Kansas Policy Institute lays out plan to increase student success
By “Giving Kids a Fighting Chance,” the Kansas Policy Institute aims to improve the state of K-12 education in Kansas.
“The lack of accountability for improving achievement, combined with education officials giving parents a false impression of high achievement, is depriving tens of thousands of students of having a chance to be successful in life,” Dave Trabert, CEO of Kansas Policy Institute, told The Center Square. “According to the Kansas Department of Education, there are more high school students below grade level in Kansas than are on track for college and career. But state and local education officials falsely claim Kansas is among the top ten states for student achievement.”\
KPI recently presented a documentary in Topeka, “Giving Kids a Fighting Chance,” that shows how Florida dramatically improved its student achievement.
KSNT reports the information is born of standardized testing scores, reading proficiency among students and more.
“Our plan for improving public education is based on the proven methods that propelled Florida students from about the worst in the nation to nearly the best – choice, transparency, accountability, and the courage to implement the plan,” Trabert said. “These student-focused reforms give every child an equal opportunity to get the education they deserve.”
These initiatives include parental choice, breaking the public school monopoly; transparency in describing results of state achievement tests; and accountability measures that ensure that students can read at grade level before being promoted.
The Kansas Department of Education reports that Black students are more than twice as likely to be below grade level in high school than white students. White students are about four times as likely to be on track for college and career. While the Legislature has provided about $5 billion more to close those achievement gaps, a 2019 Legislative Post Audit found most of that funding they reviewed “was used for teachers and programs for all students and did not appear to specifically address at-risk students as required by state law.”
“School districts know they are giving diplomas to kids reading below grade level,” Trabert said. “Patting themselves on the back for improving the graduation rate while setting kids up for failure is a mockery of their supposed devotion to equity, and that won’t change without legislative intervention to give kids a fighting chance.”
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