education

Room and board costs at Kansas' six public universities would increase next year under a proposal before the state's Board of Regents.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that under the proposal, the traditional arrangement of two residents per room and a typical meal plan would increase 2.5 percent next year at the University of Kansas.

A state official says Kansas schools are becoming better prepared to respond to natural and man-made disasters but will need more resources to keep improving.

Bob Hull, director of the Kansas Center for Safe and Prepared Schools, told lawmakers Thursday that shrinking federal grants have limited the state's ability to help schools prepare for tornadoes or violent intruders.

Hull says that schools are conducting more drills and risk assessments. But he adds that more money is needed to build safe rooms and provide crisis training.

A special legislative committee is opening two days of hearings to review the Kansas school finance system and study the practices of neighboring states.

The meetings Wednesday and Thursday also include a discussion of staffing changes by school districts and how they compare to neighboring states. Policy analysts are expected to also discuss trends in school choice programs nationwide.

The committee is led by Republican Kasha Kelley, chair of the House Education Committee, and Republican Senator Steve Abrams, a former State Board of Education member.

Kansas Students To Get New School Tests

Oct 31, 2013

Education officials say new math and English testing that will be recommended next month to the Kansas State Board of Education will be aligned with new curriculum standards and give more flexibility to student testing.

The changes were outlined during a meeting Wednesday in Topeka. Education commissioner Diane DeBacker will recommend that the board approve using the Smarter Balance tests in grades three through eight. She says high schools will have flexibility in what type of assessment they use.

A group of Kansas lawmakers will begin visiting college and university campuses this week to talk budget issues. The visits come in the wake of nearly $50 million in budget cuts over two years passed by legislators.

Lawmakers have said they want to talk to university officials about efficiency and how they spend money.

Gov. Sam Brownback, who opposed the funding cuts, says he wants lawmakers to learn more about the role of higher education in Kansas and the impact of the cuts.

Kan. Board, Lawmakers Meet For Talk On Schools

Oct 17, 2013

Kansas legislators and the State Board of Education met Wednesday to discuss the status of public education, and to find common ground.

The Statehouse meeting included the 10-member state board and members of the House and Senate education committees.

Most of the discussion focused on how Kansas can spend education dollars more efficiently while also boosting student achievement.

Kansas spends more than $3 billion dollars annually on K-12 education.

WSU, Emporia State Strike Dual Degree Deal

Oct 16, 2013

A new agreement will allow students to start science and math degrees at Emporia State University and finish them at Wichita State.

University leaders signed the agreement Tuesday.

It allows students to spend their first three years at Emporia State and their last two at Wichita State.

Students completing the so-called "3+2" program will have earned bachelor of science degrees in mathematics or physics from Emporia State.

They'll also have bachelor's degrees in any of several engineering fields from Wichita State.

In the Kansas Supreme Court hearing on school funding this week, justices had some pointed questions for the attorneys.

At issue is whether the state should increase education spending. But how much can we gather about the possible outcome of the case from the questions and comments made by the justices?

Here’s just one example from the oral arguments:

When Justice Eric Rosen pointed out that the state had agreed to increase education funding in a past lawsuit.

“Essentially, it stands before me in my eyes as a broken promise,” said Rosen.

Wichita State University is hosting a career conference emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for young women.

The Expanding Your Horizons conference for middle school girls is in its first year.

The students can participate in workshops like "Polymers, Polymers Everywhere!," "Clean Air is Always in Fashion," and "The Slime is ALIVE!" The girls will also meet role models in science disciplines.

Kan. On Defensive Over School Funding Before Court

Oct 9, 2013

Several Kansas Supreme Court justices said Tuesday the state has broken its funding promises to public schools.

But they acknowledged that the current funding guidelines might not be feasible for the state, long-term.

The court will decide whether to uphold a lower-court's ruling from January. It ordered the state to increase school funding by at least $440 million a year.

A state law enacted in 2006 set the state's base funding for public schools at $4,492 per student, but the current base state funding is $3,838 per student, or nearly 15 percent less.

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