Denise Kahler, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
Highlights of the August State Board of Education meeting
TOPEKA – The State Board of Education approved submitting proposed amendments to regulation 91-31-32, Performance and Quality Criteria, to the Department of Administration and Attorney General for review. The action came during the board’s monthly meeting August 13-14 in Topeka. The amendments enhance history and government curriculum to include a Celebrate Freedom Week for grades kindergarten through eight as required by 2013 Kansas House Bill No. 2261. This represents the first step in the required adoption process. The motion was approved on a 9-1 vote, with Board member Sally Cauble voting no.
The enhanced requirements to history and government curriculum include instruction of the original intent, meaning and importance of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, in their historical context. After review by the Department of Administration and the Attorney General, the State Board will set a public hearing date for comments on the proposed regulations.
KSDE Information Technology Team Director Kathy Gosa presented information about student data collection practices, including what information is collected and how it is used. Schools are required to report only data necessary to support state and federal reporting and funding. Aggregate student data is used for school and district performance calculations, program monitoring and evaluation, school feedback reports, federal reporting and funding and public reporting. Individual student data are used for calculations for state funding, administering state assessments, authenticated reports back to school staff to inform instruction and to monitor and improve programs, Migrant Student Information eXchange, and approved studies through KSDE Data Request Review Board. KSDE enforces strict guidelines and careful oversight regarding who can access the data and how it is managed and only those authorized through KSDE’s Data Governance process with a “need to know” are provided data. Board members questioned whether KSDE collects information regarding an individual’s religious or political affiliations. KSDE staff emphasized that this information is not collected. General Counsel Cheryl Whelan provided a review of some of the key provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a privacy statue designed to protect the privacy interests of parents and students.
Deputy Commissioner Brad Neuenswander updated the board on two new ESEA flexibility waiver options available. The first option allows for delaying the use of student growth data until the 2016-2017 school year. The second option provides for students participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) field test to not be double tested. The recommendation was made to the board to seek both of these waivers.
Jay Scott, assistant director of Academic and Technical Education reported that by 2018, it is projected that 64 percent of jobs in Kansas will require some sort of post-secondary education. 2012 Senate Bill No. 155, which provides state dollars to pay college tuition for high school students earning college credits in technical courses and at the same time, earn an industry credential in a high-demand occupation, was developed to address this need. The original budget provided $8.5 million for tuition reimbursement of high school students enrolled in college CTE courses, but was increased to cover reimbursements totaling $12 million for 2012-2013. High schools receive an incentive of $1,000 for each student that earns one of the approved certifications through this program. In 2012-2013, $711,000 in incentives was awarded to Kansas schools. Nearly 100 approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways have been added for the 2013-2014 school year.
The board also received a briefing from KSDE Assessment Assistant Director Scott Smith on recent meetings with the Kansas College and Career Assessment Advisory Council and the Kansas Assessment Advisory Council to discuss 2015 assessment options. The groups identified four key options: Going with SBAC, contracting with an assessment vendor such as ACT, offering a hybrid option where districts can choose between using a state-provided default assessment or another approved assessment, or Kansas developing its own assessment through current contractor Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas. KSDE is currently exploring the hybrid option, which provides districts the ability to choose their preferred, approved assessment tool, and will present its final recommendation to the board in October.
Colleen Riley, director of KSDE’s Early Childhood Special Education and Title Programs presented an update on the Emergency Safety Interventions (ESI) regulations that went into effect April 19, 2013. KSDE is focused on the prevention of ESI by providing training on how to prevent the escalation of the behavior that would require its use. Regional training is currently taking place throughout the state, which includes training for parents to understand what ESI is and is not and training for staff on positive behavior supports and preventative measures. Each district must develop, implement and make accessible written polices to govern the use of ESI.
The next meeting of the State Board of Education will be September 17-18 in Topeka.