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Haslam defends education commissioner under fire over teacher pay

July 10th, 2013 7:30 am by Associated Press

Haslam defends education commissioner under fire over teacher pay

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday reiterated his support for the state's education commissioner, who has come under fire for changes to how teachers are paid.

At least two Facebook pages have been created calling for Kevin Huffman's ouster as well as an online petition that has garnered hundreds of signatures.

The state Board of Education approved the changes last month after supporters and opponents argued for nearly two hours over the matter. The measure changes the minimum teacher salary schedule, reduces steps in salary increases from 21 to four and eliminates incentives for doctorate degrees and post-master's training.

Haslam told reporters on Monday that the changes are needed to further education reform in the state, and that if he were to hire an education commissioner again today, it would be Huffman.

"If you look at the states that are making the most progress in education, Tennessee is at the top of that list," said the Republican governor. "Kevin gets a lot of credit for that."

Opponents of the changes say they're unfair to teachers who have had to endure other changes within the past few years, such as how they're evaluated.


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