Governor’s Education Council delivers recommendations

Gov. Laura Kelly’s Council on Education on Thursday delivered recommendations aimed at improving the alignment between the Kansas education system and the state’s workforce needs.

Receiving the council’s report at KASB headquarters, Kelly said the recommendations “set a path forward in education from birth to the end of life.”

Kelly said she wanted to have further conversations on the recommendations, adding, “Everyone of you saw this as the beginning and not the end.”

The council included dozens of members representing a wide range of interests in education, government and the private sector. Many of the recommendations were aimed at ensuring Kansas students succeeded in getting postsecondary education, whether a technical certificate or college degree.

The council’s major recommendations include:

— Establishing a statewide public-private partnership to match philanthropic and private funds with state and federal resources in order to support community-informed and identified approaches to equitably meet the needs of Kansas children and families.

— Designating the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund to coordinate the Kansas Early Childhood Advisory Council to work on equitable access to programs serving children from birth to age eight. Federal law requires such a council and Kansas hasn’t had one since 2014. Supporters say this will help streamline a fragmented system of early childhood programs.

— Establishing a Work-Based Learning Coordinating Council to implement a comprehensive approach focused on identification of market value assets or skills and credentials sought by industry; develop and disseminate best practices, guidelines, procedures and protocols for implementation of work-based learning, inclusive of market value assets; identify strategies to address struggles and challenges; and measures progress on key outcomes.

— Implementing Real World Ready comprehensive policy approach that ensures Kansas students have equitable access to high quality work-based learning experiences designed to prepare each student for post-secondary and workforce success in high wage, high demand and critical need occupations in all regions of Kansas.

— Establishing the Advantage Kansas Coalition to implement a cross-agency and private sector strategic plan, focused on aligning education and training with the workforce/talent needs of business, industry and human services in the top eight industry sectors. Those sectors are health, education, manufacturing, construction, computer science, agriculture, energy and professional business services. The coalition would be led by secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce, President/CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents and President of Kansas Chamber.

The Education Council was established by Kelly through executive order and has been focused on improving schools, enhancing workforce development and stimulating economic growth. The Council is co-chaired by retired Kansas City USD 500 Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Lane and Dodge City USD 443 Superintendent Dr. Fred Dierksen.

KASB Executive Director Dr. John Heim, KASB past presidents Patrick Woods of the Topeka USD 501 board and Frank Henderson of the Seaman USD 345 board and Mary Sinclair, a member of the Shawnee Mission USD 512 board, the KASB Legislative Committee and president of the Kansas Parents Teachers Association, serve on the council.

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