Celia Llopis-Jepsen

Celia comes to the Kansas News Service after five years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. She brings in-depth experience covering schools and education policy in Kansas as well as news at the Statehouse. In the last year she has been diving into data reporting. At the Kansas News Service she will be producing more radio, a medium she’s been yearning to return to since graduating from Columbia University with a master’s in journalism.

Celia also has a master’s degree in bilingualism studies from Stockholm University in Sweden. Before she landed in Kansas, Celia worked as a reporter for The American Lawyer in New York, translated Chinese law articles, and was a reporter and copy editor for the Taipei Times.

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Celia Llopis-Jepsen / 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.

cybrariann77, Flickr Creative Commons

Kansas continues to face a teacher shortage, with schools reporting 440 vacancies this school year.

Those empty jobs worry educators because they force schools into workarounds, such as larger class sizes or long-term substitutes. They can also reduce class offerings and lessen support for special-education students.

Janet Waugh represents Kansas City, Kansas on the State Board of Education. She calls the situation heart breaking.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is on a six-state tour. The itinerary, unveiled on Monday, includes private school Kansas City Academy in Missouri and Johnson County Community College.

Officials at JCCC found out about the visit the same day the Education Department announced Secretary DeVos’ tour. It’s not yet clear what programs or classes she will visit.

Her agency says the multi-state tour is about highlighting innovation in education.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Lawmakers remain concerned about potential snags as Kansas wraps up years of work on migrating driver’s license records from an old mainframe computer to newer infrastructure ahead of a January launch date.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

As dozens of Kansas school districts spar with the state over funding for public education, the term “Rose standards” has emerged as arcane but critical jargon among lawyers and judges, and surfaced over and over again in court documents.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is touting a controversial multi-state voter database as a key resource in response to U.S. Department of Justice questions about Kansas’ compliance with federal voting law.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Tens of millions of dollars in extra state funding that legislators approved this spring amid pressure from an ongoing school finance lawsuit could go toward raising teacher pay.

Alberto G. / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas education officials are aiming for big improvements in academic outcomes by 2030.

State officials want a 95 percent high school graduation rate. The current rate is 86 percent. And they want even steeper gains in math and reading proficiency.

The Kansas Association of School Boards supports these goals but warns no state has achieved them, and to get there schools will need more resources.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

As the U.S. State Department is reorganized, the job Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is poised to take on could get bigger.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress on Monday that he plans to scrap dozens of special envoys and diplomatic positions.

The office Brownback has been tapped for – ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom – will absorb four of the offices that are being eliminated, along with their staff and nearly $2 million in resources.

PHIL CAUTHON / KHI News Service/File photo

A Democratic candidate for Kansas governor says the Brownback administration is bent on privatizing a key mental health facility.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has unveiled a proposal to build a new mental hospital at Osawatomie, which a Tennessee company would run.

But Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward says the agency should be exploring in-house options.

"This administration has a terrible history of privatization. Whether it be child support collection, DCF, KanCare,” Ward says.

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