Kansas lawmakers have given final approval to a plan that would increase aid to poor school districts and eliminate tenure for public school teachers.
The provision to make it easier to fire teachers was included in an education funding bill designed to comply with a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling. The bill passed both the House and Senate.
Some lawmakers supporting the measure say schools need to be run more like private sector businesses, where people can be hired and fired more easily. Representative Allan Rothlisberg is a Grandview Plaza Republican.
“Produce or you’re gone. Private sector does it. You don’t meet standards, you don’t meet goals, you’re gone. That’s the way it should be in the public sector,” says Rothlisberg.
Senator Tom Hawk is a Manhattan Democrat and former school administrator. He says teachers should not have to fear being removed for an unfair reason or because they have high standards.
“Some of the very best teachers are often the toughest teachers on students. And we need teachers to be tough on students. We don’t need teachers being afraid if they raise concerns about a student's work habits having a parent pushing to have them removed,” says Hawk.
Some legislators objected to policy issues like the teacher employment changes being included in the bill. Hundreds of teachers gathered at the Statehouse over the weekend to protest the plan.
The Kansas House and Senate have given final approval to the bill. It now head to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s desk.