Gov. Sam Brownback has appointed an educator to the last open spot on a new Kansas commission that will examine ways to make public schools more efficient.
But a spokesman for the state’s biggest teachers’ union says earlier appointments by a legislative leader show that the panel will have an anti-public schools agenda.
On Wednesday Brownback named Hoisington High School principal Meg Wilson to the Student Performance and Efficiency Commission. He previously appointed superintendents Bev Mortimer of Concordia and Jim Hinson of Johnson County’s Shawnee Mission district.
The largest teachers union in Kansas plans to file a lawsuit after the July Fourth holiday challenging new education polices enacted this spring, including the elimination of guaranteed tenure in public schools.
Attorneys for the Kansas National Education Association intend to file the lawsuit in Shawnee County District Court.
Kansas education groups are gearing up their political activities ahead of the Aug. 5 primary election, putting their money and energy behind state House candidates that support public schools.
Organizers say teachers view recent changes in teacher licensing and loss of administrative due process as an attack on their profession.
The Kansas National Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, has more than $400,000 to spend this election cycle. Other organizations are going door to door to boost turnout for pro-education candidates.
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. As Stephen Koranda reports, 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. That majority included board member Steve Roberts.
A new agreement signed by universities and community colleges in Kansas can help students earn associate degrees. The program is aimed at helping students who transfer from a community college to a university.
The Kansas Board of Regents will consider proposed tuition increases at a meeting this week. Breeze Richardson, with the board, says this will be the final step in the process. Universities have spent the last few months developing and submitting their proposals.
“Those proposals were brought forth at last month’s meeting," Richardson says. "And then the final proposals will be presented tomorrow and voted upon.”