KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

How school funding changes compare to inflation, enrollment and educational attainment

Each year at this time the Kansas State Department of Education releases updated budget information for school districts. That often produces questions and comments from school leaders, legislators and other organizations. People are interested in how much funding has changed, especially after increased state funding over the past two years. Unfortunately, some of that information can be quite confusing without a fuller context. Here is a closer look and explanation of some key points. School leaders may want to use this information to explain school funding trends statewide, and for their districts. Here are the highlights: Schooling funding is complicated,...

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Despite critical needs, Kansas families lack early childhood support when they need it most

State leaders, experts and advocates for early childhood met in Wichita in early October for a symposium convened by Governor Laura Kelly and a forum conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures. It is part of a process to create a new vision for early childhood Kansas. Here are key points from speakers at those meetings, a state needs assessment conducted by four state agencies and research by KASB. Kansas needs to raise the education levels of its workforce and the biggest challenge to higher educational attainment is the unequal conditions students face outside of school. Educational differences...

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State Board of Education at 50: Five decades of change and progress in Kansas public education

The Kansas State Board of Education is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. Voters amended the Kansas Constitution to give the board responsibility for “general supervision” of public education and to provide “intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement.” The same amendment put the responsibility of elected local boards to manage schools in the state constitution. It’s a good time to reflect on how things have changed over those five decades. The typical Kansas classroom today is vastly different today than in 1969. The student population is more diverse, expectations are higher and societal challenges are more complex. At the same time,...

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National school choice report shows traditional public schools perform as well as charter schools; more students in public schools of choice; public and private schools have different students

  School choice has been a controversial topic in public education for decades. One side, visibly represented by current U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, has argued that policies giving parents more choices where to send their children to school will improve education through competition and individualization. The other side argues that these plans will drain public funding from schools serving all students to support schools that can pick their enrollment. A new report from Secretary DeVos’ own Department of Education provides new insights. Some key findings include: Students in public charter schools performed no different than traditional public school students on...

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Kansas ranks high in national survey of best states for teachers

Although Kansas school leaders have expressed deep concerns about their ability to attract and retain quality teachers and other staff, a new report says Kansas has many features that should make it attractive to teachers. It remains to be seen if those factors will make a difference. The financial advice website WalletHub regularly ranks states on various factors, including school system quality. A new report on the Best and Worse States for Teachers ranked Kansas 13th overall. That puts Kansas ahead of neighboring states such as Iowa (18th), Nebraska (26th), Missouri (39th), Colorado (40th) and Oklahoma (45th). In the Plains...

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