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Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2013

State Board of Education eyes new accreditation standards

January 15, 2013

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Schools in Kansas could get a two-year break on meeting state accreditation standards under a proposal being considered by the Kansas State Board of Education.

Staff at the state Department of Education is recommending that the board change the standards to delete references to making Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP. That’s the basic requirement under the federal No Child Left Behind law that requires schools to continually increase the percentage of students who score proficient or better in statewide reading and math tests

Last summer, Kansas was granted a waiver from No Child Left Behind, which means schools no longer have to meet those benchmarks. Instead, they will have to meet a different set of standards that look at multiple measures of a school’s progress: student achievement; the growth in achievement from one year to the next; reducing the gap between the lowest- and highest-achieving students; and reducing the number of students who score non-proficient.

The department is now proposing that those standards replace the AYP standards as one of the conditions for a school to be accredited by the state.

Since 1992, Kansas has used the Quality Performance Accreditation model. Under that system, each building has to meet 11 quality standards and four performance standards to earn accreditation from the state. In 2002, shortly after Congress passed No Child Left Behind, the state board amended the performance standards to mirror the requirements of that federal law.

The accreditation rules apply to individual schools. Kansas does not accredit school districts.

The state board received a briefing on the proposal Tuesday in preparation for taking action next month.

If the board agrees, whatever accreditation status a school has earned in the current year would be automatically carried forward into the 2013-14 school year. They would not be measured again until the 2014-15 school year in order to give state officials time to collect new data and measurements based on the new criteria.

Shaver elected new board chairwoman

Jana Shaver, a moderate Republican from Independence, was elected to serve as chairwoman of the state board for the next two years. She succeeds David Dennis of Wichita who did not run for re-election this year.

Shaver was elected 8-2 over conservative Republican John Bacon of Olathe, a signal that moderates remain in firm control of the state board following the November elections.

Following that vote, Sally Cauble was elected to serve as vice-chairwoman. Cauble, from Liberal, is also a moderate Republican.

The four new members sworn into office Tuesday were Steve Roberts, R-Overland Park; Deena Horst, R-Salina; Kathy Busch, R-Wichita; and Jim McNiece, R-Wichita. Carolyn Campbell, D-Topeka, also was sworn in to her second term on the board.

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