The3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Tuesday, May 15, 2001, at 9:30 AM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Lindy Casebier, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Lindy Casebier, Co-Chair; Representative Frank Rasche, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins, Brett Guthrie, David K. Karem, Alice Kerr, Vernie McGaha, Gerald Neal, Ernesto Scorsone, Dan Seum, Tim Shaughnessy, Robert Stivers, Johnny Turner, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Larry Belcher, Buddy Buckingham, Mike Cherry, Jack Coleman, Barbara Colter, Jon Draud, Tim Feeley, Gippy Graham, Mary Lou Marzian, Reginald Meeks, Harry Moberly, Russ Mobley, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Arnold Simpson, Dottie Sims, Kathy Stein, Gary Tapp, Jim Thompson, Mark Treesh, and Charles Walton.
Guests: Joyce Dotson, Judith Gambill, Kentucky Education Association; Tony Sholar, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Robert B. Barnes, Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System; Carol Chitwood, Hardin County Schools; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Cindy Heine, Prichard Committee; Robert Blackburn, Cabinet for Families and Children; Clyde Caudill, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents and Jefferson County Public Schools; Londa L. Wolanin, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority; Mike Ridenour, Lexington Chamber of Commerce; and Libby Marshall, Kentucky School Boards Association.
LRC Staff: Sandy Deaton, Ethel Alston, Anne Armstrong, Audrey Carr, Evelyn Gibson, Kelley McQuerry, and Lisa Moore.
Upon motion by Representative Rasche, seconded by Representative Siler, the minutes of the April 30, 2001, meeting were approved by voice vote.
Senator Guthrie gave a report on the Subcommittee on Advanced Placement Programs. The subcommittee met on April 30, 2001, and conducted briefings on Advanced Placement Programs in Kentucky. Starr Lewis, Kentucky Department of Education Associate Commissioner for Academic & Professional Development, presented an overview of the Advanced Placement Program in Kentucky schools. Several students and teachers working with the Kentucky Virtual High School testified about the Advanced Placement programs on the internet. The subcommittee is going to do a review of the different programs and the standards for declaring a program an Advanced Placement program. Senator Guthrie stated that the Subcommittee on Advanced Placement Programs will give a final report to the Interim Joint Committee on Education in the fall.
Representative Siler gave a report on the Subcommittee on Classified Employees Compensation. The subcommittee met on April 30, 2001, and heard testimony from advocates of classified personnel. Mr. William Slone, Superintendent of Martin County Public Schools, emphasized the valuable contributions of classified employees, the impact of sick leave policies, the cost of health insurance, and the distribution of rewards in successful schools. Ms. Nancy Toombs, President, and Ms. Betty Watson, Manager, of the Kentucky Education Support Personnel Association (KESPA) represented the statewide organization. The top three concerns noted were inadequate salaries, high medical insurance costs, and the employees' desire to be respected and appreciated for their contribution to the public school systems.
Senator Casebier gave a report on the Subcommittee on Teacher Compensation. The subcommittee met on April 30, 2001, and Dr. Lynn Cornett, Senior Vice President of the Southern Regional Education Board, facilitated a discussion of the issues facing the Kentucky General Assembly as it considers policies and salary options to enhance teacher compensation and benefits. Dr. Cornett stated the importance of first considering Kentucky's priorities for teaching and student results and how compensation supports the priorities. In response to the subcommittee questions, she shared some other states' efforts to provide signing bonuses, scholarship programs and loans, moving stipends, and home loans to recruit persons to critical geographic and content shortage areas.
Senator McGaha reported on the Subcommittee on Vocational Education. The subcommittee met on April 30, 2001, and began a study relating to secondary career and technical education and will file a final report by August 1, 2003. House Bill 185 required that the Department of Education and the Department of Technical Education review standards for secondary programs, equipment, and facilities. The bill also included a weighted funding formula to distribute the general fund supplements to the 25 districts that operate a locally operated center or department. Dr. Johnnie Grissom, Associate Commissioner, Office of Special Instructional Services, Department of Education, gave an overview of secondary career and technical education. She discussed current enrollments for the local school district system as well as the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Mr. Rodney Kelly, Director, Career and Technical Education, Department of Education, reviewed the general program standards for secondary career and technical education programs. Mr. Emil Jezik, Commissioner, Department for Technical Education, Cabinet for Workforce Development, gave an overview of the programs offered at the area technology centers.
Senator Casebier introduced Dr. Lewis Solmon and Ms. Micheline Bendotti to continue discussions on policies that must be considered to assure high caliber teachers in the classroom. Dr. Solmon is senior vice president and senior scholar for the Milken Family Foundation. He has recently completed a study on performance pay as part of the Foundation's initiative on improving teacher quality, which he co-directs. Ms. Micheline Bendotti is Executive Director of the Arizona Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) for the Milken Family Foundation. She has many years experience as a teacher and principal.
Dr. Solmon stated that the Milken Family Foundation has a systemic program called TAP that restructures schools in an effort to attract, motivate, and retain the talented young people in the teaching profession. Dr. Solmon presented the initial propositions of TAP. These include 1) more money to acquire top notch education; 2) additional money should not pay for more of the same old thing; 3) additional money should provide for high quality inputs which should equal higher student achievement; and 4) additional money is most politically viable if spent on high quality teachers to improve student learning.
Dr. Solmon believes there will be teacher shortages in the near future while teacher shortages in disciplinary and geographic areas are already evident in Kentucky. He says that teachers have always been underpaid, but the primary factor deterring high quality teachers is the lack of career advancement opportunities in the K-12 system. Teachers can advance only by leaving the classroom and moving into administrative positions.
Dr. Solmon said that many people advocate large raises for teachers. He said that for Kentucky to raise teacher salaries to the national average would cost over $200,000,000. He said this is an admirable goal, but questions if it is affordable on a yearly basis. Dr. Solmon also commented that teacher salary increases across the board tend to keep the less effective teachers in the classroom because they have a lack of other employment opportunities.
Dr. Solmon said TAP provides the most effective teachers the opportunity to increase their salaries by much more than a general annual raise would provide. Dr. Solmon said that teachers are increasingly teaching out of their field of expertise. In the inner cities, many math and science teachers do not have training above the high school degree.
Dr. Solmon believes TAP can change the system of compensation, training, and preparation. He wants to change the structure of the K-12 education system. He also recognizes that there has been significant progress made in certain parts of the country. He said the Milken Foundation has not seen another proposal contain the scope, force, or focus to attract enough high quality teachers into the profession. He believes the weaknesses in school reforms are because plans are not school centered, have a poor design or implementation, lack continuity, and are not comprehensive.
Dr. Solmon said TAP is a comprehensive and systemic strategy. It addresses recruitment, training, induction, professional development, compensation, performance evaluation, and career advancement -- within a conceptual framework that includes five key principles. These principles are: 1) Multiple career paths -- paths range from inductee to master teacher. TAP offers all teachers the opportunity to advance without having to leave the classroom. 2) Market-Driven Compensation -- this replaces the lock-step salary structures and provides flexibility to establish salaries. This system provides increased pay for those who do more work and are judged to be the best. 3) Performance-Based Accountability -- this is rigorous, tied to compensation, and includes differentiated requirements based on the teacher's position. Teachers are assessed against high standards that measure their performance in content knowledge, planning, instruction, assessment, and in producing student learning gains. 4) Ongoing, Applied Professional Growth - requires a school-wide commitment and includes all teachers. This ensures adequate time for teachers to meet, reflect, learn, and grow professionally. 5) Expanding the Supply of High Quality Teachers -- this is achieved by making the initial academic degree and teaching certification attainable in four years; providing alternative certification to give beginning teachers as well as mid-career professionals the ability to enter teaching as adjuncts through assessments and classroom demonstration; and allowing outstanding retiring teachers to continue working on a part-time basis as faculty fellows.
Dr. Solmon said The National Education Association (NEA) has discussed performance pay. The NEA said that performance pay should augment and not supplant the single salary schedule. The NEA supported programs that reward all teachers for achieving school-wide goals and financial incentives for attracting teachers to low-performing schools. They also supported individual rewards for certain measurable skills and additional duties. The NEA opposed merit pay that is defined as financial rewards to individual teachers based on the subjective evaluation of others. It rejects differentiating pay by subject specialty and opposes any use of student test scores.
Dr. Solmon said TAP utilizes a bottom-up approach. At least 75 percent of teachers have to vote to explore the program. As TAP gains the confidence of teachers and their associations, objections to the program decrease. Teachers are involved in developing the evaluation system upon which the compensation system is based and feel confident in it. Dr. Solmon explained that TAP is a whole program -- not just performance pay. Young teachers actually have time during the school day to meet with their master or mentor teachers to work on professional development and this, in turn, helps to raise their salaries.
Dr. Solmon said TAP costs approximately $400 more per student to administer. The state proposals under consideration are working through block grants that come back directly to the states. Dr. Solmon is very hopeful that interested states can access federal or new state money to implement TAP. He said legislation was just passed in Florida to do demonstration sites. Bills are pending in Nevada, South Carolina, and Arkansas.
Ms. Bendotti discussed eight areas that the Arizona Teacher Advancement Program has benefited. These include 1) Defining student standards; 2) Implementing performance pay; 3) Accepting standardized testing as a performance measure; 4) Improving teacher quality; 5) Defining the teacher shortage; 6) Empowering principals; 7) Finding common ground; and 8) Defining teacher standards.
Ms. Bendotti said that she has observed that dialogue among teachers is much more personal in relating to the teacher shortage, but after implementing TAP, teachers become more receptive to solutions such as alternative certification and differentiated pay. Ms. Bendotti stressed that the teacher shortage will not be solved by a quick fix.
Ms. Bendotti said the states have been busy defining student standards. She said Arizona created a document called the "Arizona State Student Standards" that specifies what a student should know. Ms. Bendotti said that many teachers cannot incorporate the standards in a meaningful manner in their individual lesson planning. After the implementation of TAP, the teachers have one hour every day to collaborate and discuss the student standards. Ms. Bendotti explained that teachers need more time to reach consensus on what to expect from students and how to incorporate the standards into their daily lessons.
Ms. Bendotti said that defining teacher standards is the greatest learning experience for Arizona this year. There is a strong variability from district to district about what is expected in the classroom. Ms. Bendotti said there is not a clearly defined and mutually agreed upon expectation about teaching standards. In the Arizona TAP Program, they are working collaboratively to define what the standards should look like in the classroom.
Ms. Bendotti said that accepting standardized testing has been a very big challenge across the country. The Arizona TAP Program concluded that the teachers do not know enough about the standardized tests. Teachers need to learn and collaborate about standardized tests so they can learn to accept this as one measure of student performance.
Ms. Bendotti discussed the issue of empowering principals. She said it is very important for the principals to be engaged in on-going training to improve skills to assess instruction while helping teachers and to make multiple decisions that improve the instructional climate of a school. Ms. Bendotti noted that principals are much more than managers and are essential members of the instructional improvement process.
Ms. Bendotti noted that teachers are not opposed to performance-based pay or compensation, but they are afraid of being required to be evaluated on unreliable measures, unclear expectations, and of bias that may occur. She also said that teachers should participate in designing and developing the comprehensive performance pay plan, but that time can become an issue.
Ms. Bendotti discussed improving teacher quality. Many teachers have been teaching ineffectively because no one has actually defined teaching excellence at the personal level in the classroom setting. She explained that most teachers are not ineffective by choice, but very often the classroom is an isolated place to be. Ms. Bendotti recommends that defining an outstanding teacher and giving teachers the knowledge and coaching they need should be implemented as a teacher standard in the next decade. The Arizona TAP program provides master and mentor teachers to observe teachers in the classroom on a frequent basis. They provide the teacher with feedback and are effectively trained to guide teachers. The most exciting part of the Arizona TAP program has been to see how quickly teacher behavior changes in the classroom with these mentors guiding them to develop their skills within their environment.
Ms. Bendotti said the education community is interdependent and answers to a variety of constituents. She said there is common ground between all of these agencies to work toward the common goal of improving student performance.
Senator Karem said these same issues arose when Kentucky was in the process of developing The Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). He asked that Ms. Bendotti clearly define what she meant by teacher standards and hoped that teachers would still have the flexibility of using personal style. Ms. Bendotti said the criteria is outcome oriented and not concerned with teacher style or the path taken to reach the final outcome.
Representative Draud asked if Kentucky should pursue implementation of TAP within a school if 75 percent or the majority of teachers were not supportive. Ms. Bendotti said she would not pursue implementation of TAP without considerable teacher support. Dr. Solmon said TAP needs support from the legislature, the governor, and the state as a whole. He also said the program costs money which requires support.
Senator Seum commented that most complaints from teachers are about inadequate planning time and numerous student disruptions in the classroom. Dr. Solmon said TAP cannot solve behavior problems. He believes one major way of helping teachers to control their classrooms is through teachers gaining their students' respect. Dr. Solmon said if TAP can prepare effective and high quality teachers to do their job, they will earn student respect. Ms. Bendotti commented that marvelous teachers have failed in the classroom due to lack of support. TAP provides the time out of the classroom for teachers to build skills to deal with students with special problems.
Senator Casebier commented that teachers feel they do not have the opportunity for enough communication with other teachers. He likes the TAP process of communication and collaboration and the chance for teachers to advance in their careers.
Representative Feeley asked how the planning time in TAP was incorporated into the teacher's schedule. Ms. Bendotti said that each school does it differently. Some schools hired specialists to help in specialty areas to teach the class while the teacher planned. This solution is relatively cost effective and provides useful instruction to the student. Dr. Solmon commented that lengthening the school day became very expensive. Ms. Bendotti also said that teachers are too tired at the end of the day to incorporate an extra hour of planning.
Representative Draud asked if the performance pay model was in effect in Arizona. Ms. Bendotti said that some teachers received a stipend of $7,000-$10,000. She explained that teachers who received stipends are required to work extended days and have extended responsibilities. Representative Draud asked if this stipend was based only on quantity and not on quality. Dr. Solmon explained that master/mentor teachers received the biggest increase in salary. The first year was spent setting up the support structure and identifying master/mentor teachers as well as implementing additional time for lesson planning. Performance pay is actually implemented in the second year.
Senator McGaha asked how Kentucky's teacher salary schedule could be improved without spending an additional $200,000,000 in salary supplements. Dr. Solmon said teachers can be motivated for financial reasons and should be. Senator McGaha said teachers have to be motivated by the students and dedication to the profession. Dr. Solmon said many teachers have to take part-time jobs to supplement their salary which could be a distraction to the quality of their teaching. Senator McGaha asked how many states were participating in the TAP program. Dr. Solmon said that Arizona is currently operating with five or six other states pending. Dr. Solmon said it costs about $1,000,000 to implement eight to ten pilot demonstration sites.
Representative Moberly said that sometimes teachers can be setup to fail by having 25 - 35 pupils in a class. He asked what the TAP program can do to give teachers more time in the day to prepare to teach and also how it can reduce the number of pupils in the classroom. Ms. Bendotti said TAP recommends the extended planning time of at least an hour a day. She said they cannot answer the class size/ratio question without additional funding. Dr. Solmon said the impact of paying for a higher quality teacher seems in all studies to have a greater impact on student learning than class size reduction. He also commented that professional development can help teachers manage larger classes.
Senator Karem asked if there was any place in the country where performance pay has actually worked in elementary and secondary schools. Dr. Solmon said the answer is no, but the voucher issue can help. He said as the voucher discussion becomes stronger, so is the idea of performance pay. Dr. Solmon said Arizona and the other states are implementing slowly so they can produce positive results.
Senator Westwood asked what works for improving student performance. He also discussed the possibility of teachers manipulating grades in order to get a raise when teachers are responsible for determining a student's performance level. He feels this leaves room for corruption. Dr. Solmon said clearly teachers cannot be responsible for student progress levels tied to their salaries. The TAP program recommends using a standardized test that is administered each year. Dr. Solmon said that what is needed is yearly testing, ability to track students over time, and the ability to relate students to teachers. He said the new evaluation/assessment system is based on the concept that all students can learn. Senator Westwood said some students will learn at slower rates or not make gains at all. These students can have issues in their personal lives such as drugs, child abuse, parents' divorcing, etc. that the teacher may not be trained to deal with. Dr. Solmon said criteria is established to determine rewards that deviate away from just the teacher's performance. He said some awards for student achievement could be group awards i.e., all third grade teachers or the entire school staff.
Representative Treesh asked how to measure the performance of Kentucky teachers and discuss the future of teacher tenure. He said that relying on standardized tests sometimes does not measure the actual curriculum that is being taught. Dr. Solmon said the standardized tests measure reading, writing, and basic mathematics. All states are interested in students gaining in those areas. Dr. Solmon also said tenure would stay in a performance-based pay plan because it is valuable to teachers.
Senator Casebier thanked Dr. Solmon and Ms. Bendotti for their presentations. Senator Casebier reminded the committee members to hold the tentative dates of June 14, 2001, for the Interim Joint Committee on Education to meet in Northern Kentucky and June 18, 2001, for all subcommittee meetings in Frankfort pending LRC approval.
The meeting adjourned at 11:40 a.m.