Stephan Bisaha

Stephan Bisaha is a former NPR Kroc Fellow. Along with producing Weekend Edition, Stephan has reported on national stories for Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as other NPR programs. He provided data analysis for an investigation into the Department of Veteran Affairs and reported on topics ranging from Emojis to mattresses.

Stephan has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and concentrated in data journalism. He currently covers education for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. 

A bill in the Kansas Legislature would let students escape bullying by transferring to a new school, either public or private.

But critics say the bill is little more than an attempt to send state dollars meant for public schools to private alternatives.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke compared the national economy to a Looney Tunes character: magically floating in the air for a moment after running off a cliff before inevitably plummeting in 2020.

Simplistic crisis plans and missing mandatory training by some Kansas schools led the Kansas Board of Education on Tuesday to reinforce its suicide prevention requirements.

Suicide rates in the United States have been going up for years, but the rates have risen faster in Kansas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kansas suicide rate increased by 45 percent from 1999 to 2016.

A hot job market and the increasing cost of tuition have slowed the growth in the number of Kansans earning a college education nearly to a halt. Educators are worried that will worsen shortages of high-skilled workers and impede prosperity long term.

Kansas' high school graduation rate continued to trend upward with the class of 2018 as schools put a growing emphasis on preventing students from dropping out.

Of the students who started at both public and private high schools in 2014, 87.5 percent graduated within four years, an increase from the 86.9 percent rate of the previous freshman class, according to newly published state data.

A diploma is paramount.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer's education council says a state program should pay more of the job-training costs for high school students taking college classes.

The Excel in Career and Technical Education (Excel in CTE) initiative covers the tuition costs of students taking technical college courses while the students are still in high school. During the fiscal year of 2017, the program had cost about $24 million.

The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday adopted new standards for school safety.

The state Legislature ordered the guidelines in May in response to the school shooting debate.

Kansas' teacher shortage is growing worse.

The latest numbers from the Kansas State Department of Education for fall 2018 show 612 teaching positions remain unfilled by a qualified teacher. That's up from the 513 vacant positions from the same time last year.

According to the state, one possible explanation for the shortage is that schools have become less reluctant to report their vacancies.

Kansas schools are still struggling to hire teachers.

There are more than 600 vacant teaching positions in Kansas, nearly 100 more than in the fall of 2017. Special education and elementary positions have the largest number of vacancies.

The Kansas State Board of Education received the update on Tuesday from the Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee. The main reason for the open positions is a lack of applicants or qualified applicants.

Enrollment at public colleges in Kansas fell about half of a percent this fall, according to a new report from the Kansas Board of Regents released Monday.

Pittsburg State University's enrollment declined just under 4 percent — the largest decrease for a state university this year. Fort Hays State University had the largest percent increase with a little over 2 percent.

At least one Kansas business says the Trump administration's plan to further limit the number of refugees entering the country could hurt its operations.

Secretary of State of State Mike Pompeo announced on Tuesday a plan to cap the number of refugees entering the country at 30,000 next year. For the current year the cap was lowered to 45,000, though final admissions numbers will be about half that.

Kansas' long drought is fading.

Drought covered more than 80 percent of Kansas in April. Now the National Weather Service says most of the state is drought-free.

Still, the dry conditions remain severe in parts of northeastern Kansas.

Wichita Public School teachers are receiving a more than a 3.5 percent increase in salary. In Topeka, the increase is nearly 8 percent, that district's largest in 26 years.

School districts across Kansas are raising salaries, restoring cut positions and adding new jobs.

Legal experts say independent candidate for governor Greg Orman faces at least a potential threat to lose his spot on the ballot in Kansas' general election.

An objection filed with the Kansas Secretary of State's office on Monday targets the signatures Orman gathered for ballot access. The letter was filed on behalf of William Lawrence, the chief of staff for Democratic state Senate Leader Anthony Hensley.

Kansas is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to handling its elections, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kansas was ranked 48th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on how it performed in the 2016 elections.

The main factor that pushed Kansas so low was the high number of provisional ballots — about 3 percent in 2016 compared to the national average of about 1 percent.

Kansas is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to handling its elections, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kansas was ranked 48th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on how it performed in the 2016 elections.

The main factor that pushed Kansas so low was the high number of provisional ballots — about 3 percent in 2016 compared to the national average of about 1 percent.

His last real prospects of winning the Republican nomination for the office he holds slipping away one county canvass after the next, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded the primary race to Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday night.

Updated 10:35 p.m. Aug., 9, 2018: In a cable news interview Thursday night, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he will recuse himself from the vote-counting process in the closely contested Republican gubernatorial primary. 

"There really is no point to it, but I've said if my opponent wishes me to, I'd be happy to. It's purely symbolic. I don't think he understands the process," Kobach told CNN's Chris Cuomo. 

He went on to say he would make a "formal response" to Gov. Jeff Colyer's recusal request Friday. 

If there’s one common refrain from nearly all of the Kansas candidates for governor — Republicans and Democrats — it’s support for the Second Amendment.

The Democrats running to be Kansas’ next governor brushed off the idea of a tax increase to cover the state’s needs during a Democratic forum in Wichita on Wednesday night sponsored by KMUW and KWCH.

State Sen. Laura Kelly said it’s too soon after repealing the Sam Brownback-era tax cuts to talk about a tax increase.

“We need to let the dust settle,” Kelly said. "We have no idea the full impact of that or the full impact of the federal tax cuts that have occurred."

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was clear that he doesn't support a tax increase.

Some Republican gubernatorial candidates are calling for the end of in-state tuition for undocumented students at public universities in Kansas.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants undocumented students to pay the more expensive non-resident tuition rate. Gov. Jeff Colyer expressed a similar view during a Republican forum Tuesday night hosted by KWCH and KMUW.

Gov. Jeff Colyer was on the defense during a Republican forum sponsored by KMUW and KWCH on Tuesday night.

He was targeted by his Republican gubernatorial opponents over Kansas’ budget issues during his time with the Brownback administration.

Former state Sen. Jim Barnett was one of several candidates who attacked Colyer over the Brownback era tax cuts.

“The Brownback Colyer tax experiment brought this state to its knees,” Barnett said.

Seven school districts across Kansas will launch with redesigned curriculums and schedules this fall.

The redesigns are part of the Kansans Can School Redesign Project, an initiative by the Kansas State Department of Education to improve performance.

Southwest Kansas has a new accent due to the rapidly growing Latino population in the area.

New research from Kansas State University and its Kansas Speaks Project, which documents language shifts in Kansas, shows younger people in the region have started to take on the characteristics of Spanish speakers, even if they don’t speak Spanish themselves.

The three top Democratic candidates for governor debated in Wichita on Friday evening.

Laura Kelly, Carl Brewer and Josh Svaty participated at the event held in The Lux apartment building and venue space in downtown Wichita.

The candidates spent much of the debate agreeing on issues, from expanding Medicaid to supporting legalizing marijuana in Kansas.

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.

Kansas universities had about 800 more students enrolled this spring than they did last year, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

That’s about a half percent more — essentially flat. But flat is better than the national figure, which saw enrollment across the United States drop about 1.3 percent, or about 231,000 fewer students.

Public universities in Kansas saw some of their funding restored as part of the new state budget.

The budget restores $15 million to the Kansas Board of Regents. In fiscal year 2017, state universities spent about $570 million in state funding.  

Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita suspended his campaign for governor on Wednesday.

Ward will instead focus on being re-elected to the House.

Three men were found guilty Wednesday of conspiring to blow up an apartment complex in western Kansas that housed Somali immigrants.

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