Legislators have drafted a bill which takes the first steps toward changing the way teachers are paid in Iowa. The bill sets up mentoring programs for beginning teachers and a new pay scale which -eventually- will give teachers bonuses if students do well. But it does not raise the minimum starting teacher salary, which is set at 23-thousand dollars today. A group of Iowa business leaders called for setting starting teacher pay at 29-thousand in order to attract more qualified people to the profession. Representative Danny Carroll, a republican from Grinnell, says the state’s finances are too tight to kick beginning teacher pay up to that level.The bill doesn’t even set up the framework for judging student performance, the means by which teachers get bonuses. The bill sets up a commission to study what kinds of tests that should be used to measure student achievement. Senate President Mary Kramer, a republican from West Des Moines, says the bill is truly a first step rather than an entire plan for achieving the goal of raising teacher pay and performance.The bill will first be considered by the House and Senate Education Committees.
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