KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

New studies show positive impact of increased funding on education outcomes

During the recent Kansas debate over a school funding, a common question was whether more money will improve student results. Kansas courts have essentially agreed it does, based on multiple Kansas cost studies, evidence at trial, and past results. There is growing evidence from national researchers to back up the link between funding and student success. A new post from Chalkbeat cites four more recent national studies suggesting Kansas can be optimistic that additional funding will improve achievement, especially among lower income students who have more serious barriers to success (as discussed in this previous post). Daniel Kreisman and Matthew P....

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Equity in Student Success – Part 2: How Kansas funds extra support for at-risk students

As noted in Part 1 of this series, students from lower income families (eligible for free or reduced-price meals) score much lower on reading and math tests and have lower graduation rates than higher income students. This part shows how the state school finance formula provides additional funding for students based on the number of low-income students, but districts use that funding to help any at-risk students, regardless of income. Current at-risk funding is based on the number of lower income students, but the students actually receiving services are identified mostly based on academic factors. The Kansas school finance formula provides...

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Back to school highlights: more excitement than usual this year

As nearly half a million Kansas public school students return to class for 2019-20, here are some highlights of a new school year. Higher goals for students. Nearly 90 percent of students now graduate from high school “on time” in four years. That is the highest rate ever, and graduation requirements are higher than ever before. However, over 70 percent of future jobs are expected to require more than a high school diploma alone. Kansas employers already report shortages of qualified workers in many areas. To increase the number of students going on to successful complete postsecondary training, schools are working...

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Annual PDK survey of public attitudes on education underscore Kansas issues

The 51st annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Towards the Public Schools was released this week. While the results are drawn from national surveys and may not reflect Kansas sentiments, the survey offers a guide to possible attitudes on current topics in Kansas. Here are some of the highlights of the report. Teachers feel underpaid, undervalued, frustrated with the profession and half have considered leaving it. Over half say they would consider going on strike. Big majorities of all adults say they would support teachers striking for higher pay or to have a greater voice in academic policies. Kansas: Perhaps...

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Striving for a giant leap in education

Fifty years after Apollo 11 made that giant leap to the moon, Kansas education leaders are seeking an equally audacious goal: transforming public schools to dramatically boost student success. Two years after the Kansas State Board of Education began the Kansans Can “Moonshot” school redesign program, over 250 educators from 19 districts and 41 schools met at the KASB office in Topeka this week as part of the “Apollo” group. The mission is to design new ways of operating schools, so Kansas leads the world in the success of each student. The message from KASB Leadership Services Field Representative Dr. Doug...

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Great day in Goddard: inspiration, education and validation we are on the right track

I was invited to speak on K-12 education issues and trends at the Goddard USD 265 Educational Retreat on July 31. I was honored and asked if I could sit in on the morning session: discussion on the district’s emerging strategic plan for the next five years. It turned out to be one of the best days of the summer: inspirational as an advocate for public education; educational from what l learned from other participants; and validating a message of how new resources and school redesign can support measurable changes in student success for a stronger Kansas. Let’s take each in...

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Equity in Student Success – Part 1: Impact of student and family income

Equity in Student Success: Closing the Gaps  Differences in academic success among Kansas student groups are receiving attention this year.  In the Gannon school finance lawsuit, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Kansas school finance was not constitutionally adequate because too many students were not meeting state standards, and those students were disproportionately poor, non-white or disabled. The court approved a multi-year funding plan passed by the Legislature to address those students, shifting the focus to how schools are using those funds to improve results.  The State Board of Education’s “Kansas Can” goals are centered on getting more students to complete high school and go on to earn a postsecondary credential to meet the state’s economic needs and earn a higher standard of living. Many students are at-risk of failing...

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Formula for a stronger Kansas: New Resources plus Redesigned Schools equals Student Success

As July turns into August, Kansas school districts will be in the spotlight. Educators return to work; school resumes for half a million Kansas students; and school boards hold public hearings and adopt budgets for the new school year. These are opportunities for school leaders to talk to their friends, neighbors and constituencies about important directions in Kansas education. KASB is suggesting some ways you can communicate about your budget, changes in your schools, goals and measures of progress, and our ultimate purpose: a better, stronger Kansas. Here is a simple formula: New Resources, plus Redesigned Schools, equals Student Success, equals...

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New national report offers ideas on scope and impact of bullying in school

As a state task force on bullying in Kansas schools studies the issue this summer and fall, a new national report offers insight into some aspects of the problem. The report released by the U.S. Department of Education, is drawn from student responses reported in the 2019 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Some caveats: the data is national, so is not necessarily representative of Kansas; and in some cases the results are questionable because of the low number or responses from certain groups. The report was limited to students age 12 to 18. Highlights are listed...

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New reports provide updated picture of school funding and state budget after Gannon increases

New state and federal reports have allowed KASB to update long-term trends in Kansas school funding, including action by the 2019 Legislature to address the Gannon school finance lawsuit, which was accepted by the Kansas Supreme Court. Here are the key points. Most of the increase in school funding approved in response to the Gannon lawsuit will only replace purchasing power lost to inflation since 2009. Since 2009, Kansas K-12 funding per pupil has fallen behind the national average. Additional funding may help close that gap, but U.S. data lags several years behind. After increased funding to address the...

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