First Bell

Departing assistant superintendent to work for Fort Hays State

Peter Hancock

Adam Holden is going back to work for Fort Hays State University after his resignation as assistant superintendent in the Lawrence school district takes effect July 1, although he plans to continue living in the Lawrence area. Holden said this week he will become chair of the Department of Teacher ...

Common Core wrongly tied to data project

Peter Hancock

The [Common Core standards][1] in reading and math in Kansas do not require states to collect massive amounts of personal data on every student. Nor is the Kansas State Department of Education taking part in any new national or international data mining system. At least that's the assurance from Kansas ...

Suggested readings about the Common Core controversy, pro and con

Peter Hancock

There was plenty of vitriol and hyperbole going around the statehouse in the final few days of the session as conservatives made a last-minute attempt to block any public funds from being used to implement the Common Core standards in reading and math, and to prevent the State Board of ...

Legislature dodges a bullet with Common Core and science standards

Peter Hancock

The Kansas House on Saturday narrowly defeated a bill that almost certainly would have resulted in a costly – and potentially embarrassing, for the Legislature – lawsuit over who controls the content and standards for public education. [House Bill 2391][1] was forced onto the House and Senate floors in the ...

Brownback signs 'Celebrate Freedom Week' bill

Peter Hancock

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill Thursday that establishes "Celebrate Freedom Week" during the week of Sept. 17 and requires schools to teach students about the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence in grades K-8 each year during that week. The Sept. 17 date marks the anniversary of ...

Why are graduations in the middle of the week?

Peter Hancock

Apparently there has been some amount of grumbling among parents and others about the fact that the Lawrence school district is holding high schol graduation ceremonies in the middle of the week this year. For some people, that may cause problems, especially for parents who typically work evening shifts, and ...

Push-back on Common Core not unique to Kansas

Peter Hancock

Opponents of the Common Core standards in reading and math haven't given up on their last-minute push to get something through the Kansas Legislature this year. According to [a story earlier today by Scott Rothschild][1], the Tea Party-affiliated group FreedomWorks sent out a call to its members, urging them to ...

Kansas science and math teachers easily recruited away

Peter Hancock

Last week, Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis posed a riddle to the State Board of Education. A couple of years ago, he said, Fort Hays State University graduated two new physics teachers. He asked the board to guess which school district hired them. The answer: None. They went to work ...

Ad campaign accuses Kansas schools of low academic standards

Peter Hancock

The conservative think tank [Kansas Policy Institute][1] has been running ads the past couple of weeks asserting that the state has low academic standards in reading and math, an assertion that state officials have repeatedly dismissed. The ads, which have been running in the Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita media ...

No concealed carry in Lawrence schools

Peter Hancock

Teachers and staff in the Lawrence school district will not be allowed to carry firearms on school property, even if they have a concealed permit. That was the word from school board president Vanessa Sanburn who said the district would not change its weapons policy, despite passage of a new ...

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