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Kansas State Board of Education Holds January Meeting

Art Credit: KC Education Enterprise | Illustration Credit (January) 123rf stock image | Photo Credit (board members): Kansas State Board of Education | Pictured (left to right) - Top Row -- Kenneth Willard, John W. Bacon, Jana Shaver; Second Row -- Carolyn L. Wims-Campbell, David T. Dennis, Janet Waugh; Third Row -- Sue Storm, Sally Caubell, Kathy Martin; Fourth Row -- Walt Chappell

The Kansas State Board of Education held their monthly meeting in Topeka last week.

In addition to routine items on their agenda (such as consideration of requests for teacher licensure waivers), the board had a full two-day schedule.

Two items on the agenda were significant from an education policy standpoint. First, board members heard a presentation on the Next Generation Science Standards. Also, they heard a report on the state’s request for a waiver of requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

Kansas is one of 26 states participating in drafting new science standards based on a framework developed by a team of scientists associated with the National Research Council. According to the timeline, a first draft of the standards should become public sometime in the next few weeks. However, until that time, everyone involved in the project — including 10 Kansas City metropolitan area residents — has agreed to keep the contents confidential. The goal is to complete the new standards by the end of this year.

In addition to learning about the status of science standards, state board members also heard an update on the flexibility waiver request. Most educators agree with the intent of NCLB, which is to narrow achievement gaps among advantaged and disadvantaged public school students. However, the goal of 100 percent proficiency on state standardized tests by 2014 appears to be unrealistic. States applying for waivers must devise an alternate way for schools to demonstrate student academic progress. Because Congress is overdue on reauthorizing NCLB, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said states may apply for waivers. The application deadline Kansas is targeting is February 21.

Last week, the board met on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 10-11. In addition to holding the monthly meeting, board members had invitations to attend Gov. Sam Brownback’s State of the State address Wednesday evening.

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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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