Peter Hancock (Statehouse/politics reporter)

I cover K-12 education. That includes Lawrence USD 497 as well as state policy issues from the legislature and State Board of Education. I am a graduate of the Kansas University with bachelor's degrees in political science and education. Before joining the Journal-World, I published an online news service called the Kansas Education Policy Report. I also spent nine years as the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and worked a couple of years as the spokesman for the (former) Kansas Health Policy Authority. You can follow me on Twitter (@pqhancock) or join our conversation about public schools on the First Bell blog.

Recent stories

Senate bill would repeal Common Core standards
04:38 p.m., January 27, 2015 Updated 10:31 p.m.
A Senate bill would repeal many of the new academic standards adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education and would make future standards merely advisory for local school districts. By Peter Hancock
Kansas bill targets patent trolls
04:25 p.m., January 27, 2015 Updated 10:29 p.m.
Business and banking groups say their members are being targeted by companies that demand licensing payments based on bogus claims of owning patents or trademarks. A bill being considered in the Senate would prohibit that activity and give the Attorney General authority to seek civil damages against such companies. By Peter Hancock
Kansas geologist says fracking not the cause of earthquakes
05:52 p.m., January 26, 2015 Updated 10:33 p.m.
The recent spate of minor earthquakes in south-central Kansas is more likely caused by the disposal of saltwater, a byproduct of oil drilling, than the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” One quake in November registered 4.9 on the Richter scale, the strongest temblor ever recorded in Kansas. By Peter Hancock
Kansas courts now in center of partisan politics
10:15 p.m., January 25, 2015 Updated 10:18 p.m.
Judges in Kansas are finding themselves increasingly at the center of partisan political fights, an unusual position for the state courts. And that’s likely to continue as Gov. Sam Brownback calls for changing the way state Supreme Court justices are chosen. Some argue that the courts need to become more accountable to the public, but other legal experts say the proposed changes would not help. By Peter Hancock
Kansas attorney general asks court to clarify school finance ruling
January 23, 2015
Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the three-judge panel handling the school finance lawsuit didn’t explain what facts it relied on in its ruling that said current funding for schools is unconstitutional. He is asking the panel to revise its Dec. 30 opinion, which will delay any review by the Kansas Supreme Court. By Peter Hancock
Kansas Democrats outline opposition to governor’s budget
09:59 a.m., January 23, 2015 Updated 10:23 p.m.
Democratic leaders in the Kansas House and Senate said Friday that Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax and spending plans for the next two years would hurt public schools and working families. But they offered no alternative of their own, saying only that they want to be “part of the discussion” as the 2015 legislative session progresses.
President Obama drops in on Lawrence preschool before speech
January 22, 2015
Before his speech on the Kansas University campus Thursday, President Barack Obama paid a visit to a local Head Start preschool, drawing attention to his proposals to expand access to child care and early childhood education for working-class families. By Peter Hancock
I’m a Kansas Guy’: Thousands greet Obama during KU visit
January 22, 2015
President Barack Obama used Kansas University as a stage to campaign for budget proposals that he says are aimed at lifting the middle class. More than 7,000 people cheered as Obama called for expanding access to early childhood education and higher education, and economic development measures aimed at raising wages for American workers. By Peter Hancock
President Obama arrives in Lawrence for speech at KU on Thursday
January 21, 2015
President Barack Obama arrived in Lawrence on Wednesday night in advance of a speech he will deliver on the Kansas University campus Thursday.
Plan for state to take over OSHA enforcement still has some support
03:53 p.m., January 21, 2015 Updated 10:26 p.m.
Support for the idea of having the state take over enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Act lost more steam in a Senate committee when members learned it could not be used as a way to scale back workplace health and safety rules. But the idea may still be alive in the Kansas House. By Peter Hancock

Full story list

Recent photos

Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and Rep. Boog Highberger, D-Lawrence, speak to local Democratic Party activists Sunday night at Frank's North Star Tavern in North Lawrence. Democrats are gearing up for a battle over Gov. Sam Brownback's budget proposal, which calls for steep increases in liquor and cigarette taxes.

Ben Kohl, assistant director of financial aid at Kansas State University, shows the Kansas Board of Regents the manual of federal regulations that his and other financial aid offices have to use to determine whether students are eligible for Pell Grants, student loans, work study and other forms of student aid.

K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission members Dave Trabert, left, Ken Thiessen and Mike O'Neal listen as other members of the group discuss the commission's final report.

Sen. Terry Bruce, left, House Speaker Ray Merrick and Gov. Sam Brownback talk with Jamie Johnson of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before a meeting Tuesday of the State Finance Council. The council OK'd issuing $231.3 million in additional bonds to help finance the new Bio and Agro-Defense Facility being built near the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan.

Achievement gaps between white and black students have narrowed slightly since 2003. But black students are still three times more likely than whites to score below state standards in reading and math.

Full photo list