Archive for Saturday, November 10, 2012

State ed board looks at defining ‘college and career readiness’

November 10, 2012


The Kansas State Board of Education will be asked next week to begin thinking about a formal definition of the term “college- and career-ready.”

That’s just one of the issues the state board will discuss during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Topeka.

In recent years, that term has come to dominate discussions about educational standards and policy at all levels: Teachers and principals are told that students graduating high school need to be ready to enter college or the workforce; states are being urged by the federal government to adopt standards throughout their curriculum that are designed to ensure students are college- and career-ready; and the Obama administration has begun tying certain categories of federal funding to the adoption of such standards.

But in Kansas, as in many other states, officials say the term does not yet have a formal definition.

“We believe that it is time for the State Board of Education to officially adopt a Kansas definition of College- and Career-Ready to help guide this agency, and the field, as we move forward over the next several years,” deputy education commissioner Brad Neuenswander wrote in a memo explaining the item on the board’s agenda.

He said several groups representing the agency’s staff, school administrators and local boards of education have spent much of the past year working on a definition for Kansas. They will share their recommendations with the state board Tuesday.

A formal definition could play an important role in shaping the state’s curriculum standards as they come up for periodic review.

In 2010, the board formally adopted the national Common Core State Standards in English language arts and math, which are supposed to prepare students in those subject areas for college and careers. In 2013, the state board is scheduled to adopt new or updated standards for science and social studies.

It’s not yet clear whether the board will act immediately to accept the recommendation or defer action to a later date.

In other business, the state board will:

• Receive an update on progress by a coalition of states to develop new science standards. A public draft of the “Next Generation Science Standards” is scheduled for release on Friday.

• Hear updates from Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker on the development of a new method of evaluating teachers and administrators that includes tying those evaluations to student performance.

• Receive a briefing from DeBacker about a task force she appointed to examine achievement gaps in Kansas.

• Review a marketing campaign the agency was directed to undertake to promote the state’s new career and technical education initiative.

• Hear an update about recent changes at the Kansas Learning Network, a program that provides support and technical assistance to turn around under-performing schools and districts.

• Hear a presentation about the teaching of cursive writing in Kansas.


Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Careers in what? If people can afford being a career student that is the one of the few safest careers.

Isn't that a difficult matter considering corp America and Congress specialize in shipping jobs abroad?

15 million "white collar" are slated for India. At least 15-20 million blue collar jobs have gone to a few countries that are run by dictators. Sam Brownback has been a player in all of the above.

Is war replacing lost American industries? That which is not sustainable and horrible foreign policy.

Lawrence,Kansas missed out several years ago by not investing in a Vo-Tech campus. Instead investing in thousands of empty bedrooms and strip malls = no long term or solid economic growth.

New 24/7 construction projects = one large tax dollar money hole and larger profits for the Lawrence 1% . Nothing more.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

“Next Generation Science Standards” = less support for evolution.

"Hear updates from Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker on the development of a new method of evaluating teachers and administrators that includes tying those evaluations to student performance." = how to put more nails in the coffin of public education.

tomatogrower 5 years, 6 months ago

Then we need to take the focus off of reading and math when they get to high school. Well, probably still math. If their reading skills aren't up to par by high school, then the other courses will be a problem. Many schools have stopped putting emphasis on writing and research skills, because the class size is so large. Teachers would have to work 24/7 assessing all the writing, so they give students smaller writing assignments or Power Point assignments. Also, students aren't being taught good attendance. In a career you are expected to show up and do the work. My teacher friends tell me that it's a rare day when they have complete attendance. When I worked in the schools there were parents who took their kids out for cruises and shopping. Then they were upset when their student didn't make an A on a test for which they had missed most of the real work.

parrothead8 5 years, 6 months ago

If you want America to move forward, stop educating students for individual careers and start educating them to have broad and creative skill-sets. Stop measuring their learning with statistics and start rewarding them for coming up with their own solutions to problems. We're currently educating people for careers that may not exist in 5-10 years, and the problem is that nobody actually knows what careers will be around at that time. If you educate people to be good at lots of different things instead of great at one thing, you have a more innovative society.

kuguardgrl13 5 years, 6 months ago

"Hear a presentation about the teaching of cursive writing in Kansas." They should still learn it. This coming from someone who learned how to write in cursive in second and third grade and didn't use it much after 6th grade when computers became the norm. We still use blue books at KU (big shocker, I know), so students are still occasionally expected to write something by hand legibly. It also helps to develop your personal signature. We still sign for things by hand or on a machine all the time.

JasonSprenger 5 years, 6 months ago

It's great to see this discussion take place, because skills gaps are indeed emerging in the economy, and they have a tremendous impact on several levels - businesses, communities, the nation and of course individuals and families. One way that we all can work to bridge these gaps is to invest in education, specifically career and technical education (CTE), and particularly in the ways outlined in this piece. CTE has evolved over the years to cover most career paths out there today, and has proven to deliver many benefits: improved student achievement, more business production, more open jobs being filled, etc. These programs work particularly well when businesses work with educators to devise and implement programs, so that the programs most closely match their skills/needs and can help them today.

The Industry Workforce Needs Council is a new group of businesses working together to advocate for CTE and curb skills gaps nationwide. For more information, or to join the effort, visit

Jason Sprenger, for the IWNC

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