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Fewer Teachers, More Students in Kansas

More students and fewer teachers may be going back to school in Kansas this fall.

State board of education members reviewed a report this summer showing a decline in licensed teachers and expressed concern about what that trend might mean for the education of public school students.

Over the past year, Kansas lost 748 teachers, according a licensed personnel report compiled by the Kansas State Department of Education. However, a Kansas Association of School Boards report shows 1,688 more students and projects enrollment will continue rising over the next three years.

If these trends continue, class sizes in Kansas will rise, which may adversely affect students. Smaller classes — although costly — have been linked to increased academic success, according to an analysis of research published last spring by the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit and nonpartisan public policy organization based in Washington, D.C.

Kansas lost most of its teachers last year to retirement, with the percentage of teachers retiring increasing 30 percent. In addition, the number of teachers who were fired almost doubled, and there was about a 25 percent increase in the number of teachers lost to reductions in force.

Lori Adams, a consultant with Kansas’ Teacher Education and Licensure program presented the 2010-2011 Licensed Personnel Report to the state board during their June meeting in Topeka.

About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.


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