Monday, September 17, 2012

Kansas officials want better education coordination

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

State officials want to revive a group to work on ways to better align education from pre-kindergarten through college.

In meetings of the Kansas Board of Regents and State Board of Education, members have said there is a need for the state to continue improving coordination of all aspects of education and training.

On Thursday, the Board of Regents, during its monthly meeting, is expected to approve a set of goals that includes working to establish an Education System Coordinating Council.

Under the proposal, the council will be composed of two Board of Regents members, two members of the State Board of Education, the commissioner of education and the chief executive officer of the regents.

The council will identify one to three projects per year aimed at improving integration of the education system between pre-kindergarten and higher education.

A similar effort was made in 2008 by executive order from then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

That order established the Kansas P-20 Education Council, which issued its final report just days after Gov. Sam Brownback took office in January 2011.

The P-20 Council had 22 members representing education and the business community. Its final report recommended strengthening early-childhood education and exploring ways to align education sectors.

At a recent meeting of the Legislative Educational Planning Committee, legislators said they would like coordinating efforts to continue.

“I don’t want to lose that,” said state Rep. Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center.

Regents President and CEO Andy Tompkins said the way the Education System Coordinating Council is proposed may make it easier to keep it going.