Work of two students reflected in Governor’s Education Council report

Two students who served on the Gov. Jeff Colyer’s Education Council said if educators could do one thing to help students it would be to de-emphasize the importance of the ACT score to get into college.

Alexis Gaudreau, a senior at Topeka West High School, said she has a 4.0 GPA and participates in numerous extracurricular activities. But she has test anxiety and doesn’t do well on high-stakes tests, such as the ACT.

That has hurt her ability to get scholarships, she said, as she plans to pursue a college degree.

Max Glaze, a senior at Maize High School, surveyed 50 students to see what was on their minds.

He said three-fourths of the students he surveyed said that ACT should not be used as the standard to judge a student’s abilities. Glaze said students told him they should be measured by their grades, what classes they took and whether they took double credit classes.

Gaudreau and Glaze also told the Education Council about problems some students have in paying for expenses associated with career and technical education programs.

The state’s CTE efforts, which allows for state-financed tuition for high school students, was bolstered with additional funding in 2012 and has grown rapidly. Student headcount has increased from 3,475 students in 2010-11 to 11,690 students in 2017-18 while college credits earned increased to over 92,000 compared to 28,000 before 2012.

The council acknowledged the inconsistency in fees across the state for program costs, such as tools, kits, uniforms and other expenses. Some of these costs are preventing students from taking the classes, council members said. Among its major recommendations, the council has said the Kansas Board of Regents needs to study the CTE program and propose changes to the 2019 Legislature.

Both Gaudreau and Glaze say they have enjoyed their work on the council in which they have shared their experiences as students with education and business leaders from across the state. And council members said Gaudreau and Glaze provided important information to state officials.

“Thank you for hearing my voice,” Gaudreau told the council during its last meeting Tuesday. “It was a life-changing opportunity.”

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