn’t have a problem with any teacher getting incentive pay if they’re getting results,” he said.

The challenge is measuring those results with the varying levels of preparation and abilities of the students that teachers get, he added.

Rollins also talked about how the bill that would raise the drop out bill to 18 has been changed from last year when some Republican House members expressed concern that it didn’t provide any alternatives for students who struggled in traditional classrooms and were most likely to drop out.

The current bill, House Bill 225, passed Rollins’ committee on Thursday. And it calls for greater regulation of alternative programs and more avenues to divert students to community and technical colleges to finish their high school requirements while learning a trade.

“We want to see it so that these alternative programs are not just a place to warehouse children to stay until the age they can drop out,” Rollins said.

- Ryan Alessi

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