education

Sam Zeff / KCUR

There seems to be a growing tenseness over the future of education in Kansas. The fight last year over block grant funding was hardball and, at times, ugly. Teachers felt under the gun, and many decided to leave the state.

But as KCUR’s Sam Zeff reports, educators say the attacks this legislative session feel particularly bitter.

It’s Wednesday, 30 minutes before the House Education Committee will meet and room 112-North in the Kansas Statehouse is packed.

It’s hot, there’s not enough seats, and the Capitol police, who rarely leave entrance, are in the room.

Michael B. / flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers yesterday heard from supporters and opponents of a bill that would consolidate school districts. The bill would set a minimum size for districts, and those that are too small would merge.

The goal is combining administrations to create more efficient organizations. Republican Rep. John Bradford told skeptics of the bill that it wouldn’t result in schools closing.

Christopher Sessums, flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers will hold hearings this week on a bill that could trim back the number of school districts in Kansas significantly.

The bill sets requirements for the minimum size of districts. If districts are too small, they would be merged. The strategy behind the bill is efficiency, not by closing schools, but by consolidating administrations between schools districts.

Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, spoke to education officials about the potential impact. He says the bill could affect local control.

Stephen Koranda

A bill before the Kansas Legislature is aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest on local school boards. But as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, it could make nearly half of current school board members ineligible for their jobs.

To avoid conflicts of interest, the bill would bar anyone from serving on a school board if a family member works for a school district.

Christopher Sessums, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Education Commission is expected to unveil a new vision for schools that helps students attain non-academic skills such as conscientiousness, perseverance and collaboration.

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson shared the plan during the Kansas Department of Education's annual conference in Wichita.

The ideas comes from community meetings, which were organized to find out what people want from K-12 education. Watson says Kansans want to place equal focus on helping students attain non-academic skills in order to be successful in the workforce.

Christopher Sessums, flickr Creative Commons

At a series of recent public meetings, thousands of Kansans and business leaders described what they want students to learn in Kansas schools. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, state education officials have compiled the responses and are now touring Kansas to unveil the information.

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson says they got some surprising results. Instead of a focus on basic academic skills like reading and math, businesses and Kansans said they want students to have more non-academic skills, like teamwork, communication and persistence.

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill that rewrites the rules for teachers, school administrators and other public employees who return to work after retiring.

Public employees currently are allowed to retire but return to work and earn up to $20,000 a year while drawing their pension benefits. Schools regularly use the program for hard-to-fill positions.

The program expires at the end of June. The bill would make changes to the program after extending it for a year.

An effort to repeal a 10-year-old law that gives the children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition is alive in the Legislature. But as Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, the measure remains bottled up in a committee.

Alberto G, flickr Creative Commons

What we got to do, is we got to nip Commonism in the bud. And by “Commonism” what I mean is Common Core. Common Core is Commonism.

We didn’t have no Commonism when me and all them other Kansans got our learning. And just look at what a bang-up job we done! Our smartness done made this state we got here into a sort of compost pile that attracts the bestest and the most brightest.

kereifsnyder / Flickr / Creative Commons

    

How well are Americans doing with civic literacy?

The results of the 2010 National Assessment of Education Progress, known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” demonstrate that most K-12 students are learning little about civics and history. Only 22 percent of fourth-grade students, 18 percent of eighth-graders, and 13 percent of high school seniors demonstrated proficiency in American history.

Pages