teachers

cybrarian77, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas State Board of Education has delayed a vote on a plan to let some school districts hire unlicensed teachers.

The proposal would have affected a group of six Kansas districts, known as the Coalition of Innovative School Districts. As Stephen Koranda reports, the board had been set to vote on the plan Thursday.

The delay came after deans of education schools at Kansas universities raised concerns, as did teachers. Nicole Meier is a Kindergarten teacher from Topeka and a Teacher of the Year finalist.

Jirka Matousek, flickr Creative Commons

A bill that would have forced a re-negotiation of all teacher salaries at the end of their current term was defeated in the Senate.

The Senate voted 13-27 to reject the bill Wednesday. It would have also eliminated the current teacher pay scale by narrowing salary talks between school boards and teachers unions to minimum salary.

Republican Sen. Jeff Melcher from Leawood inserted the changes into the bill and said they would help school reward good teachers and fire underperformers.

Michael B. / Flickr

Both chambers of the Kansas Legislature approved changes yesterday to the rules for collective bargaining between school boards and teachers' unions.

The House and Senate passed separate bills that reflect a compromise that school administrators, boards, superintendents, and teachers' unions reached in January.

State law currently compels the two sides to bargain on 31 issues each negotiations cycle, in addition to pay and hours.

Critics say the policy leads to deadlocks and distractions in talks.

Vitor Garcia, flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would narrow negotiations between school boards and teachers.

The House Education Committee conducted a hearing on the bill Wednesday. It would remove 30 issues from a list of things over which the teachers' union and school boards would be required to bargain.

That would leave only salary and work hours on the annual bargaining agenda. Both sides would have to agree beforehand to discuss benefits or other issues.

Reports this week indicate that some educators in the Topeka school district have had illegal access to data that identifies students from low-income families. This is legally protected as confidential.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that principals and other educators were able to see the data through the district's student information platform called PowerSchool. The data is used to determine which students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

Kansas education groups are gearing up their political activities ahead of the Aug. 5 primary election, putting their money and energy behind state House candidates that support public schools.

Organizers say teachers view recent changes in teacher licensing and loss of administrative due process as an attack on their profession.

The Kansas National Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, has more than $400,000 to spend this election cycle. Other organizations are going door to door to boost turnout for pro-education candidates.

The State Board of Education has agreed to allow schools to hire teachers for certain subjects who have expertise but no education degree.

The regulations the board approved Tuesday require teachers to meet one of three criteria:

1) They would need an out-of-state license and to pass the licensure tests.

2) At least a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of related work experience in science, technology, engineering or math.

3) An industry-recognized certificate in a technical profession and at least five years of related work experience.

Major changes to teacher employment laws in Kansas will soon be taking effect, eliminating from state law what many people know as “tenure.”

That means administrators will be able to be fire teachers more easily.

It could be several years before we know the full effects of the changes.

Under the old rules, Kansas teachers who had been with a district fewer than three years were on probationary status, and could be let go without a reason.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate has voted to make it easier to fire teachers. 

The amendment was added to an education funding bill.

Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, supported the proposal. She said schools should be allowed to operate like a private business, which can mostly hire and fire people at will.

"When you have a teacher that is impeding that system I believe an administrator should be able to let them go. That’s what happens in private schools,” said Wagle.

Kansas Board To Revise Teacher Licensing Rules

Sep 17, 2013

The State Board of Education has voted to require all Kansas teachers renewing their licenses to submit fingerprints for checks against a state criminal database.

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