First Bell

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 ...

Instructions for online practice exams; anti-Common Core bill

Peter Hancock

As we reported this week, Kansas University's [Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation][1] recently unveiled online practice versions of the new state reading and math assessments that students will take this spring. But if anyone followed the hyperlink in the story we published, they may have had trouble finding the ...

Lawrence board opposes changing election cycles

Peter Hancock

Lawrence school board members indicated Monday night they plan to submit a joint written statement to a legislative committee opposing a bill that would change the election cycle for municipal elections. Board member Shannon Kimball testified against [House Bill 2227][1] Monday during a hearing before the House Elections Committee. It ...

New food policy could affect school fundraisers

Peter Hancock

The Lawrence school board is considering a new policy that could cut into some fundraising activities like bake sales and pizza parties. The policy would prohibit the sale of "competitive foods" — defined as any food or beverage service available to students that is separate and apart from the district’s ...

In pre-State of the State remarks, Brownback sought common ground with school superintendents

Peter Hancock

TOPEKA - A few hours before his State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Sam Brownback addressed a gathering of school superintendents in an effort to find some kind of common ground, or at least mutual respect. At the same time, though, he acknowledged that he has a different view ...

The good news about high school graduation rates, in two maps

Peter Hancock

This week, the Lawrence school board and the Kansas State Board of Education will discuss graduation rates and other statistics that are indicators about how well schools are performing. There are troubling signs in those numbers, especially those that point to wide disparities between racial and economic classes. But here's ...

No new faces on House panel to push for charter schools

Peter Hancock

Education lobbyists at the Kansas Statehouse were surprised to hear Monday that there will be no changes in the makeup of the House Education Committee, where a bill to greatly expand the state's charter school law [failed last year][1] by a single vote. Republican House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, announced ...

Top three ways Supreme Court could avoid school finance showdown

Peter Hancock

One week out from the start of the legislative session, and everyone is still waiting with bated breath for the Kansas Supreme Court to rule in the school finance case. Which leaves pundits and gadflies little else to do for the time being than to sit around and speculate about ...

KPI admits to faulty poll question

Peter Hancock

Last week we ran a [story about a poll][1] on school finance issues conducted by the conservative think tank [Kansas Policy Institute][2], including reaction from education advocates who said the questions were loaded with false or misleading information that appeared aimed at eliciting a negative response. At the time, KPI ...

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