Gov. Colyer re-introduces education council

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Governor Jeff Colyer signed an executive order at Jardine Academy Tuesday, creating the P20 education council.

The council was active under former Kansas governors Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson.

"I want to be a neurosurgeon,” said Jardine student Alyssa Stewart. “If you want to do that you have to graduate college, so it's important to have a good education.”

Stewart will need years of education to make her medical mark. Gov. Colyer hopes she’ll stay in Kansas to do it.

"That's what this is about today,” said Colyer. “How do we encourage and enhance schools, our education so that our jobs are here."

The council aims to keep more Kansas graduates on the work force in their own state.

"The mission will be to create a streamlined process for educating Kansas students and help them advance their career opportunities beyond high school graduation,” Colyer said.

The 16-member council will be headed by Commissioner of Education Randy Watson and the President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, Blake Flanders.

"We know now that all of the new jobs that are being created require some skills beyond high school so if we focused only on high school we're selling short the opportunities for our young Kansans,” Flanders said.

Department of Commerce's Education Executive, Diane DeBacker says it shows Colyer is putting education first.

“He realizes that education is important to growing the economy, to growing the workforce, to having businesses locate here and then want to stay in Kansas,” DeBacker said.

She says school funding is not the mission of this council.

"Of course the initiatives that we put forward may have a price tag to them but no, school funding is not the purpose of this,” DeBacker said.

The council will align with the Kansans Can initiative to focus on individual student success.