First Bell

KNEA uses 'thunderclap' to spread word on education bill

Peter Hancock

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, there was an unusual spike in the Twitter hashtag #ksleg, which reporters, lobbyists and other political junkies use to highlight items about the Kansas Legislature. That spike, which shows up in the graphic below, was no accident. It was the result of a new kind of ...

State board member says Common Core battle not over

Peter Hancock

Topeka — Kansas State Board of Education member Ken Willard said today that the legislative battles over the new Common Core standards are far from over this year. Willard, from Hutchinson, is considered a reliably conservative Republican, but he has broken ranks with the majority of his party by openly ...

School finance: How solving one constitutional problem can create many more

Peter Hancock

As the Kansas Legislature tries to fix one set of constitutional problems with education funding, it'll be interesting to see whether they create a whole host of new ones, or at least open up a can of constitutional worms, simply in the way they're going about it. The Kansas Supreme ...

Court compliance deadline comes earlier for schools than for Legislature

Peter Hancock

The Kansas Supreme Court has given the Legislature until July 1 to correct two problems in the state's school funding system, but school districts themselves are facing an earlier deadline, and it's one that Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll says he'd rather not even think about. By May 16, under [Kansas ...

Committees act on local elections; discuss teacher licensing

Peter Hancock

Topeka - A Senate committee today advanced a bill that would change the election cycle so that school board, city government and other municipal elections would be held in November of even-numbered years so they would coincide with state and federal elections. But the panel agreed not to include a ...

Court ruling may be political success, but educational failure

Peter Hancock

The Kansas Supreme Court accomplished one remarkable thing with its [school finance ruling][1] last week. It threaded the needle so carefully that nearly everyone — at least in the political arena — walked away feeling like they'd won a little something. That's not bad, considering that before the decision nearly ...

Poll shows most Kansans want court to order more school funding; Davis has slight lead over Brownback; Roberts faces challenge

Peter Hancock

A new poll out today shows that by a wide margin, most Kansans believe public schools are underfunded and want the Kansas Supreme Court to step in by ordering more funding. [The survey][1] by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in North Carolina, found 59 percent of those responding ...

NEA president's letter on Common Core sparks discussion

Peter Hancock

Critics of the Common Core standards for reading and math probably think they got a boost this week when the head of the nation's largest teachers union called for a "course correction" on how they are being implemented. In a [statement posted online][1] Wednesday, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel wrote: ...

Anyone can read the Common Core standards; here they are

Peter Hancock

State Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, who is leading an effort to nullify the Common Core state standards for reading and math, is now denying he ever told the Journal-World that [he hasn't read them][1]. At least that's what the Wichita Eagle is reporting in [a story posted on that ...

Education panels to discuss data privacy, sex education, Common Core, charter schools

Peter Hancock

The Kansas House and Senate Education Committees will be busy this week discussing data privacy, sex education, the Common Core standards and charter schools. Concerns about data gathering and student privacy have been part of the [conservative backlash][1] against the Common Core standards, with many groups [claiming falsely][2] that the ...

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