Wichita and Kansas schools

Kansas school spending, through 2020

Kansas school spending, through 2020

Charts of Kansas school spending presented in different forms. Recently Kansas State Department of Education released spending figures for the 2020 school year, that is, the school year starting in 2019 and ending in 2020. One of the most important charts shows state spending per-pupil, adjusted for inflation. It shows the total of state and local spending, which is useful because in 2015 the state made a change in the way revenue is allocated between state and local sources. It also shows base state aid per pupil, which is an important number as it is the starting point for the…
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Kansas school employment

Kansas school employment

Kansas school employment rose for the current school year. Figures released by the Kansas State Department of Education show the number of teachers and certified employees rose for the 2019-2020 school year. The number of Pre-K through grade 12 teachers rose to 31,337 from 31,153, an increase of 0.59 percent. Certified employees rose to 43,305 from 42,861, or by 1.04 percent. [1. According to KSDE, certified employees include Superintendent, Assoc./Asst. Superintendents, Administrative Assistants, Principals, Assistant Principals, Directors/Supervisors Spec. Ed., Directors/Supervisors of Health, Directors/Supervisors Career/Tech Ed, Instructional Coordinators/Supervisors, All Other Directors/Supervisors, Other Curriculum Specialists, Practical Arts/Career/Tech Ed Teachers, Special Ed. Teachers,…
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Performance levels in Wichita schools

Performance levels in Wichita schools

There is some good news in the performance level reports for Wichita public schools. Since 2015, Kansas test scores have been reported in a new way. Kansas State Department of Education explains: Kansas assessment results are now reported in four levels. Level 1 indicates that a student shows a limited ability to understand and use the mathematics skills and knowledge needed for college and career readiness. Level 2 indicates that a student shows a basic ability to understand and use the mathematics skills and knowledge needed for college and career readiness. Level 3 indicates that a student shows an effective…
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Kansas school salaries

Kansas school salaries

Kansas school salaries, visualized. This is an interactive visualization of Kansas school salaries for superintendents, principals, and teachers, for each school district. To learn more about the data and use the visualization, click here. Following, an example from the visualization.
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Wichita public schools, by the charts

Wichita public schools, by the charts

Data from the annual report for the 2018-2019 school year for USD 259, the Wichita, Kansas public school district. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for USD 259, the Wichita public school district, provides a look at trends over the years. The document, along with those from previous years, is available here. Here are some highlights from the CAFR for the year ending June 30, 2019, known as fiscal year 2019. The CAFR was released in December 2019. (Click charts for larger versions.) The following chart shows data from the CAFR along with my calculations. I took two data series, "total…
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Kansas sees large drop in test scores

Kansas sees large drop in test scores

Using demographically-adjusted scores, Kansas falls in state rankings of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The U.S. Department of Education, through the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), conducts the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) every other year. Known as "The Nation's Report Card," it is "the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas." The results for 2019 were released last week, and Kansas does not do well. Looking at state rankings, here are the findings based on demographically-adjusted scores. Grade 4 math: In 2017, Kansas ranked 16.…
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From Pachyderm: Wichita school board candidates

From Pachyderm: Wichita school board candidates

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club this week: Candidates for the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district. This was recorded October 4, 2019. In board district 3, incumbent Ernestine Krehbiel is running unopposed, so this event did not include that district. In board district 4, the candidates are James W. Kilpatrick, Jr. and Stan Reeser (incumbent). For the at-large board district, which covers the entire school district, the candidates are Sheril Logan (incumbent) and Joseph Shepard. Of note, the boundaries of the Wichita school district are not the same as the City of Wichita boundaries. Substantial parts of…
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Wichita public schools, by the charts

Wichita public schools, by the charts

Data from the annual report for USD 259, the Wichita, Kansas, public school district. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for USD 259, the Wichita public school district, provides a look at trends over the years. The document, along with those from previous years, is available here. Here are some highlights from the CAFR for the year ending June 30, 2018, known as fiscal year 2018. (Click charts for larger versions.) The following chart shows data from the CAFR along with my calculations. I took two data series, "total revenue" and "sum of state and local revenue," then divided by FTE…
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Kansas tax credit scholarship program

Kansas tax credit scholarship program

An op-ed in the Wichita Eagle regarding school choice prompts uninformed and misinformed comments. An op-ed written by James Franko appearing in the Wichita Eagle explains the importance of the Kansas Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program. This is a program that awards scholarships to students to attend schools of choice. It is a small program. For the school year ending in 2018, 292 students received scholarships totaling $675,892.63. This represents one of every 9,606 dollars spent on Kansas schools. For each group of 1,632 Kansas students, one received a tax credit scholarship. Yet, this program is seen…
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Kansas school salaries

Kansas school salaries

An interactive visualization of Kansas school salaries by district and category. This visualization holds salaries of Kansas school superintendents, principals, and teachers. The visualization shows the average for each of these categories for each school district. The values are adjusted for inflation to the most current year values. Some data is presented on a per-pupil basis using full-time equivalent student counts. The visualization includes both tables and charts. The source of the data is Kansas State Department of Education for salaries and enrollments, United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for price levels, and author's calculations. Click here to access the…
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Kansas school spending, through 2018

Kansas school spending, through 2018

Charts of Kansas school spending presented in different forms. Recently Kansas State Department of Education released spending figures for the 2018 school year, that is, the school year starting in 2017 and ending in 2018. One of the most important charts shows state spending per-pupil, adjusted for inflation. It shows the total of state and local spending, which is useful because in 2015 the state made a change in the way revenue is allocated between state and local sources. It also shows base state aid per pupil, which is an important number as it is the starting point for the…
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Wichita school spending, according to the Wichita Eagle

Wichita school spending, according to the Wichita Eagle

A recent editorial by the largest newspaper in Kansas misinforms its readers. "For too many years, the [Wichita public school] district was constrained by reduced state spending on public-school children. School systems across Kansas tightened belts to the point of being unable to breathe." [1. Wichita Eagle Editorial Board. *A well-funded Wichita school district. A sight this city’s children deserve." August 10, 2018. Available at https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article216418710.html.] So says a recent editorial in the Wichita Eagle, the largest newspaper in Kansas. What does the data tell us? Data from the Kansas State Department of Education for the school year ending in…
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From Pachyderm: Candidates for State Board of Education, District 7

From Pachyderm: Candidates for State Board of Education, District 7

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Candidates for State Board of Education, District 7. Republican candidates appearing are Robert M. D’Andrea and Ben Jones. This was recorded on July 20, 2018. Kenneth Willard is the current member for district 7. He is not seeking election. The winner of the August primary election will meet the Democratic party candidate in the November general election. The Kansas State Board of Education has ten districts, each being composed of four Kansas Senate districts. District 7 covers portions of central and east-central Kansas, including these cities: Alma, Emporia, Matfield Green, Marion, McPherson, Ellsworth, Lyons, Hutchinson,…
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Kansas teachers union compliance instructions released

Kansas teachers union compliance instructions released

If you're running for office in Kansas and want the support of the teachers union, here are questions you'll need to answer their way. Kansas National Education Association (KNEA), our state's teachers union has a questionnaire for candidates running for elective office. It's really not a series of questions; instead it is a list of things the union wants. Candidates seeking union backing are expected to comply. Following are a sample of questions with some commentary. The full questionnaire may be viewed here. Question: "Do you support requiring that bonuses and/or incentive pay including any form of 'merit pay' be…
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Kansas school standards remain high

Kansas school standards remain high

Kansas school assessment standards remain at a high level, compared to other states. This is a welcome change from the past. To evaluate the performance of their schools and students, states have their own assessments or tests. Some states have rigorous standards, meaning that to be considered "proficient," students must perform at a high level. But some states are less rigorous. They rate students "proficient" at a much lower level of performance. How can we tell which states have high standards, and which states have low standards? There is a test that is the same in all states, the National…
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What is the real problem at Wichita Southeast?

What is the real problem at Wichita Southeast?

There is likely a different explanation for problems at a Wichita high schools from what we've been told by the school district and our newspaper. Recently the Wichita Eagle editorial board opined about problems with Wichita Southeast High School. That editorial was based on Eagle reporting in the article The new Southeast High is bigger and better. So why is its graduation rate dropping? Sociologist Chase Billingham offers commentary and insight in his piece Southeast’s grad rate more about discipline: The Wichita school district officials and The Eagle Editorial Board said the slipping graduation rate was partially attributable to the…
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Does School Choice Kill Public Schools?

Does School Choice Kill Public Schools?

Does School Choice Kill Public Schools? By Lori Graham Recently, I asked Kris Kobach, candidate for Kansas Governor, if he supports school choice. His answer was “Yes," and he gave an idea of how that would work. The liberal media pounced on his idea and twisted his answer in a way that perpetuates the fear that allowing parents to choose what is best for their child’s education will kill the public school system. Conservatives and liberals alike are fearful about this, but will it really kill the public schools? To answer this, we need to first look at the problem.…
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Reestablishing a Fundamental Principle of Democracy

Reestablishing a Fundamental Principle of Democracy

Reestablishing a Fundamental Principle of Democracy Alan Cobb, Kansas Chamber President & CEO The words of a recent guest editorial in the Lawrence Journal-World about the Kansas Coalition for Fair Funding were not surprising. It was a continuation of the intellectually shallow, fact-short screed about taxes, school finance, and the Kansas budget. Certainly, reasonable people can disagree about these issues, but partisans rarely adhere to that theorem. And thus, I thought I was reading something from a partisan staffer. Alas, it was from a well-respected Wichita State University professor emeritus who I have known for decades. I’ve not always agreed…
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NAEP 2017 for Kansas, first look

NAEP 2017 for Kansas, first look

A look at National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores for Kansas and the nation, grade 4 reading. Today the National Center for Education Statistics released the main NAEP scores for 2017. NAEP -- National Assessment of Educational Progress -- is known as the "Nation's Report Card." [2. United States Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Available at https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/.] It is a test that is the same in all states, and is the primary means of comparing states. [3. NAEP Overview Available at https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/.] The main NAEP tests two subjects, math and reading, in…
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Kansas and Iowa schools

Kansas and Iowa schools

Should Kansas schools aspire to be more like Iowa schools? The Kansas Association of School Boards lists Iowa as an "aspirational" state, that is, one that Kansas should consider a role model. I've gathered some data from both states. The United States Census Bureau collects data from the states as part of its Annual Survey of School System Finances program. [1. U.S. Census Bureau. Annual Survey of School System Finances. Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/school-finances.html.] Data is available through fiscal year 2015. The National Education Association also gathers data. [2. National Education Association. Rankings of States and Estimates of School Statistics. Available…
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