education

Back in May, school funding experts predicted a looming financial disaster for the nation's K-12 schools.

"I think we're about to see a school funding crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern history," warned Rebecca Sibilia, the founder of EdBuild, a school finance advocacy organization. "We are looking at devastation that we could not have imagined ... a year ago."

According to guidelines issued last week by the Texas Education Agency, students will be able to return to campus for in-person instruction or continue learning remotely in the fall.


Jeanne Norris is a teacher, the wife of a teacher and the mother of an 8-year-old in St. Louis. She'd love to send her son back to school in August. But, she says, "I feel like my government and my fellow citizens have put me in a position where it's not really in the best interests of our family."

Norris has a long list of reasons why. She says she has taught in buildings where ventilation systems are outdated and malfunctioning, and even soap for hand-washing is in short supply.

A bitter contract dispute has driven a wedge between the Shawnee Mission teachers’ union and some of the school board members the union has helped get elected in recent years.

After the Kansas Department of Labor intervened last month, tossing out the final two years of a three-year contract the school board approved over the union’s objections, the two sides are trying to come together to negotiate a contract for next school year.

Kansas educators want lawmakers to act on health care, bullying and college credits when the Legislature convenes later this month.

For over a decade, the school funding battle has dominated any conversation about education in Topeka. But with a school funding plan in place, educators are no longer on the legal offensive. Instead, school lawyers have become watchdogs, making sure the Legislature keeps the education dollars flowing.

Kindergarten and first-grade classes across Oklahoma likely will be required to meet the state’s class-size limit for the first time in a decade when the 2021-22 school year begins.

Educated - Self Identity From Scratch

Oct 7, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

This is Nicole English coming to you from Fort Hays State University for HPPR's Book-Bytes. This is a discussion of the book, Educated: A Memoir.

The book describes Tara Westover's memories growing up in a very conservative, strict, religious family in rural Idaho.  Her memoir is an emotionally wrenching, yet inspiring story of her journey from an isolated, rural life to her attaining her PhD, and studying at Oxford. 

The Possibility of Becoming Educated

Oct 3, 2019
Holocaust Museum, Washington DC / Wikimedia Commons

“On the highway below, the school bus rolls past without stopping. I am only seven, but I understand that it is this fact more than any other that makes my family different. We don't go to school.”

So says Tara Westover in her memoir, Educated.

What is Education?

Sep 26, 2019
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

Hello, Radio Readers. I’m Jane Holwerda from Dodge City, Kansas.  Tara Westover’s Educated offers up some pretty deep waters to navigate as she recounts growing up survivalist in Utah, bereft of formal education until she was 17, then continuing onward to earn her doctorate from Cambridge.  It’s an amazing story. A miraculous story. It’s a story that sort of demands us to ask, after all, what does it mean to be educated?

I think we busted any possible record for time limit on an in-studio interview for someone that DIDN’T have an instrument, but that’s how it goes when you get me in a conversation with a brilliant writer, HPPR "newsboi", and all-around great dude. Thanks so much to High Plains author, mentor, and journalist Jonathan Baker for stopping by High Plains Morning today.

Several years ago, art teacher Jessica Ruby started to notice something concerning at the end of each class she taught.

“I would give them their art and they would walk by my trash can and throw it away on their way out of my room,” said Ruby, who teaches at Pete Mirich Elementary in Weld County School District RE-1. “I thought, ‘What’s happening? What’s making them do this?’”

Wikimedia Commons

Boys Ranch, the storied home for at-risk youth located in the Western Texas Panhandle, continues to find itself at the center of controversy. An Austin-based law firm is suing Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch on behalf of two boys who allege they were repeatedly sexually abused while living at the institution during the 2000s.

When a student comes home with a C on their report card, it often isn't clear what that means.

Are they average in geometry? Or did their math proficiency get dragged down by poor class attendance?

Wichita Public Schools is hoping to clarify those grades by isolating academics from everything else that happens in the classroom.

When it comes to participation in their children’s education, refugee families often face overwhelming barriers. The challenges run from teachers who speak a different language to incomprehensible rules and customs.

In the end, newcomer children often slip further and further behind their peers.

At Kenton Elementary — part of Aurora Public Schools — fifth grade teacher Gracie Binder is about to start her next parent teacher conference. First, there’s something she has to do. She needs to call for a Burmese interpreter.

One of the state constitutional amendments that Colorado voters will see in November aims to raise money for all the state’s public schools.

Backers of Amendment 73 say it could provide essential services, salaries and supports. Opponents say it’s too risky and may lead to unintended consequences.

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.

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