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Published in Print: April 21, 1999, as State Journal

State Journal

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Bonus time

Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci awarded 19 teachers his state's first $5,000 bonuses for master teachers last week.

The Massachusetts Veteran Teachers Board offers up to $50,000 over 10 years to any public school teacher who passes the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification exam and also serves as a mentor for student-teachers. As part of the bonus plan, the master teachers will mentor student-teachers or teachers who want to become master teachers.

"This program will ultimately raise the standard of education across the board," said Jan O'Keefe Feldman, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Education. "Our critical focus is to get people into the [teaching] profession and to keep them there."

The veteran-teacher bonus is one initiative in a law the state passed last August after large numbers of prospective teachers failed the state's first-ever teacher-licensing exam last year.

Board uncertainty

A bill in the Nevada Senate that would replace the state's 11-member elected school board with an appointed one doesn't appear to have much support. But at least one current member of the board isn't breathing a sigh of relief yet.

Bill Hanlon, the panel's vice president, said he's concerned that the bill--which was introduced by the finance committee--could get rushed through during the final days of the session in late May when lawmakers are in a hurry to get legislation passed before adjourning.

Mr. Hanlon said he believes disagreement among board members in recent years over such issues as academic standards and teacher licensing gave some legislators the impression that the members could not get along. "Democracy is messy," Mr. Hanlon said. "You have to have those debates."

The omnibus bill would replace the elected board with five members appointed by the governor and four named by the legislature. It would also shorten the state superintendent's contract from three years to one year and change how members are appointed to the state's commission on professional standards, which sets regulations for teachers. Instead of all nine members being chosen by the governor, five would be appointed by the governor and four by the legislature.

--Candice Furlan & Linda Jacobson

Vol. 18, Issue 32, Page 18

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