Federal Issues

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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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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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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Department of Homeland Security hosts discussion on school security 

The Department of Homeland Security held an initial roundtable discussion last week about the development of a federal clearinghouse to share best practices regarding school security. The clearinghouse was a recommendation from the school safety commission to “assess, identify, and share best practices related to school security measures, technologies, and innovations.” These topics were recently the focus of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing. With states like Florida implementing new data systems designed to prevent school violence, NSBA is urging members to be actively involved in state and local discussions about this topic, so that decision-makers...

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KASB Summer Regional Roundtables continue this week in McPherson, Greenbush, Haysville, Topeka and Olathe

Hot education topics ranging from student safety to school redesign are among those being discussed at KASB Summer Regional Roundtable meetings that continue this week. Meetings will be held Tuesday in McPherson and Greenbush; Wednesday in Haysville and Topeka and Thursday in Olathe. At meetings last week in Stafford, Hiawatha and Colby, school board members and other leaders discussed challenges and opportunities for the upcoming school year. In addition to student safety and redesign, the topics focused on were legislative priorities, the 2020 Census and local issues. For more information and to register online go to www.kasb.org and click on the specific...

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Grant opportunity for education technology for students with disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services is taking grant applications for the “Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities – National Center on Accessible Educational Materials for Learning” program. The purposes of this program are to: “(1) improve results for children with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom for children with disabilities; (3) provide support for captioning and video description that is appropriate for use in the classroom; and (4) provide accessible educational materials...

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August is Breastfeeding Month. KASB has suggested policies for Boards

Gov. Laura Kelly proclaimed August 1-7 as Breastfeeding Week and August as National Breastfeeding Month this morning at the Kansas Statehouse.   The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc. is comprised of individuals from a wide variety of organizations, agencies and private businesses that promote breastfeeding in Kansas.     While school boards are not required to have policy language regarding the accommodation of staff who are nursing mothers, federal law requires accommodations to be made in certain circumstances.  KASB’s Legal and Policy staff worked with the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition in 2017 to develop policy that local school boards can adopt to assist staff members who...

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KASB and NSBA oppose federal ERate cap

In comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National School Boards Association said it opposes the agency’s proposal to limit funds that help pay for broadband internet service for schools and hospitals. NSBA cites nationwide disapproval by KASB and other state associations in its filing. The FCC wants to establish an overall cap on the USF, which is funded through fees on phone bills, and caps on the subsidiary E-Rate and Rural Health Care programs. The FCC is calling for comments on the proposal, which would force the four programs funded under USF, including E-Rate, to battle each...

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