Special to The Hays Daily News
The Kansas Association of School Boards released new research showing that while the state’s overall education rank remains high, it has slipped in some key areas. The changes have taken place while other states have increased school funding much more than Kansas.
The report focuses on educational outcomes reflected by the Kansas State Board of Education’s Kansans Can vision, workforce educational needs and the standards set by the Kansas Supreme Court for constitutional funding.
“This report is an early warning that Kansans can’t be complacent about our historically high levels of achievement,” said KASB’s Associate Executive Director Mark Tallman. “If the state wishes to retain its high rank — and improve it to truly lead the world in the success of each student — policymakers and other leaders must acknowledge the role funding plays in educational achievement levels not only in Kansas but nationwide.”
Kansas now ranks 10th in the nation in overall student outcomes while ranking 29th in total revenue per pupil. Each state that ranks higher than Kansas spends more per pupil. In addition, 37 states have increased funding more than Kansas since 2008. During that period, Kansas teacher salaries have not kept pace with most other states.
Kansas has better educational outcomes on average than its peers — those most like Kansas in terms of student characteristics, adult populations and urban/rural balance — and spends less per pupil. However, peer states have generally been improving faster and increasing funding more than Kansas.
Although Kansas has improved on most education measures, especially educational attainment by young adults, declines on national fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math tests could indicate future problems if corrective action is not taken.
The full report card and supplement can be found at www.kasb.org/reportcard2016.