Kansas teachers, lobbyists discuss merit pay in hearing

Members of the Special Committee on K-12 Student Success unanimously voted to table a draft report on K-12 education and send it to legislative staff for a rewrite in Topeka, Kan., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. (Thad Allton/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) — Legislators in Kansas are considering a merit pay system to reward higher quality teachers, although they are hearing plenty of opposition.

A House Education Committee hearing on Tuesday allowed teachers and lobbyists to discuss the issue.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s policy director, Brandon Smith, spoke in favor of merit pay and compared it to efforts that proved successful in the District of Columbia and states such as New York.

But Kansas Families for Education lobbyist Brian Koon said merit pay risks leaving vulnerable children behind. He has two high-needs children.

The State Board of Education provides $1,100 scholarships to give teachers an incentive to attain a national certificate in their teaching specialties. But Kansas law does not mandate merit pay.

The committee does not yet have a bill.

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