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State Board members express concern over teacher vacancies

Kansas State Board of Education members Tuesday expressed concerns about teacher vacancies in Kansas, especially in elementary schools and special education. There are 90 teacher vacancies in elementary schools across Kansas and 82 in special education, according to fall data released by the Kansas State Department of Education. Board Member Janet Waugh of Kansas City said the figures were “heartbreaking.” In addition, 461 teachers left the profession last year, a number that has been steadily climbing over at least the past four years. A Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee has recommended pilot programs for alternative elementary and special education teacher licensing, but KSDE’s...

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KASB report comparing Kansas student achievement, funding to other states to be released Thursday

KASB will release a new report on how Kansas compares to other states on student achievement, K-12 funding and allocation of resources at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.  The report will be presented by KASB Associate Executive Director Mark Tallman and Research Specialist Ted Carter via a YouTube Live stream from the KASB office. Media and others can ask questions via chat, or in person at the KASB office, 1420 SW Arrowhead in Topeka. Both Tallman and Carter will be available for phone interviews after the presentation.  The report will focus on two major trends: Kansas education measures, while still high overall, have...

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Public schools offer wide array of choice for students

The National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education on Tuesday released a research report it says “busts the myth” that America’s public schools don’t offer choices to students. The report was released at a Capitol Hill briefing that featured the Wichita USD 259 school district’s magnet schools program.  NSBA says school choice advocates often accuse public schools of delivering a “one size fits all” education that doesn’t serve students well. Giving parents the ability to choose a school, critics say, will foster competition that will produce more variety and result in better options for students. The truth, NSBA says,...

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KASB today will report live from D.C. Busting the Myth school choice event

KASB today will report live from a Congressional briefing featuring the USD 259 Wichita Public Schools’ magnet programs.    The National School Boards Association is sponsoring “Our Public Schools: Expanding the Horizon of Educational Choice”  at 10 a.m. Central at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The event will highlight successful public-school choice initiatives in Wichita; Richland District 2, South Carolina; and Hazen Union High School, Hardwick, Vermont.    Terrell Davis, Executive Director of Public Affairs and Special Projects, Wichita Public Schools, will represent USD 259.    Davis will discuss how the state’s largest school district offers choice to the district’s diverse student population...

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Numerous school issues under study; KASB seeks input from education advocates

While the biggest issue that could develop this fall for the 2018 Legislature is the Kansas Supreme Court decision on the Gannon school finance case, there are a number of other issues being studied by legislative committees, the State Board of Education and other groups that could have a major impact on school district operations, programs and governance.  KASB has prepared a document --Tracking Major K-12 Education Issues -- listing these issues that will be updated regularly with new developments. KASB has also prepared a Legislative Issues Feedback Survey for members to provide input on these efforts. A webinar by...

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Lawrence’s Kimball nominated as candidate for KASB president-elect designee

Shannon Kimball, a member of the Lawrence USD 497 school board, has been endorsed by the KASB Nominating Committee as a candidate for president-elect designee for KASB.  The Nominating Committee met Saturday to interview Kimball. The committee presents to the KASB Delegate Assembly one or more qualified candidates for the office each year. A voter’s guide, which serves as the KASB Nominating Committee Report, will be distributed at the KASB Fall Regional Meetings and will be available online. It will also be mailed prior to the annual conference along with other delegate assembly materials to all board presidents, superintendents and...

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NSBA webinar on Wednesday on getting your voice heard in Congress

NSBA is offering a webinar at 1 p.m. Wednesday that will provide tips and tools to help local school board members and others advocate as the 115th Congress wraps up this legislative year.  The "Back in School: Back in Session" webinar is being held with the Congressional Management Foundation, which educates citizen groups on how Congress works, giving constituents a stronger voice in policy outcomes.   Register Here.   

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Renewal of Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) urged

Health advocates want Kansans to contact their congressional representatives to urge them to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) before it expires at the end of the month.  Nearly 40,000 Kansas children are covered by CHIP and cutting this program would cut their health insurance, the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas reports.  CHIP offers free or low-cost health coverage for children from working families. Since CHIP’s enactment in 1997, the percentage of uninsured children in the U.S. dropped from 13.9 percent to 4.5 percent in 2015.  U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, serves on the Senate Finance Committee, which is working on...

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State Board to receive numerous updates during September meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday

The Kansas State Board of Education will receive updates on several K-12 initiatives during its monthly meeting Tuesday and Wednesday.  The State Board agenda and meeting materials can be found here and the meeting is streamed live here.    Board members will hear updates on the School Mental Health Advisory Council, teacher vacancies, the transition to college algebra program and from the Kansas Board of Regents.   In addition, the board will get a report on the state’s consolidated plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act. Here is a link to an analysis of the plan. Here is a link to the full...

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KASB webinar at 12:30 p.m. Monday on tracking Kansas’ major K-12 education issues

KASB Associate Executive Director Mark Tallman will conduct a webinar at 12:30 p.m. Monday to highlight education issues of interest to public school advocates.  To watch and participate in the webinar, go to KASB Newsmakers. Here is a link to the “Tracking Major K-12 Education Issues, Fall 2017” document that Tallman will review during the webinar and update as developments occur.  Some of the major items up for study by interim legislative committees and other panels include the new school finance law, how school districts purchase goods and services and employee health insurance. There also is a task force studying the...

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