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Archive for Friday, January 9, 1998

TWO STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS DISCUSS ISSUES

January 9, 1998

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Two Kansas Board of Education members say they are working with the Kansas Board of Regents on college curriculum.

Mildred McMillon and Kevin Gilmore spent some time at school Thursday.

The two State Board of Education members discussed higher education coordination, state assessment tests, the possible addition of an 11th member to the board and community college curriculum at an American Association of University Women's panel discussion at Free State High School.

The board currently monitors programs offered at public elementary schools, high schools and community colleges, while the Kansas Board of Regents governs the curriculum at six of the state's public universities.

"We are working jointly with the board of regents and a governor appointee to coordinate efforts between community colleges and universities so that we're not duplicating resources," Gilmore said.

The issue of community college education goes hand in hand with vocational education and students who are looking to begin technical and vocational programs before leaving the high school system.

"I believe we have to work with business and industry for economic development," McMillon said. "There are students we know who go through the high school system who can hold jobs without a four-year degree."

The board is looking to further expand services to those students, McMillon said.

"We need plumbers, we need electricians, we need janitors," she said. "We're coordinating that through the community colleges."

As for a recent proposal to add an 11th member to the board, McMillon said she favored such a move but that such a measure would require a change in the state constitution -- approved by a public vote -- and isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

On state assessment tests, Gilmore said the board is in the process of revamping the subjects of math and English language arts.

"We want to make sure that parents and teachers know what the state expects," he said. "We've embarked on a mission. The standards will be revised and after that the assessments will be revised."

Gilmore and McMillon made more than passing grades with the audience.

"I have a much better understanding of some of the issues," Lawrence resident Randi Tveitaraas said. "It was nice to hear from the board members."

--JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is watson@ljworld.com.

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