Kansas Board of Education

File Photo / Kansas News Service

The top education official in Kansas on Tuesday proposed allowing more schools to hire educators who don’t qualify for teaching licenses under the state’s current system — and signaled he would support changes to state regulations if needed.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Fewer than 40 percent of Kansas students are on track to be academically prepared for college, community college or technical school as measured by their scores on the state’s standardized math and English tests.

Scores on English language arts tests went down for the second year in a row. About 38 percent of students scored proficient in that subject in spring 2017.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas education officials did little to promote a public comment period for a school accountability plan designed to steer the state through 2030 and guide nearly $2 billion in federal spending.

While some states that publicized town halls and launched online surveys for their plans collected comments by the thousands, Kansas officials didn’t use such tools nor issue news releases or social media posts about the state’s public comment period.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas is setting aspirations for much higher math and reading competency among the class of 2030 — today’s kindergartners — in a long-term accountability plan for its public schools.

Kansas officials submitted the accountability blueprint Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Education. It does not include language promoting controversial school choice concepts that Gov. Sam Brownback’s office advocated for, according to staff at the state education department.

Courtesy photo / Kansas State Department of Education

Fourteen schools in seven school districts across Kansas will work this year on revamping the way they serve children, with the goal of becoming statewide models for overhauling primary and secondary education.

The education department is branding the effort to re-envision schools as Kansas’ version of “a moon shot,” referring to the U.S. race to put a man on the moon in the 1960s.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

The Kansas State Department of Education is asking schools to increase the number of students who go on to college or vocational programs within two years of leaving high school.

The department released new district-by-district data this month as part of its push toward that end.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Lawyers for Kansas and for dozens of school districts suing it filed briefs Friday at the Kansas Supreme Court, in what could be the final leg of a seven-year legal battle over school finance.

The state argues legislation passed early this month ratchets up annual state aid to schools by nearly $300 million over the next two years, and that should be enough to end the Gannon v. Kansas case once and for all. 

 Julia Szabo
KCUR 89.3

The number of teachers leaving Kansas or simply quitting the profession has dramatically increased over the last four years.

The annual Licensed Personnel Report was released Tuesday by the Kansas Department of Education. While it was provided to the Board of Education meeting in Topeka Tuesday, the report was buried in board documents and not addressed by either staff or the board.

The report shows that 1,075 teachers left the profession last year, up from 669 four years ago. That's a 61 percent increase.

Brad Wilson / Flickr-CC

It only took a few minutes for the Kansas State Board of Education to approve $7.2 million in extraordinary needs funding for school districts across the state. The extra money will go to 34 school districts. Three districts didn't get any money.

The six local districts who applied for the additional state aid didn't get all they wanted but still did well.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A special session focused on solving Kansas' nettlesome school funding problem begins Thursday. At stake: school itself. The Kansas Supreme Court has threatened a statewide shutdown of schools if lawmakers don't make funding more equitable before June 30.

It's not an overstatement, then, to say most Kansans will be impacted by what happens in Topeka over the next few days. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Ever since the Kansas Supreme Court ruled education block grants unconstitutional and ordered the Legislature to make school funding between districts equitable, many have wondered just how lawmakers will fix the problem before a June 30 deadline.

If the problem isn't fixed by then the Supreme Court says it will close down public education in Kansas.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Barbara Bollier from Mission Hills, provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss education, and declining revenue numbers.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Barbara Bollier from Mission Hills, provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss education, and declining revenue numbers.

Guests:

The Kansas State Board of Education has approved changes that will allow people with career experience – but no education degree — to teach in public schools. The changes will allow people with real-world experience to teach subjects including math, science and technical education.

The new regulations were prompted by a bill passed earlier this year by the Kansas Legislature, although the Board of Ed had already been considering some new rules. The changes easily passed on a 9-1 vote.

The Kansas Board of Education recently re-affirmed the teaching of cursive in Kansas schools. In this day and age, is this still an important skill or something that should fall by the wayside?

On today's Central Standard, Sylvia Maria-Gross discusses the how and the why behind teaching handwriting in schools.

Guest:

  • Kindel Turner Nash, Assistant Professor of Urban Teacher Education at UMKC

The Kansas State Board of Education has made a strong statement urging school districts to teach cursive writing. The recommended grade school standards say the board "expects" districts to teach cursive.

The board voted 10-0 to tell school districts to keep cursive in the classroom, citing research that indicates handwriting is connected to cognitive development.

Board member Janet Waugh, from Kansas City, Kan., says she understands why schools might cut back on cursive.

The Kansas Board of Education Tuesday reviewed new federal rules on food sales in schools slated to take effect next year. The healthy snack requirements govern the kinds of food items that can be sold to students during the school day.

Kansas already has requirements in place that in many cases meet or exceed the new federal rules. Cheryl Johnson, director of child nutrition and wellness at the Kansas Department of Education,  told the board that much of the work in Kansas will be creating exemptions for certain activities, such as fundraising bake sales in schools.

The Kansas State Board of Education will be asking lawmakers to increase school funding by more than $600 million in the coming fiscal year. That would be an increase of more than 20 percent. That decision came at a meeting in Topeka Tuesday.

The board members voted 7-3 to make the request for increased funding. More than $400 million would go to the base state aid per student that is paid to districts. The money would also increase funding for professional development and school lunch programs.

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The Kansas Board of Education voted not to include ACT test scores used in three districts in the state's official report card provided to the federal government.

The Kansas National Guard heads to Colorado.  Another kind of shelter opens up at domestic violence agency.  Kansas works on national science standards but some are still concerned about teaching evolution.  It’s a daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

Concern About Evolution As Kansas Helps Set National Science Standards

Jun 13, 2012
Tkgd2007 / wikimedia commons

Kansas education officials are working with 25 other states to develop new science standards that could serve as a model for the rest of the country. 

A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.