Kansas Educators Want Common Core Standards Lawsuit Dropped
December 6, 2013

(AP) – Kansas education officials are seeking dismissal of a federal lawsuit over new, multistate science standards filed by a group that claims the guidelines promote atheism and violate students’ religious freedoms.

Attorneys for the State Board of Education, its 10 members, the Department of Education and Commissioner Diane DeBacker filed the request Thursday.

They argued that Citizens for Objective Public Education and the 15 parents who joined it in challenging the standards can’t show they were harmed by the state board’s adoption of them in June. Among other things, the suing parties object to how evolution is handled.

State lawyers said the state board provides only general supervision of local schools, and decisions about what’s taught are made locally.

An attorney for the suing parties didn’t immediately return a telephone message.

Kansas Educators May Consider New Statewide Tests
November 13, 2013

(AP) – Kansas State Board of Education members are preparing to consider a proposal for a multistate group to develop new, standardized tests for public schools.

The proposal on Wednesday’s agenda comes from the state Department of Education.

Commissioner Diane DeBacker said the department wants the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to develop math, reading and language arts tests to be given first in spring 2015.

Kansas is among 21 states involved in running the consortium, which is based in Washington state. Under the department’s plan, the University of Kansas would still administer the tests developed by the multistate group.

The university has developed tests in the past.

The new tests would be based on multistate, common core standards. The standards have been attacked by conservatives as endangering local and state control of education.

Common Core Critics Go to Kansas Board of Education
May 14, 2013

(AP) – Critics of the Kansas Board of Education’s decision to adopt the Common Core Standards for math and reading are preparing to voice their concerns to the panel.

The objections were expected to be raised Tuesday at the board’s monthly meeting.

Kansas is among 46 states that have adopted the Common Core Standards, which set out the academic expectations for students from kindergarten through high school. Kansas adopted the standards in 2010 and school districts have begun implementing them in the classrooms and training teachers.

Critics argue that Common Core is too expensive and gives up local districts’ control over education standards to a national consortium.

Supporters say the standards will increase academic rigor.

Kansas Education Board on Verge of Setting New Standards for History Studies
April 9, 2013

(AP) – The State Board of Education is preparing to approve changes in the material that Kansas students are expected to know in history, government and social studies.

The new standards were developed over the past two years for kindergarten through high school. Kansas students would be asked to better understand the context of what they learn, not just memorize names and dates.

Board members will adopt the changes at their April 16 meeting in Topeka.

The new standards replace those that had been in place for Kansas schools since 2004. Students will take tests based on the standards starting in 2016.

Local school boards will be responsible for developing and approving curriculum that follows the new standards, including the purchase of textbooks.

Kansas School Task Force May Offer Limits on Teacher Union Rights
December 19, 2012

A Kansas State school board member indicates there may be a push in 2013 to limit the bargaining rights of union teachers in Kansas, according to the Topeka Capital Journal.
The report says Kansas Board of Education member Ken Willard and his education task for may include the proposal in a series of reforms that are presented next year. Willard briefed a legislative committee recently on the plans, according to the newspaper.
According to the report, the task force may not make a specific list of which bargaining rights it wants to restrict. Instead the panel will recommend the legislature look at which items it may want to examine.
Willard told the Capital Journal a smaller set of negotiating items may make it easier and more efficient for Kansas school superintendents to handle their budgets.
“The idea that they could be more efficient if they didn’t have to listen to teachers is absurd,” Mark Desetti of the Kansas National Education Association told the Capital Journal. “The idea of saying we don’t trust teachers (to negotiate), they shouldn’t have that right, is just wrong.”
Willard said the bargaining rights of Kansas teachers may be one of 10 recommendations the task force makes to the lawmakers