education

The Kansas State Board of Education approved new standards Tuesday for students learning English as a second language.

The changes come as the number of students learning English grows in the state. Kansas Department of Education statistics show they made up nearly 12 percent of students in 2017.

After teaching for 36 years in the Rio Grande Valley, Rosalva Reyna looked at her pension and health plan in July 2016 and decided she could live a comfortable life and finally retire.

Reyes thought "no more work." But that quickly changed, she said.

“At this point. I’m seriously considering going back to work," Reyna said. "A retired teacher going back to work — so I can pay my medical [bills].”

Kansas teachers have lost their second attempt to get tenure back for thousands of educators through the courts — but say they will continue their battle at the Legislature.

“So this is a disappointment,” teachers union spokesman Marcus Baltzell said of the decision handed down by the Kansas Supreme Court Friday. “But it's just one step."

Friday’s decision from the state’s highest court was unanimous.

Kansas has some of the highest education achievement standards in the country, but students are struggling to reach that high bar.

The new report from the National Center For Education Statistics standardized state proficiency assessments for math and reading in 2015. For eighth grade, Kansas had the highest benchmark for proficiency in both reading and math out of the states evaluated.

(This story has been updated)  

The ink is barely dry on a deal to increase school spending by more than half a billion dollars, but Kansas is already headed for a fresh round of legal arguments.

School districts suing the state say the plan falls short in part because it will happen gradually over five years. They want the Kansas Supreme Court to make the state pay out $506 million more this fiscal year — on top of the $190 million boost the Legislature had already promised.

From Texas Standard.

Tulia is an agricultural hamlet of 5,000 souls in the middle of the Texas Panhandle, just under an hour south of Amarillo. It’s where 18-year-old Tawnee Flowers grew up and went to high school.

Kansas senators will return Monday to find a school finance fix waiting on their desks, hammered out in the House over the weekend.

The bill undoes an $80 million error inserted last-minute into this year’s school funding bill.

Kansas lawmakers voted last weekend to increase public school funding over the next half decade — the latest chapter in a long and winding court battle.

New test scores for what’s often referred to as the "Nation’s Report Card" are out today for Kansas and the rest of the country.

Republicans in the Kansas House couldn’t win enough votes Monday to increase school funding by hundreds of millions of dollars. Conservatives in their own party thought it was too much money, Democrats said it was too little.

House Majority Leader Don Hineman said legislative leaders would keep working toward a compromise and could come back with a fresh proposal on Tuesday.

“Hopefully we have a different outcome tomorrow,” he said late Monday, but added that the bill as written is “all we can afford at this point in time.”

Members of the Kansas House have voted to reinstate some job protections for teachers. The bill would promise teachers an impartial hearing before they can be fired.

Lawmakers eliminated the due process protections — sometimes referred to as teacher tenure — in 2014. Republican Rep. Mary Martha Good said reversing that decision will help recruit teachers and keep them in Kansas.

“This process has worked effectively for many years," she said. "Our teachers need to feel supported and protected.”

Today, about three of every 20 students in Kansas fail to graduate from high school. Gov. Sam Brownback contends that in five years only one will fall short.

The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday approved two new pilot programs for educating teachers to address Kansas’ teacher shortage.

af.mil

A study released yesterday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation has found that black and Hispanic children in Texas have significantly more barriers to success than white and Asian students. These barriers include poverty, health care availability, and access to a good education.

CC0 Creative Commons

Researchers in Texas recently spent a year watching low income Hispanic kids engage with a new kind of classroom environment.

In this new method, kids are given much more freedom to decide who to work with and which projects to initiate, and they’re allowed to ask questions without raising their hands. The result? The kids scored 30 points higher on tests than students in traditional classes.

Seems like cause for change, right? Not so fast.

Kansas education officials did little to promote a public comment period for a school accountability plan designed to steer the state through 2030 and guide nearly $2 billion in federal spending.

While some states that publicized town halls and launched online surveys for their plans collected comments by the thousands, Kansas officials didn’t use such tools nor issue news releases or social media posts about the state’s public comment period.

People Of The Plains: A Panhandle Education

Aug 3, 2017
Creative Commons CC0

Louise Baker was an educator in the state of Texas for 30 years. She grew up in New Mexico and that is where she went to college, which is where she met her husband, Kenneth Baker. They moved from city to city because of work. She has taught in Oklahoma City, Okla., Arlington, Texas, and finally in Canyon, Texas.

Baker always had a passion for teaching because that is what her father did, and she “never thought of doing anything else”.

We wanted to interview Louise because of the ever-evolving experiences she had during her teaching career.

U.S. SEN. JERRY MORAN, R-KANSAS

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran held a town hall meeting in Garden City, where health care and education were the primary topics of discussion.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Moran said he that while he wants every American to have access to health care, he doesn’t believe it’s guaranteed by the federal government.

Like many other professions, rural Kansas is falling short on teachers, but so are some urban areas in the state. A new program at Kansas State University aims to change all that.

As KCUR reports, K-State has developed a one-year, online program for those with undergraduate degrees to take to get a masters’ degree in elementary teaching.

cherrina / Creative Commons

Should Oklahoma students be required to take more math classes?

As The Lawton Constitution reports, high school students in the Sooner State are currently only required to take three years of math.

Oklahoma is one of 25 states that require students to take three years of math. Eighteen states require a full four years of math classes. The remaining states only require two years of math.

Chris Neal / Topeka Capital-Journal

In recent years, American schools have experienced a rising problem of kids missing too much school.

And, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Education, rates of chronic absenteeism are highest in rural areas.

ALAN GOMEZ/USA TODAY

Two University of Kansas professors recently completed a study on Garden City’s ever-changing demographics and the way educators in the southwest Kansas community teach a diverse population of students.   

RJ Sangosti / The Denver Post

Ever since the George W. Bush administration, the nation’s schools have been governed by strict federal laws. Now High Plains educators are wondering what exactly Donald Trump’s election will mean for rural schools.

No one’s sure exactly, though as Chalkbeat reports, leaders hoping for more control over public schools may get their wish.

Rural Blog

In the first years of this century, the number of home-schooled children in America nearly doubled, according to a new report.

From 1999 to 2012 the number of students schooled at home jumped from 850,000 to almost one-and-a-quarter million.

cfra.org

This month, nearly 21,000 students in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa celebrated National Farm-to School-Month by crunching into locally grown apples at school, reports The Center for Rural Affairs.

The event was part of an effort to draw attention to Farm-to-School programs, in which school cafeterias serve food to students that is sourced from regional farms and ranches.

James M. Dobson / Garden City Telegram

Last Friday Abe Hubert Elementary School in Garden City hosted its first Ag Day. As reported in The Garden City Telegram, the event had several activities based around a common theme: agriculture.

Wallethub

Job pressures, low pay and lack of mobility force many teachers to quit soon after they begin. With that in mind, the personal finance website Wallethub set out to find which states are doing a good job of treating teachers with the respect they deserve.

KSN

A Ulysses, Kansas, teen has been carrying a pretty impressive load, reports KSN.com.

Marie D. De Jesus / Houston Chronicle

Texas is keeping tens of thousands of kids out of special education who might, in other states, be considered special ed students.

That’s because, over a decade ago, Texas officials decided on a percentage of students that should get special education services. That number is 8.5 percent, and it is an arbitrary figure that doesn’t change according to how many students are actually in need.

Martin Dimitrov / Getty Images

Students from sparsely populated areas can earn money toward undergraduate and graduate degrees, as reported in U.S. News & World Report.

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