Kansas governor issues order on foster children’s education

photo by: Associated Press

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, right, answers questions from reporters about her plans to merge social services agencies as Laura Howard, left, her top social services administrator, watches during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kansas. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order on Tuesday that will require the state to track foster children’s progress in school, shortly after having vetoed a similar bill last month.

In an annual report card detailing the academic progress and classroom struggles of children in its care, Kelly’s order will require the state Department of Education to work with the Department for Children and Families to prepare the report and submit it by January 15 of each year to the education committees in both legislative chambers, according to The Kansas City Star.

Kelly had initially vetoed the bill on June 1, saying the state couldn’t afford it.

“This executive order is another step my administration is taking to improve outcomes for vulnerable children in the foster care system,” Kelly said in a statement accompanying her order. “Education is key to a strong future workforce in Kansas. This report will help us track educational outcomes of Kansas students in foster care — which will in turn help Kansas’ vulnerable families, and make our public education system more accountable.”

The report card will contain graduation rates of Kansas foster kids, suspension rates and standardized test scores. Each category also will include race and ethnicity data.

Kelly’s order says that “as their legal custodian, the State of Kansas bears a heightened responsibility to make every effort to ensure Kansas students in foster care receive a quality education.”

Laura Howard, secretary for DCF, applauded Kelly and her order and said her agency is already working with the Department of Education to begin gathering data.


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