Wichita and Kansas schools

Kansas school spending, through 2018

Kansas school spending, through 2018

Charts of Kansas school spending presented in different forms. Recently Kansas State Department of Education released spending figures for the 2018 school year, that is, the school year starting in 2017 and ending in 2018. One of the most important charts shows state spending per-pupil, adjusted for inflation. It shows the total of state and local spending, which is useful because in 2015 the state made a change in the way revenue is allocated between state and local sources. It also shows base state aid per pupil, which is an important number as it is the starting point for the…
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Wichita school spending, according to the Wichita Eagle

Wichita school spending, according to the Wichita Eagle

A recent editorial by the largest newspaper in Kansas misinforms its readers. "For too many years, the [Wichita public school] district was constrained by reduced state spending on public-school children. School systems across Kansas tightened belts to the point of being unable to breathe." [1. Wichita Eagle Editorial Board. *A well-funded Wichita school district. A sight this city’s children deserve." August 10, 2018. Available at https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article216418710.html.] So says a recent editorial in the Wichita Eagle, the largest newspaper in Kansas. What does the data tell us? Data from the Kansas State Department of Education for the school year ending in…
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From Pachyderm: Candidates for State Board of Education, District 7

From Pachyderm: Candidates for State Board of Education, District 7

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Candidates for State Board of Education, District 7. Republican candidates appearing are Robert M. D’Andrea and Ben Jones. This was recorded on July 20, 2018. Kenneth Willard is the current member for district 7. He is not seeking election. The winner of the August primary election will meet the Democratic party candidate in the November general election. The Kansas State Board of Education has ten districts, each being composed of four Kansas Senate districts. District 7 covers portions of central and east-central Kansas, including these cities: Alma, Emporia, Matfield Green, Marion, McPherson, Ellsworth, Lyons, Hutchinson,…
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Kansas teachers union compliance instructions released

Kansas teachers union compliance instructions released

If you're running for office in Kansas and want the support of the teachers union, here are questions you'll need to answer their way. Kansas National Education Association (KNEA), our state's teachers union has a questionnaire for candidates running for elective office. It's really not a series of questions; instead it is a list of things the union wants. Candidates seeking union backing are expected to comply. Following are a sample of questions with some commentary. The full questionnaire may be viewed here. Question: "Do you support requiring that bonuses and/or incentive pay including any form of 'merit pay' be…
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Kansas school standards remain high

Kansas school standards remain high

Kansas school assessment standards remain at a high level, compared to other states. This is a welcome change from the past. To evaluate the performance of their schools and students, states have their own assessments or tests. Some states have rigorous standards, meaning that to be considered "proficient," students must perform at a high level. But some states are less rigorous. They rate students "proficient" at a much lower level of performance. How can we tell which states have high standards, and which states have low standards? There is a test that is the same in all states, the National…
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What is the real problem at Wichita Southeast?

What is the real problem at Wichita Southeast?

There is likely a different explanation for problems at a Wichita high schools from what we've been told by the school district and our newspaper. Recently the Wichita Eagle editorial board opined about problems with Wichita Southeast High School. That editorial was based on Eagle reporting in the article The new Southeast High is bigger and better. So why is its graduation rate dropping? Sociologist Chase Billingham offers commentary and insight in his piece Southeast’s grad rate more about discipline: The Wichita school district officials and The Eagle Editorial Board said the slipping graduation rate was partially attributable to the…
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Does School Choice Kill Public Schools?

Does School Choice Kill Public Schools?

Does School Choice Kill Public Schools? By Lori Graham Recently, I asked Kris Kobach, candidate for Kansas Governor, if he supports school choice. His answer was “Yes," and he gave an idea of how that would work. The liberal media pounced on his idea and twisted his answer in a way that perpetuates the fear that allowing parents to choose what is best for their child’s education will kill the public school system. Conservatives and liberals alike are fearful about this, but will it really kill the public schools? To answer this, we need to first look at the problem.…
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Reestablishing a Fundamental Principle of Democracy

Reestablishing a Fundamental Principle of Democracy

Reestablishing a Fundamental Principle of Democracy Alan Cobb, Kansas Chamber President & CEO The words of a recent guest editorial in the Lawrence Journal-World about the Kansas Coalition for Fair Funding were not surprising. It was a continuation of the intellectually shallow, fact-short screed about taxes, school finance, and the Kansas budget. Certainly, reasonable people can disagree about these issues, but partisans rarely adhere to that theorem. And thus, I thought I was reading something from a partisan staffer. Alas, it was from a well-respected Wichita State University professor emeritus who I have known for decades. I’ve not always agreed…
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NAEP 2017 for Kansas, first look

NAEP 2017 for Kansas, first look

A look at National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores for Kansas and the nation, grade 4 reading. Today the National Center for Education Statistics released the main NAEP scores for 2017. NAEP -- National Assessment of Educational Progress -- is known as the "Nation's Report Card." [2. United States Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Available at https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/.] It is a test that is the same in all states, and is the primary means of comparing states. [3. NAEP Overview Available at https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/.] The main NAEP tests two subjects, math and reading, in…
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Kansas and Iowa schools

Kansas and Iowa schools

Should Kansas schools aspire to be more like Iowa schools? The Kansas Association of School Boards lists Iowa as an "aspirational" state, that is, one that Kansas should consider a role model. I've gathered some data from both states. The United States Census Bureau collects data from the states as part of its Annual Survey of School System Finances program. [1. U.S. Census Bureau. Annual Survey of School System Finances. Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/school-finances.html.] Data is available through fiscal year 2015. The National Education Association also gathers data. [2. National Education Association. Rankings of States and Estimates of School Statistics. Available…
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