Teacher Issues

Legislators ask, schools answer: #FundingHelpsStudents

For the first time in eight years, Meade USD 226 will have summer school to help struggling students.  The district of approximately 400 students in southwestern Kansas has also expanded pre-school, improved its ability to address the social and emotional needs of young people and added a Career Academy to help students better prepare for life after graduation.  Meade’s efforts are an example of how public schools across Kansas have used recent increases in K-12 funds from the Legislature to drive student success after years of funding that trailed inflation, causing schools to pullback on many initiatives.  Last week, KASB and USA-Kansas [...]

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Numerous education bills to be heard, voted on this week

It is important for school leaders to try to stay up to date on happenings in the Legislature this week as House and Senate committees will be busy voting on and hearing numerous education bills and schedules could change on a moment’s notice.  On Monday, the Senate Education Committee will consider SB 47, which would create the student opportunity scholarship program. This would grant students who graduate a year early a scholarship equal to 95 percent of base aid that would be paid to the postsecondary institution the student attends. The committee has scheduled final action on the measure Wednesday. [...]

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KASB’s Daily Education Roundup for Tue. Jan. 29

While the Kansas Teacher of the Year team on Tuesday briefed legislators on what is going on in the classroom, a special committee was considering a bill that would cut taxes by $191.6 million in the next fiscal year, with most of that tax break going to corporations. SB 22, which is before the Senate Select Committee on Federal Tax Code Implementation, would allow Kansans to itemize their state tax deductions even if they don’t itemize on their federal taxes. But it would also lower some business taxes. Of the $191.6 million tax cut, $137.2 million would go to corporations [...]

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Dyslexia task force puts together set of recommendations

The Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia has put together a set of wide-ranging recommendations aimed at helping educators help students who are struggling in reading.  The proposals, finalized Thursday, will now go to the State Board of Education on Tuesday and then later to House and Senate education committees for review.  A pricetag wasn’t put on the recommendations, but task force members said they would like to keep the group going for the next several years to monitor progress and implementation. The task force tabbed the State Board of Education for putting the proposals into motion with funding approved by the [...]

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Experts on trauma-informed schools will lead breakout sessions during Advocacy in Action Conference

Two experts on trauma-informed teaching will lead breakout sessions during the Advocacy in Action Conference this month in Topeka.  The conference, a joint effort of KASB and United School Administrators of Kansas, will be held Wednesday and Thursday Jan. 16-17 at the Maner Conference Center in Topeka. To register, go here.   Dr. Marcia Weseman and Susan Pinne, both with the Crittenton Children’s Center at Saint Luke’s Hospital, will offer information on trauma-informed schools on Thursday, Jan. 17. Pinne is director of Trauma Smart at Crittenton Children’s Center and Weseman is a Trauma Smart trainer.  Sessions at 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. [...]

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Teachers in botched program may have loans forgiven

National Public Radio is reporting that the federal Department of Education may erase some loan debt incurred by teachers who’ve participated in the ten-year-old Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) program. TEACH grants were designed to encourage educators to teach certain high-need subjects in low-income schools for a four-year block of time within their first eight years after college graduation. The grants pay up to $4,000 per year for college or graduate school for the aspiring teachers. The high-need fields are: bilingual education and English language acquisition, foreign language, mathematics, reading specialist, science, and special education, as well as any other field that has [...]

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SBR: Relationships, Relationships, Relationships The new three ‘Rs’ to keep students safe

By Scott Rothschild, srothschild@kasb.org There’s a new three `Rs’ in school – relationships, relationships, relationships. That’s what Kansas education leaders say is needed to make their students safer as fears increase with each school shooting. In meetings across the state in September and October, hundreds of school board members and school administrators discussed what they are doing and what more they need to do to ensure that students can function and learn in a safe environment. In addition to “hardening” facilities, educators are trying to reach all children and make them feel welcome and important. “Districts all over the state are grappling with this [...]

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SBR: Task force works on suicide prevention

By Rob Gilligan, rgilligan@kasb.org In June, The Tower Mental Health Foundation and Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced the formation of a joint task force to survey efforts under way in Kansas to reduce the incidence of youth suicide and recommend by year’s end further steps that could be taken. The attorney general asked the task force to focus on three specific tasks and to produce a report by the end of the year. Those areas are: Surveying ongoing local and state efforts to combat youth suicide through the State of Kansas. Reviewing the Safe2Tell phone application and similar methods aimed at increasing communication [...]

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SBR: Employee Benefit Solutions earning high marks for efficiency, convenience, service

By Scott Rothschild, srothschild@kasb.org KASB’s newest service to help school districts has been up and running for nearly a year, and the reviews have been outstanding — earning high marks for efficiency, convenience and service. “I am very happy with the way that KASB Employee Benefit Solutions is working for our district,” said Debbie Walburn, treasurer for Silver Lake USD 372. Employee Benefit Solutions, which is offered by KASB Risk Management, is a technology-based service that improves management of both employer-sponsored benefits and voluntary benefits. EBS streamlines the annual job of selecting benefits. We spent the better part of 2017 researching, conducting user [...]

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Education leaders urge school districts to increase teacher pay

Education leaders Tuesday urged school districts to use the new five-year $500 million school finance law to give their teachers pay raises. “If you don’t do that, your neighbors are going to borrow them and not return them,” said Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis. Average teacher pay in Kansas ranks 42nd in the nation. Dennis and Education Commissioner Randy Watson told the State Board of Education that most districts are granting teacher pay raises in the three percent to six percent range. Last session, the Legislature approved increasing K-12 funding by $500 million over five years and the Kansas Supreme Court ruled inflation [...]

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