State Board of Ed

Audit raises issues in at-risk funding; KSDE defends practices

The Kansas Legislative Post Audit Division released a report Monday criticizing the State Department of Education’s oversight and guidance of the state’s $413 million program to support academically at-risk students. KSDE strongly disagreed.  The audit is one of series of studies commissioned by the Kansas Legislature in response to the Gannon school finance case. At-risk funding is particularly important because a key part of the Gannon case was that too many Kansas students are failing to meet state academic standards.  In addition, the “high density” at-risk weighting factor, which accounts for about $50 million in at-risk aid targeted at districts with higher...

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State Board of Education taking up vaping regulations, anti-bullying recommendations

Two major challenges facing public schools will be worked on Tuesday by the State Board of Education. The State Board will act on recommendations from the E-Cigarette/Vaping Task Force and receive recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying. Here is a link to the board’s agenda and backup documents. The board meeting will be streamed live at this link. The vaping discussion is expected to start around 11:25 a.m. and the bullying discussion at 2:10 p.m. After the board meeting, KASB will conduct a video interview with the bullying task force co-chairs — Dr. Rick Ginsberg, dean of the College...

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Kansas Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying finalizes report

The Kansas Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying on Monday finalized its report, offering a wide range of recommendations aimed at helping schools reduce bullying. The report says schools should provide a safe and caring environment and that anti-bullying plans must address the differing needs of staff and students identified by sex, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religious faith and socio-economic status. The task force also recommends new resources of funding for more mental health workers in schools. The task force’s work will be presented to the State Board of Education on Dec. 10 and then later...

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Kansas youth trends show decrease in cigarette smoking but increase in vaping

The percentage of high school students who smoke cigarettes has dropped but the percentage who have used electronic vapor products, such as e-cigarettes, has increased dramatically, according to trend data in the 2019 Kansas Youth Risk Behavior Survey.  The results indicate that decades of warnings about the health dangers of cigarette smoking seem to have worked but that progress may be undermined by the rise in recent years of vaping.  In recent months, several deaths across the country, including Kansas, have been blamed, in part, on vaping and health officials are seeing a wave of young people becoming newly addicted to...

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Short-term student achievement levels show mixed results

Although Kansas long-term educational attainment (adult high school completion, postsecondary participation and four-year college degrees) has continued to increase, shorter term measures like grade-level assessments have been distinctly mixed.  Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson has been briefing the State Board of Education on these results, and with Board Chair Kathy Bush, recorded this video on performance results for KASB.  In brief: state reading and math assessments are basically flat for the past two years after several years of decline, but national tests of a sample of Kansas students are down. ACT college readiness scores are down, but more students are taking...

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KASB Live: Watson, Busch talk about Kansas test scores, other measurements

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson and State Board of Education Chairwoman Kathy Busch explained how Kansas analyzes multiple data points to determine how students are doing. The KASB Live interview with Mark Tallman, associate executive director advocacy and communications, can be seen here. “We are trying to look at the multiple pieces of data,” to determine if students are prepared to succeed after high school,” said Watson. “Test scores are important … but what you really have to do is look at multiple data points,” Busch said. Education officials are considering state assessments, ACT, SAT, Advanced Placement scores and the number of students...

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State Board of Education considering policy, possible ban on vaping

Kansas students couldn’t use, possess or promote any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, at school or at any school event, under a proposal before the State Board of Education. The measure would also ban visitors to schools, such as parents, volunteers and vendors, from using tobacco products or e-cigs. The State Board received the recommendation Tuesday from the E-Cigarette/Vaping Task Force as a policy that could be recommended to Kansas school districts. But several board members said they may want to make the proposal a requirement. The board will consider the measure next month. The proposal comes forward as officials have reported health...

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State Board approves wide-ranging policies on dyslexia

The State Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved policies aimed at improving the identification of students with dyslexia, providing them with better services and increasing teacher training. The wide-ranging measures follow more than 18 months of discussion by educators, advocates, psychologists and other stakeholders and will require more funding, although a specific amount wasn’t cited. Board member Jim Porter, who had led a task force on dyslexia, said the policies are needed and represent compromises. “This is a nationwide movement and we are slow to come to the table,” Porter said. Cynthia Hadicke, an education program consultant for the Kansas State...

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Vaping, dyslexia, legislative agenda on tap for State Board of Education meeting

The State Board of Education on Tuesday will receive recommendations on curbing e-cigarette use and improving ways to help students with dyslexia. Here is a link to the State Board’s agenda and background materials. The E-Cigarette/Vaping Task Force will provide a final draft on keeping tobacco and vaping products out of schools. The task force will also update the board on the Tobacco 21 initiative, which would increase the minimum age in Kansas to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21. The dyslexia recommendations are aimed at improving pre-service teacher programs, professional learning of teachers already in the classroom, screening...

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Bullying task force hears from students, counselors

High school students on Wednesday said a good way to reduce bullying in schools is for educators to make students feel worthwhile. The seven students from Lawrence High School and Free State High School told the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying Prevention that they frequently see bullying behavior at their schools and that it often goes unaddressed by teachers and administrators. And they said the bullying behavior is probably less physical than in past generations, but more socially-oriented with bullies manipulating and insulting students, especially on social media. When asked what educators can do to help stop bullying, the students said...

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