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Education

New Vision for Kansas Education

Western Kansas World of Wakeeny, Kansas

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The Kansas State Board of Education announced a new and bold vision for education on Oct. 27. "Kansas will lead the world in the success of each student." The new Kansas Vision is a direct result of a statewide conversation with more than 2,000 Kansans telling us what they want from their state education system.

The data collected challenged the status quo and gave the State Board a new and exciting direction. Parents, teachers and the business community are demanding higher standards in academic skills, as well employability and citizenship skills. In fact, the data tell us schools should give even more focus to the skills and characteristics of nonacademic traits, such as teamwork, showing up on time, persistence, collaboration and community service. Business leaders said overwhelmingly (81 percent) that more focus must be placed on nonacademic skills.

All agreed Kansas needs to move away from a "one-size-fits-all" system that relies exclusively on State Assessments from No Child Left Behind. The state of Kansas needs to have a more student-focused system that provides support and resources for individual success.

When asked "What needs to change?" to insure such a system, the board began by looking at policies and regulations that include graduation requirements, how students earn credits, curriculum, school accreditation and standards. Services and opportunities Kansas provides students must include Individual Plans of Study, increased counseling and social worker support, high-quality early preschool and all-day kindergarten and improved alignment from pre-K through post-secondary. The State Board will revisit its College and Career Ready definition and revise it to include citizenship and civic readiness.

The new Vision for Kansas is more than just changing things around at the edges of our educational system. It is about what we value. It is changing the culture of schools. The Vision is for high standards and expectations for each student in academic and nonacademic areas across Kansas.

The new Vision for Kansas isn't about regulations and top-down leadership; it must include all stakeholders and be led by teachers, local boards, and business and university partners. But most importantly, the Vision must be embraced by parents, grandparents and all citizens of our state. It isn't about money! Yes, we as a State Board and elected officials must be good stewards and wise in our use of the state resources, but equally as important, we must give the children we serve the gift of a bright and hopeful future. They are the future of our state and nation. "Kansans CAN" lead the world in the success of each student! Will you join us?

Jim McNiece

Chairman, Kansas State Board of Education

Wichita, KS



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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015



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