Friday, October 30, 2015

Low Miles, Only Driven on Sundays

On Tuesday, the Kansas State Board of Education released a new goal for Kansas Education- To lead the world in the success of every student.  A policy group that is often critical of Kansas Public Schools was quick to respond with a list of why Kansas schools are failing at this goal:

“Commissioner Watson said that 'Kansas leads the world in the success of every student.' That's a noble goal but unfortunately, this is not the case today.  The 2015 ACT shows only 32% of the 2015 graduating class was college-ready in English, Reading, Math and Science - and the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that low income students are several years' worth of learning behind everyone else "

"Kansas must be honest about student achievements, our lack of accountability in the finance formula, the great disparity in at-risk student progress, and travesty of remedial courses for high school graduates.”

Coincidentally, I was reading the State of Kansas Supreme Court Response Brief of the Appellant when I saw the news story.  Ironically, the Solicitor General of Kansas takes the opposite view of this policy group in his brief.  (My Junior English teacher would be so proud I knew the difference.)

The State of Kansas, in its argument Kansas Schools are adequately funded, makes strong student achievement it’s central argument:
 “Doomsday predictions, however, have proven to be pure hyperbole.” 

“KASB ranked Kansas number 5 in the country.”

“NAEP statistics tell a similar story of relative success.”

“In addition, Kansas has been addressing achievement gaps.”

            “Clearly Kansas high school students are doing well.”

Many in the Kansas Legislature have been critical of Kansas schools and often cite data from the aforementioned policy group.  But now the state’s Solicitor General is the chief cheerleader for education?  What gives?

My kids drove a 1984 Audi with 450,000 miles on it while they were in high school.  I avoided driving that smoke-belching beast at all costs.  It was a complete junker with no radio and no heater.  Ironically, when my kids argued for a newer model, I was adamant that car was just fine for getting to and from school!  Maybe one of the top five cars in the Emporia High School parking lot!!

In the interest of consistency, it seems the policy group should be testifying against the State of Kansas case on Friday?  Too bad witnesses cannot be called.

The KASB Board of Director’s have directed us to be a “Voice for Public Education.”  The important thing about being a voice is to be truthful and consistent in our positions.  KASB believes that Kansas schools are doing a great job of educating Kansas kids.  KASB also believes that Kansas schools need to get better.  KASB believes that it will take more resources to achieve the goal of “To lead the world in the success of every student.”