Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson told state lawmakers last week that teachers don’t feel appreciated and that a merit pay requirement, which Gov. Sam Brownback is advocating, might make matters worse. Kansas State Board of Education chairman Jim McNiece of Wichita agreed, suggesting a merit pay requirement from the state could be like pouring gasoline on a fire. But Sen. Jeff Melcher, R-Leawood, who has pushed legislation to weaken teachers unions, blamed the education community and the union for bad feelings between teachers and legislators. – Phillip Brownlee
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