KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

What changes in university admission standards could mean for Kansas students and schools

The Kansas State Board of Regents has approved the biggest changes for admission to Kansas state universities in years, if not decades. The change could expand opportunity and flexibility, but without attention could also result in more students struggling to succeed in college. From the first part of the 20th century until the mid-1990s, Kansas law provided “open admissions” for all state universities. Any student who graduated from an accredited Kansas high school was entitled to admission to the freshman class at the University of Kansas, Kansas State, Wichita State, Emporia State, Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State Universities. State and...

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Experts explain impact of youth bullying; steps schools can take to address

Bullying among school-aged children isn’t just about hurt feelings and even occasional bruises, say experts: it can lower academic achievement and have long-term mental health consequences. It is being aggravated by social media. But there are steps schools take to reduce harmful effects on the victims, aggressors and by-standers. That’s the message experts are sharing the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying created by Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson, which is meeting through December to research and identify current bullying trends, data, and prevention measures occurring across the state in an effort to better understand how to combat this problem. Dr....

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Equity in Student Success – Part 3: Legislative Post Audit Studying At-Risk Funding

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. Part 2 showed 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. This part reports how Legislative auditors are studying that system of extra funding to school districts to help students at risk of poor academic performance or dropping out of school. The...

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Increasing student needs drive special education costs and staff shortage

Rising numbers of young children with severe behavioral, emotional and mental health needs and speech and language issues are driving up school district costs and worsening an already critical shortage of qualified staff and services. That was the assessment of education leaders at three KASB workshops on the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act held in Topeka, Dodge City and Salina at the end of August. Chip Slaven, Chief Advocacy Officers for the National School Boards Association, spoke at the workshops on NSBA’s push to update and fully fund IDEA. He said Congress is considering “reauthorizing” – a review that can...

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Report says broadband access improvements needed for education, opportunity and economic development 

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas warns that unequal broadband access for low income and rural communities creates disparities in education, opportunity and economic development, and indicates that government and community agencies will have to take stronger action to address these issues.  The report comes as a task force established by the Kansas Legislature is studying the issue. It also supports investments Kansas schools have made in student technology, such as one-to-one computers or tables, to teach digital skills.  According to the report, just 53 percent of adults with incomes less than $30,000 have broadband at home, compared with 95 percent of those with incomes above $75,000.  Nearly 68 percent of those without broadband...

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