Federal Issues

State Board considering using ACT as required high school assessment, drop current tests

The Kansas State Board of Education may vote as early as next month to make the ACT a required statewide test for all high school juniors, replacing the current Kansas-developed math, language arts and science tests at 10th grade.  Commissioner Randy Watson has been presenting the proposal to education groups around the state, including the Council of Superintendents meeting in September. He and State Board members are seeking comments from education leaders. Here are some key points about the concept.  What is being considered?  For accountability purposes, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, like the previous No Child Left Behind Act, requires...

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New school safety bill to be heard this week in Congress

A Congressional committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on a new bill requiring the U.S. Secretary of Education to publish an annual report on school crime and safety that includes data on school shootings.   The House Education and Labor Committee will hear and possibly act on H.R. 4301, “The School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act,” sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Lucy McBath, D-Ga. and Jahana Hayes, D-Conn. Hayes is a former National Teacher of the Year; McBath lost a son to gun violence, and Gabbard is running for president of the United States. KASB will monitor the hearing.  The annual...

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The Census is important for Kansas schools

By Rob Gilligan  rgilligan@kasb.org  Every 10 years, the federal government through the efforts of the U.S. Census Bureau attempts to accurately count everyone living in the United States. This massive undertaking has taken place every decade since the first count held in 1790 and led by Thomas Jefferson. The information collected through the decennial census provides a wealth of knowledge and information, much of which is used by KASB in developing reports and information for our members.  While there are certainly countless applications of Census data in both academic and commercial research, there are four key functions of the Census that affect...

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KASB Regional Roundtable meetings will seek input from local school boards

School board members will have the opportunity at upcoming Fall Regional Roundtable meetings to share information with their peers while also providing valuable input that will guide KASB’s agenda in the 2020 legislative session.  The Fall meetings will be held in Stafford and Hiawatha on Sept. 24; Garden City and Topeka, Sept. 25; Colby and Olathe, Sept. 26; McPherson and Greenbush, Oct. 1 and Beloit and Haysville, Oct. 2. For more information, go to this link.    The meetings are structured in a way to encourage more interaction among board members while providing local advocates the opportunity to discuss issues with KASB...

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Workshops on school safety, legal training and Fall Regional Roundtables are coming up

Helping students stay safe and healthy and succeed will be a big part of upcoming KASB workshops.  Randy Weseman, assistant executive director for operations and leadership services at KASB, will conduct three sessions on making schools safer: “What Every Board Member Should Know About Safe and Secure Schools.” These meetings are Sept. 10 at McPherson; Sept. 11, Colby and Sept. 12, Olathe. During these sessions, board members will discuss what measures schools are taking and should be taking to keep their schools safe.  Weseman will provide up-to-date research on threat assessments and why schools should focus on opening lines of communication...

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September issue of School Board Review is out; focus on vaping

The September issue of the KASB School Board Review focuses on the alarming increase in the use of e-cigarettes by young Kansans and includes articles covering numerous other education issues. The issue, available here online and in the mail to school leaders, also includes columns by KASB President Shannon Kimball and Executive Director John Heim. In addition, Mark Tallman, KASB’s associate executive director of advocacy and communications, provides further analysis of the achievement gap in the second installment of a three-part series. SBR also includes coverage of KASB’s Board of Directors, Legislative Committee and Workers Compensation Committee; KASB Annual Survey data;...

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At KASB workshop, national school board advocate reports on funding, special education battles in D.C.

The head of NSBA’s advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. said Thursday there is bipartisan support in Congress to phase in fully funding special education at the federal level but that education funding in general has been caught in some political tangles. Chip Slaven, the chief advocacy officer for the National School Boards Association, was in Kansas this week, speaking at KASB-held events in Topeka, Dodge City and Salina. A portion of each session was devoted to discussing efforts in Congress to modernize and fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). When first enacted in the 1970s, Congress promised to...

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Upcoming KASB workshops on safety, legal training

Helping students stay safe and healthy and succeed will be a big part of upcoming KASB workshops.  For more information on KASB learning opportunities, go here and click on upcoming events. Randy Weseman, assistant executive director for operations and leadership services at KASB, will conduct three sessions on making schools safer: “What Every Board Member Should Know About Safe and Secure Schools.” These meetings are Tue. Sept. 10 in McPherson; Wed. Sept. 11, Colby and Thur. Sept. 12, Olathe. During these sessions, board members will discuss what measures schools are taking and should be taking to keep their schools safe.  Weseman will...

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KASB workshops on IDEA; Special education by the numbers

The National School Boards Association is leading an effort to review and revise the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), called “It’s Time for A Great IDEA.” KASB is conducting three workshops on IDEA, special education in Kansas schools and the 2020 U.S. Census. The first one was in Topeka on Tuesday; the second one is today in Dodge City and then Salina on Thursday. Here are some facts about special education in Kansas.  Enrollment  Nearly one in six Kansas students receive special education services. The number of Kansas students receiving services under the IDEA is growing much faster than overall...

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Numerous education issues tackled at KASB Board, Legislative Committee and Workers Comp meetings

School board leaders from across Kansas tackled numerous education issues Saturday during the KASB Board, Legislative Committee and Workers Compensation Board of Trustees meetings.  The Board of Directors was joined by the Legislative Committee for an advocacy and communications update and discussion of anticipated topics for the 2020 legislative session. The Legislative Committee then met separately to start work on KASB’s advocacy positions.  The balance of the Board of Directors meeting included reports from staff on results from the Summer 2019 Regional Roundtable discussions, the agenda for upcoming Fall Regional Roundtable meetings and a review of the new KASB Pathways and...

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