Archive for Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Statehouse Live: Student performance drops amid budget cuts

September 18, 2012


— On the heels of budget cuts, student performance on statewide reading and math tests dropped for the first time since 2001, education officials reported Tuesday. History and science scores dropped too.

Mark Tallman, a lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Board, said the decline was directly linked to cuts in state funding to schools.

"In our view, you put in targeted resources you get some good results. You have to withdraw some of those resources, and you start falling back," Tallman said.

But Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said it was difficult to determine the cause of the decline.

" … we do know that having moved so many of our students to and beyond grade level performance, Kansas educators are now engaged in the difficult work of moving our most challenged students into higher levels of performance."

The percentage of students in the top three performance levels — exemplary, exceeds standards and meets standards — in reading dropped 1.9 percentage points from 2011 to 85.7 percent.

On the math test, students in the top three levels dropped one percentage point to 83.7 percent.

These were the first annual decreases since the federal No Child Left Behind law took effect in 2001. The law requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014.

However, the Obama administration has given waivers to 30 states, including Kansas, which grants more flexibility.

Student performance also declined in science, which is tested in grades four, seven and once in high school. History tests were given for the first time since 2008, and those also showed decline.

The 2012 Kansas Report Card was presented Tuesday to the State Board of Education. Several members noted the declining results came after cuts to schools.

Tallman agreed, saying scores increased when the Legislature was increasing school spending.

"It's really pretty straightforward," he said. "Districts used the increased funding for specific things. They hired more people, they added more programs, they added all-day kindergarten, they added summer school, they added after school programs.

"When you have to cut the base budget and you have to cut your general fund budget, those are exactly where you have to take the dollars away from," he said.

Base state aid was $4,400 per student in the 2008-09 school year and fell to $3,780 per student after several rounds of budget cuts during the recession. The current school year level is $3,838 per student.

A lawsuit filed by several school district says the cuts to schools are unconstitutional. That case is pending before a three-judge panel. And critics of tax cuts recently signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback say the cuts will make it difficult to increase school funding.

During Tuesday's board meeting, the board also recommended 10 percent budget cuts to the Kansas State School for the Deaf and the Kansas State School for the Blind. Several board members said the proposed cuts, if enacted, would devastate the schools, but those who voted for the recommendation said they were abiding by a budget directive from Brownback's office to come up with ways to reduce spending.


globehead 1 year, 7 months ago

The Brownback legacy begins. At least we're protected from the scourge of Sharia law. Money well spent on that little deal.


bigtoe 1 year, 7 months ago

More daily unadulterated BS by the Rothschild far left propaganda machine.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Now Sam Brownback ,Koch boys and the Walton/Wal-Mart family can come out and say that cutting education budgets forces negative growth in learning. Exactly as planned.

Now Sam Brownback ,Koch boys and the Walton/Wal-Mart family will want to introduce high profit/high cost private schools supported with tax dollars of course. The sales pitch would go "Facism is a wonderful guarantee that our system will profit".

We Sam Brownback ,Koch boys and the Walton/Wal-Mart family love corporate welfare and learned long ago tax dollar mooching does pay back so so sweet.

We Sam Brownback ,Koch boys and the Walton/Wal-Mart family cannot say with absolute certainty that students performance will improve however bottom lines will impress our stockholders.

Not only that we Sam Brownback ,Koch boys and the Walton/Wal-Mart family will be feeding your children our way of thinking like it or not. This is possible because we now control k-12 publishing rights and oh what a dream come true.

Just goes to show what we Sam Brownback ,Koch boys and the Walton/Wal-Mart family have achieved with the help of voting taxpayers not paying attention.

K-12 is the perfect example. Former Reagan/Bush team player William (Bill) Bennett is a founder of K-13 and loves those tax dollars. Is anyone paying attention?


SageonPage 1 year, 7 months ago

The article says " students in the top three levels dropped one percentage point to 83.7 percent." However, the lobbyist said the extra money is needed and used to fund programs that would not assist this group of students. Your top students are not in after school programs or summer school, nor were they in all-day kindergarten. It's pure fabrication meant to extol more money from the overburdened taxpayer. There is little or no correlation to what the money was used for and the example of why the top level students dropped a mere 1.9% in overall scores.


atiopatioo 1 year, 7 months ago

How does money relate to the ability of a teacher to teach children? Do they teach better when paid more?


Carol Bowen 1 year, 7 months ago

"See a breakdown of how the schools did at" by Alex Garrison. - from the paper, today. Not only are newspaper readers left out of the loop, but the Journal World is losing readership. No news. I happen to read the paper and, but I get irritated when I am expected to log on to finish an article.


Tracy Rogers 1 year, 7 months ago

2008-09 $11,825 2009-10 $11,576 2010-11 $11,089 2011-12 ??? another drop I'm sure

Funding has decreased the past 3 or 4 years. CPI means nothing when you take into account how underfunded it was before. Courts even told legislators they were underfunding.


James MacMurray 1 year, 7 months ago

Total Expenditures per Pupil '01-'02 $8,701 '10-'11 $11,089 (+$2,388 or +27.5%)

CPI over same period +23.0%


Tracy Rogers 1 year, 7 months ago

So it's just a coincidence that those "ebbs and swells" have all been moving up until funding gets cut? Wake up. The things that have been cut have been the extras that were added to get kids more help. The summer schools, the after school programs, the extra tutors....those are all programs or people who were added with the increased funds, but have been done away with with the decreased funds.


SageonPage 1 year, 7 months ago

This is hilarious! Student performance ebbs and swells with each group of students. We are talking about individuals here and they are going to differ in response to their educators. There is no way there is a direct correlation to budget cuts and student performance, this is ridiculous Mr. 'Tall Tales' Tallman. Nice try Brownback cuts attack article please.


mycatsrightorwrong 1 year, 7 months ago

That's what Bill Clinton would call arithmetic


hyperinflate 1 year, 7 months ago

"History and science scores dropped too."

But their knowledge of Jesus and creationism has risen off the charts, I'm sure.


question4u 1 year, 7 months ago

It's OK. Even strategies like defunding public education so that business owners in Kansas can pay no state income tax won't diminish US military capability or economic competitiveness. Republicans have a plan to save us all from the damaging effects of cutting funds to education. All we have to do is import our scientists and engineers from foreign countries:

"On Tuesday, House Judiciary Chairman Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced a bill that would reallocate up to 55,000 green cards per year to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The STEM Jobs Bill is being fast-tracked for a full House of Representatives vote on Thursday." (Chronicle of Higher Education)

That's a great plan. It should make everyone happy. Wealthy business owners can pay little or no taxes, Americans who are willing to sacrifice their children's futures so that wealthy business owners can pay little or no taxes won't complain, American universities can stay afloat by switching from state funding to revenues from increased recruitment of foreign students, foreign students should be happy because they can come to the US and get the highest paying jobs, and the governments of China, India, and Korea should be happy because some of those highly trained scientists and engineers can be lured back home after having led innovation in science and technology in the US.

So, it turns out that the US doesn't need to be globally competitive in public education after all. Foreign students will save us.


cowboy 1 year, 7 months ago

I will guess this will start the teacher bashing coming from the Brownback clan. Next will be the call for rating teachers vs test scores.

How bout we rate / retain / fire legislators and governors based on economic growth and jobs created.


Stuart Sweeney 1 year, 7 months ago

I hope erveryone does not get as dumb as Sam!


jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

Gov. Brownback is a buffoon. That said, student performance has been in decline for many, many years.


riverdrifter 1 year, 7 months ago

"“It’s difficult to say with certainty what may have caused the performance declines we see in the 2012 data..." Guv bronwnback will be pleased. The dumbing-down process is off to a good start.


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