KU Adds Legislative Liason
January 2, 2014

(AP) – The University of Kansas has hired a legislative liaison from the state Department of Transportation as the school’s new advocate at the Statehouse.

The university announced the appointment of Lindsey Douglas as director of state relations this week.

The Lawrence Journal-World reported Douglas will play a major role in changing the university’s strategy for dealing with state policymakers and try to persuade the GOP-dominated Legislature to restore budget cuts made last year.

She will be the primary contact between the university and state government officials in the $85,000-a-year position.

Douglas has been chief of policy and legislative affairs at KDOT since August 2010. She joined the agency in 2009 and has also worked at the Kansas Department of Agriculture

Brownback and Kansas Launch Grade School Reading Program
November 14, 2013

(AP) – Kansas school officials and other community organizations are joining Gov. Sam Brownback to announce a plan to improve reading proficiency among grade-school students.

The Republican governor scheduled the announcement Thursday afternoon at a Topeka Boys and Girls Club center.

Brownback is to be joined by school officials from Chetopa, Galena and Pittsburg and representatives of the University of Kansas, the Kansas Enrichment Network and other organizations.

Brownback has focused on improving grade-school reading proficiency since he first ran for governor in 2010. This year he proposed legislation to hold back students who were not proficient in reading. The measure was heavily modified before stalling in the Legislature.

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.