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We sometimes give credit where credit is due

teacher.jpgLast week I posted an entry about the silly little Arkansas non-binding resolution that had been introduced by Representative Steve Harrelson in an attempt to settle the punctuation issue plaguing the state’s name. Representative Harrelson actually posted a comment in response to the post, taking responsibility for criticism being tossed his way and noting that he thought the bill would sail through along with the other ticky-tack bills that are always littering state (and the federal) legislatures. It’s worth a quick read, but the real point of this entry is to applaud another state legislature which is trying to get some meaningful work done.

In particular, Kentucky is trying to address the serious shortage of math and science teachers. As a former science wonk, this is a pet area for me, and during a brief stint working for a state legislator here in Massachusetts, I even drafted a bill that would’ve created incentives for professionals to start teaching math and science (a bill which, unfortunately, I don’t think even made it onto the floor).

Anyway, Kentucky is currently considering two different pieces of legislation, which the state senate majority leader calls companion bills. One of the bills would provide grants to help schools set up new advanced-placement classes, and also provide financial incentives to students who score high on AP exams. The other bill would give raises to teachers who score highly on math, chemistry and physics teacher-certification exams. Both bills have been approved by the state Senate and are on their way to House committees.

The first bill won’t really help with getting more math and science teachers in the schools now, obviously, as it’s geared more towards getting students into the higher math and science classes (which could potentially help prepare a future generation of teachers). And the second bill may be problematic in that its incentives may not be enough to get folks to give up the more profitable “professional” route. But anything is a good start at this point - and if Kentucky is looking for suggestions, the bill I drafted relied heavily on loan forgiveness for math and science teachers, which seemed like a nice option which can be a meaningful amount to those professionals you’re trying to get, all without affirmatively taking a huge chunk of money out of the state’s pocket.