Bills allowing superintendents to pick principals and rewarding successful math and science teachers pass Kentucky Senate
The on-line kyPost.com reports two bills, Senate Bills 12 and 13, have been approved in the Kentucky Senate and now move to the Kentucky House for consideration when the legislature reconvenes in Frankfort in February.
SB-12, a very short bill, makes an important change in the way school principals are selected in Kentucky by moving authority to make the final selection to the district superintendent.
Under KERA, each individual School Based Decision Making Council (SBDM) has been making that selection. The KERA principal selection process severely undermines the classical chain of command in school governance, effectively reducing superintendents to impotent advisors and removing from the locally elected school board any significant ability to influence schools, as well.
The Bluegrass Institute has long favored this important policy change which, if enacted, will facilitate restoring some real accountability in our schools.
The second bill, SB-13, takes action on very serious problems in Kentucky – shortages of teachers in hard to staff math and science positions and low numbers of students successfully completing Advanced Placement (AP) college courses in high school.
SB-13 will provide a series of monetary awards to teachers of math and science courses for every student in their class who earns a 3 or more on the AP tests or who gets a 5 or more in the International Baccalaureate program. Teachers in feeder math and science courses would also be eligible for rewards, as well.
This is a privately financed program that is now running in around 25 of Kentucky’s high schools.
As good as both of these bills are, there was resistance, which mostly broke down along party lines. The resistance to these two very worthwhile bills mostly amounted pushing petty teachers’ union interests at the expense of our children and their parents.
Thus, SB-12 passed the Senate on a 21 to 16 vote, while SB-13 passed by a 23 to 14 vote.
Some of the negative votes were driven by the fact that the union wants teachers to continue to select their bosses. That is really sad because this perpetuates an atmosphere of low expectations in too many Kentucky schools when unmotivated teachers select principals who won’t rock the boat.
The union also hates the idea of merit pay for teachers in math and science. The union wants the ‘same size employment package’ to fit all. The problem with that archaic thinking is very simple – it does not work. Kentucky’s teachers’ colleges graduated only one high school physics teacher in each of the past two years, well below the need. While some would pander to the unions on this issue, our kids suffer.
These bills now move to the Kentucky House. It will be interesting to see if they get a fair hearing or are dumped by those who place union interests above those of our children.