State Board of Ed

Legislation aimed at reducing youth vaping almost ready

Health and education advocates say they are close to unveiling state legislation that would increase the minimum age in Kansas to purchase tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, from 18 to 21. Similar laws — called Tobacco 21 — have been passed in 18 states and Washington D.C. Sarah Prem, advocacy specialist with the Kansas and Greater Kansas City American Lung Association, said tobacco-free groups are refining the legislation, recruiting sponsors and planning an education and communication campaign. “We want to construct that big tent,” she said. The 2020 legislative session starts in January. The proposed legislation has picked up momentum in recent months...

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Dyslexia recommendations before State Board of Education

A wide range of recommendations are before the State Board of Education to address students with dyslexia. “We are already doing a lot of good things; we just have to be more strategic,” State Board Chairwoman Kathy Busch said. Several other board members said the proposed changes are substantial, will require more work for educators and additional funding but are necessary. “We have to catch kids before they fail,” Board member Jim Porter said. The recommendations were recently outlined by Cindy Hadicke, who is an education program consultant at the Kansas State Department of Education and chaired a committee that evaluated the work...

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State has numerous initiatives aimed at helping student mental health

State officials are working on several fronts to address the mental health needs of Kansas students. More than 1,700 students received help last year through the school Mental Health Intervention Program. Most of those students showed improvements in attendance, behavior and academics, Diane Gjerstad, who has been helping with implementation of the program, told the School Mental Health Advisory Council on Thursday. The program initially included nine school districts in partnership with Community Mental Health Centers. But it has since been expanded with a second year of funding from the Legislature to 180 schools in 32 districts. The council also received an update...

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Proposal to replace state assessments with ACT shelved for now

A proposal by Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson to use the ACT or ACT Workkeys as a replacement test for the high school state assessment was put on hold Wednesday. In August, Watson unveiled 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 and the science test in 11th grade. Watson said he would gather input on the proposal before making a recommendation. He surveyed school superintendents, state assessment advisors, special education directors and curriculum directors. He found generally more support than non-support but also...

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Kansas teacher vacancies increase 27 percent over last fall

Teacher vacancies in Kansas increased by 27 percent over this time last year, according to figures given Tuesday to the State Board of Education. There were 815 vacancies reported currently, compared with 642 last fall. There were 550 last spring. The largest number of vacancies have been in special education — 186 this year and 158 last fall, followed by elementary — 115 this year and 113 last fall. Science, English Language Arts and math round out the top five groups of vacancies. Teaching licenses for new Kansas graduates and out-of-state applicants has steadily decreased over the past six years. In 2014,...

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50 years ago, Kansans set up the State Board of Education

In the early days of the Kansas State Board of Education, board members raced to get up to speed on public education issues and were quickly immersed in the politics of the day, according to news articles and minutes of board meetings from the late 1960s. This year represents the 50th anniversary of the board’s existence.   On Nov. 8, 1966, Kansas voters approved a constitutional amendment on education that essentially modernized the state’s education system into what we know today.   The change created an elected State Board of Education, instead of one appointed by the governor, and replaced the Kansas State...

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State Board of Education combines busy agenda with 50th anniversary

At this month’s State Board of Education meeting, the board will observe its 50th anniversary with a history lesson and reception while also conducting business as it has for the past half-century — meeting, discussing and making decisions on a broad range of education policy issues. The State Board meets Tuesday and Wednesday; here is a link to the agenda. Mary Madden, museum and education division director for the Kansas State Historical Society, will present a summary of the State Board’s origins. Following her presentation, there will be a reception to celebrate the anniversary and citizen leadership in public education. The first...

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Key points on education: New resources plus redesigned schools equal student success, supporting a stronger Kansas

KASB is often asked to share key points about education issues. With school board and other local elections this fall and the 2020 Legislative session three months away, here are some ideas to consider for sharing.  The big question school leaders are going to have to answer is: What are you (school districts) doing with the billion-plus dollars you got from the Legislature? That’s the estimated total increase in base aid, local option budget funding and special education from 2017 to 2023, when the response to the Gannon lawsuit is fully implemented. And, it doesn’t include increased funding for KPERS,...

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Kansas Anti-Bullying Awareness Week

Kansans are being asked to “Choose Peace” as part of Anti-Bullying Awareness Week, which runs from Monday through Sunday. About one in five students report being bullied, according to a national report. In the latest Kansas Communities That Care survey, which is taken voluntarily, 28.6 percent of sixth-graders said they were bullied at school at least once; 27.4 percent of eighth-graders; 23.1 percent of 10th-graders and 19.6 percent of 12th-graders. A Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying is studying ways to reduce bullying and will provide a report to the State Board of Education in December. Kansas teens are being asked to share...

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October issue of KASB School Board Review is available

Articles on education equity, the effect of social media on our students, the school bond environment, KASB’s upcoming annual conference and more are featured in the October issue of School Board Review, which is available online here. This month’s publication includes the final installment of KASB Associate Executive Director of Advocacy and Communications Mark Tallman’s analysis of equity in student success. KASB Executive Director John Heim writes about how young people today face challenges their parents didn’t — namely that their exploits are recorded forever in the digital world. KASB’s Rob Gilligan, government relations specialist, analyzes opportunities to reinvest in school...

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