Author - Scott Rothschild

Plan floated to replace 10th grade state test with ACT in 11th grade

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson is floating the idea of having all Kansas students take the ACT in 11th grade instead of the state assessments in math and English in 10th grade.  Watson briefed the State Board of Education about the proposal on Tuesday. Several board members had questions about the idea, which has been explored in a number of other states.   Board Chair Kathy Busch asked Watson to provide an update on the issue next month and then possibly bring it to the board in October for some kind of action.  Watson said he would reach out to school superintendents at...

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Kansas will consider raising age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes

Officials said Tuesday they will seek an increase in the minimum age in Kansas to purchase tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, from 18 to 21. Education and health officials say the change is needed because of the drastic increase in young people vaping, or using e-cigarettes. “It has exploded. It is an epidemic,” said Mark Thompson, a program consultant with the Kansas State Department of Education. Officials told the State Board of Education that a bill to raise the age is being prepared for the 2020 Kansas legislative session, which starts in January. The proposal coincides with increasing efforts by education and health...

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Officials brief State Board of Education on Suspicious Activity Reporting system

State officials Tuesday provided details on the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) system to report anonymously possible safety issues. The briefing to the State Board of Education was made as schools across the state start a new school year. Safety officials have been working to create one repository to analyze possible threat information. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has been working with the Kansas Highway Patrol, which responds to the Kansas School Safety Hotline, to copy information they receive and upload it to SAR. New posters will be provided to school districts that include the Kansas School Safety hotline (1-800-626-8203); the Parent and...

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Inaugural Advanced Advocacy Training Institute class announced

Ten education leaders have been selected to take a deep dive into the world of public school advocacy in KASB’s inaugural class of the Advanced Advocacy Training Institute.   “We are excited to have such a diverse group of individuals that bring a wide range of knowledge and expertise to the first year of the program,” said Rob Gilligan, KASB’s Government Relations Specialist.  The AATI will focus on public education advocacy. Advocacy for education doesn’t just happen at the Statehouse in Topeka. It is a local issue, and each community needs champions - both within the public education system and outside of...

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Court order on transgender bathrooms may increase requests

A recent federal court order against a Virginia school district may increase requests from parents of transgender students for access to restrooms corresponding to the student’s gender identity. The ruling said the Gloucester County School Board’s transgender bathroom ban against a former student violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and Title IX, which is the federal policy that protects against gender-based discrimination. The board’s policy had required, Gavin Grimm, a transgender male who has since graduated high school, to use girls’ restrooms or private restrooms. The court also ordered the school board to update Grimm’s official school transcript to identify...

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School security, vaping on State Board of Education’s agenda

As a new school year starts across Kansas, the State Board of Education on Tuesday will receive updates on school security and student use of e-cigarettes. Here is a link to the board’s agenda and background materials. E-cigarette use increased 48 percent among middle school students and 78 percent among high school students between 2017 and 2018, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Currently, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students across the United States used e-cigarettes in 2018. These increases have led the Surgeon General and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human...

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As school starts, some Hispanic students, parents on edge

A racially motivated mass shooting in Texas and a mammoth immigration sweep in Mississippi have some Latino students and their parents in Kansas on edge as a new school year begins. Adriana Holguin, a migrant education program advocate at the Southwest Plains Regional Center in Sublette, said one mother of a migrant family told her that the family prays each day that they will be together at the end of the day “because at this point you are never sure about another tomorrow.” Patrick Crusius, who was charged in the Walmart shooting in El Paso, Texas that left 22 dead, confessed...

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Leadership teams go to school at KASB workshop

More than 25 current or soon-to-be school board presidents, their clerks and superintendents went to school Thursday at KASB’s Board Presidents and Leadership Teams workshop in Topeka.  KASB Leadership Services staff Dr. Doug Moeckel and Sue Givens worked with the board leaders on developing a positive board culture, building a leadership team, chairing meetings, developing the all-important meeting agenda, and handling disagreements and difficult situations.   The teams learned not only from Moeckel and Givens; they also had time to share local successes and challenges with each other for additional insights.   “I recommend this workshop for folks in new leadership positions or seasoned...

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State and national experts on tap for IDEA workshops

State and national experts on special education advocacy and practice will present at KASB’s IDEA workshops later this month. Click here to register.   The workshops are on Aug. 27 in Topeka; Aug. 28 in Dodge City and Aug. 29 in Salina. Each workshop will feature regional special education experts and KASB General Counsel and Assistant Executive Director of Policy Donna Whiteman. National School Boards Association Chief Advocacy Officer Chip Slaven will join KASB Advocacy staff Leah Fliter and Rob Gilligan and NSBA Western Region Director Frank Henderson of the Seaman USD 345 Board of Education to brief attendees on the...

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Application deadline today for KASB’s new Advanced Advocacy Training Institute

The application deadline for the first KASB Advanced Advocacy Training Institute (AATI) is fast approaching, and interested parties are encouraged to send their completed applications soon.   Designed to put a greater focus on developing a network of public education advocates throughout Kansas, the AATI Program will give participants added skills and training in effectively supporting our K-12 system.    The program begins at the end of August with a training session on federal Issues that will include support from NSBA Chief Lobbyist, Chip Slaven. In October, KASB Prestige Partner Piper Jafray will host a visit to USD 266 Maize where we will...

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