education

WLADYSLAW / WIKIMEDIA-CC

Kansas’ private tuition tax credit program doubled in size during the 2016-17 school year and appears likely to expand again after lawmakers voted to enhance it this session.

alamosbasement / flickr Creative Commons

New data from the National Student Clearinghouse shows about 44 percent of Kansas students continue onto college or technical education within two years of high school. In response, the state is asking schools to improve their numbers.

Education commissioner Randy Watson says the number of Kansas students going onto college is good compared to other states, but that 44 percent figure, is too low.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

A new math class being piloted by dozens of high schools across Kansas seeks to save students stress, time and money when they reach college.

Currently, about one-third of students who continue to two- and four-year colleges in Kansas don’t score high enough on placement tests to enroll directly in college algebra, a class most need in order to graduate.

Instead, they work their way up through remedial classes, a process that can take multiple semesters.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

In his 26 years at Meade Unified School District 226, a 400-student district southwest of Dodge City, Superintendent Kenneth Harshberger has watched the educational landscape change.

Teachers are harder to recruit — even for elementary jobs, which were traditionally easier to fill.

“The first time I tried to hire an elementary teacher 25, 26 years ago, we had over 100 applicants,” he recalled. “Now I can’t get five applicants.”

A non-partisan research and policy group says most of the undergraduate programs in Kansas that prepare high school teachers received a D or F grade in the latest ratings. Newman University in Wichita is one of two Kansas schools that scored in the top 25 percent.

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) rated Benedictine College in the 83rd percentile and Newman University in the 76th percentile for their secondary education programs.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

The Kansas Legislature faces a crucial deadline as it starts its wrap-up session this week: It must have a school funding formula in place by June 30 that passes muster with the state Supreme Court, or the justices will shut down public schools.

The Kansas House has done a good amount of work on a school funding bill. A working bill is in place, although it has yet to pass out of committee and make it to the floor.

Kansas News Service

Kansas legislators hit adjournment Friday with some big tasks left for their wrap-up session that starts May 1.

At the top of the list is a tax and budget plan, which largely will be influenced by the amount of school funding that legislators decide to add in light of the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling last month. In the health policy arena, Medicaid expansion supporters are regrouping after the governor’s veto — and holding out hope for another shot this session.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

Kansas legislative leaders took a couple of days to try to persuade some members of the House K-12 Budget Committee to accept $75 million more in school funding, according to legislators on both sides of the aisle.

But the hardball tactics apparently failed.

USD 259 Budget Planning The 'Perfect Storm Of Unknowns'

Feb 14, 2017
Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Wichita Public Schools' budget for this year has been proceeding according to plan. Next year, though, is another story.

On Monday night, Susan Willis, chief financial officer for the district, told school board members that budget planning for the 2017-18 school year is "the perfect storm of unknowns."

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Education PACs in Kansas are spreading around tens of thousands of dollars to help both conservative and moderate legislative candidates.  

There are two big education political action committees in Kansas, and they back very different candidates.

The Kansas NEA is funded by contributions solicited by the union and in the last reporting period made about $29,000 in campaign contributions and spent $12,000 on polling.

The contributions went to lawmakers who reliably back KNEA positions on school funding and collective bargaining.

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