The Iowa Legislature adjourned this past week with one of the nagging problems in the state’s education system unsolved, but lawmakers promise progress on teacher pay. The Legislature provided money for a study to examine how a “performance based” pay system could replace the seniority-style system now which rewards teachers’ longevity rather than action in the classroom. House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, was a classroom teacher for 18 years. He says the current teacher pay system is “deeply flawed” and major Senator Don Redfern, a republican from Cedar Falls who is chairman of the Senate Education Committee, says there is one way to find extra money to raise teacher salaries. He says Iowa is replacing higher salaried teachers with younger teachers who don’t make as much money. Redfern says that should let lawmakers raise the entry level salaries in the next two or three years.Redfern says one study over the summer will examine newfangled state incentives to schools which consolidate or reorganize — perhaps enhancing teacher pay in rural areas as a result.
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