Governor's Council on Education presents ideas to improve Kansas schools

Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 6:29 PM CST
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After a year of work, the Governor's Council on Education presented its ideas to improve schools.

Governor Kelly said she is impressed with the ideas.

Some plans are already in a trial phase, and she believes the new ideas could impact all Kansas students.

Governor Laura Kelly said education has always been a passion of hers.

"It's one of the reasons that we moved to Kansas because of the terrific school's here," she said.

She created the Governor's Council on Education with a goal of finding ways to improve the learning process for students.

"I was just able to bring together lots of other passionate people who produced something that's going to make a huge difference for the kids and families in Kansas," Governor Kelly said.

The council issued five recommendations Thursday that would impact each age group from early education, into adulthood.

They include:

1. Establish a statewide public-private partnership. This new organization shall be tasked with matching philanthropic and private funds to support community-informed and identified approaches designed to fairly meet the needs of Kansas children and families.

2. Designate the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund to coordinate the Kansas Early Childhood Education Coordinating Council, to achieve the vision of universal and fair access to coordinated high-quality, mixed delivery programs serving children from birth to age 8, and be in accordance with Public Law 110-134.

3. Implement a real-world ready, comprehensive policy approach that ensures Kansas students have fair access to high quality, work-based learning experiences designed to prepare each student for post-secondary and workforce success in high-wage, high-demand and critical-need occupations throughout Kansas.

4. Establish a Work-Based Learning Coordinating Council charged with implementing a comprehensive and aligned policy approach focused on identification of “market value assets” or skills and credentials sought by industry; develop and disseminate best practices, guidelines, procedures and protocols for implementation of work-based learning, inclusive of market value assets; identify strategies to address struggles and challenges; and measures progress on key outcomes.

5. Establish the Advantage Kansas Coalition, charged with implementing a robust cross-agency strategic plan, intentionally focused on aligning education and training with the workforce/talent needs of business, industry and human services in the top eight sectors. The strategic plan shall chart the course focused on four overarching pillars: talent development, talent fulfillment, economic prosperity, and quality of life.

Governor Kelly said, "They've come up with some superb recommendations, all of which include a path forward. This is not a study that will go on a shelf and collect a bunch of dust. This is a working, living document that we and they will implement over time."

She now wants to meet with each group individually to discuss next steps.

The council's co-chair, Cynthia Lane said, "I think that means that the recommendations really resonated with her and that she's anxious and interested in moving them forward."

Their next meeting is not until February 20, 2020. Lane said that in the meantime they will meet with the Governor, work towards implementation of the recommendations, and talk about how to monitor the progress.