State Board News September 2013
KSDE Office Moves
Kansas State Board of Education bid farewell to its home of more than 50 years as it hosted its final board meeting in the Scott Building on September 17 and 18. KSDE will relocate it's offices to the Landon Building as of October 28. Commissioner Diane DeBacker explained that the lease on the Scott Building is up at the end of the year resulting in a need for the agency to relocate. Long time KSDE employees Lue Ann Snider and Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis provided the board with a historical perspective of the building since the agency located there in 1966. Because the agency will be in transition througout the month of October, Commissioner DeBacker reminded the board that its October meeting will tkae place in the State House.
New Measures Passed Relative to Licensing
In response to discussions during the August board meeting concerning KSA 72-1329 relative to the issuance and/or renewal of teaching licenses of individuals convicted of crimes provided in the state, the board approved implementing new measures that would strengthen the law or require changes in rules and regulations. KSA 72-1397 specifically provides that the State Board of Education shall not knowingly issue a license to or renew the license of any person who is convicted of numerous crimes outlined in the statute. The law futher provides in Section (e) that the district or county attorney shall file a report with the State Board of Education indicating the name, address, and social security number of any person who has been determined to have committed any offense or act outlined in the statute or entered into a criminal diversion agreement after having been charged with any of the crimes outlined in the law. Such reports shall be filed within 30 days of the date of the determination that the person has committed any such act or entering into a diversion agreement.
Currently, No Changes in Fingerprint Requirements
As of 2002, all teacher license applicants are required to submit fingerprints but those already licensed were grandfathered from this requirement.
During their September meeting, the State Board of Education approved the development of a regulation change that would phase in a requirement that all renewals for licenses would require a fingerprint background check. Any educator who has not undergone a fingerprint check during a licensure application process would be held to the requirement.
At this time, there has not been a change in regulations. The current regulatory requirement of a fingerprint background check for the first Kansas license and/or an expired Kansas license is in force. Adoption and implementation of a regulation amendment would occur eight or nine months in the future. Until amended regulations are implemented, the current regulation requirements will continue to be enforced.
It is estimated that 35,000 licensed teachers do not have fingerprints on file. The board voted 9-1, with Steve Roberts voting no, to pursue implementing the following options: 1) Phase in a requirement that all renewals for licenses would require a fingerprint check. Within five years, all teachers licensed in Kansas would have fingerprints on file. 2) Develop an electgronic form that would be sent to each county and district attorney specifically requesting a monthly report. 3) Request the Kansas Supreme Court education liaison to include this provision in the law in future education meetings with county and district attorneys. 4) Request the Attorney General send a letter to all county and district attorneys call their attention to the law and the importance of ensuring the reports are filed in a timely manner; and requesting assistance from the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association in implementing the provisions of KSA 72-1397.
2013 ACT Results
Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker presented Kansas' 2013 ACT results, which were not released in time to present at the board's August meeting. Overall, Kansas' composite score remained steady, decreasing by only one-tenth of a point but still tracking well ahead of the average national composite score. Dr. DeBacker also shared that while the number of Kansas high school graduating seniors participating in the 2013 ACT test set an all-time record high, they represented just 75% of Kansas high school graduting seniors. DeBacker said the increased interest in career and tech education (SB 155) may have impacted this number.
SMARTER Balance Assessment Test
Dr. Scott Smith, director of Career, Standards and Assessment Services, reported that the SMARTER Balance field assessment will be issued to approximately 10% of students this spring. The remaining 90% of students will take the transitional assessment being developed by CETE. Dr. Smith reminded the board of the Kansas College and Career Ready Assessment Advisory Committee's recommendation to offer a hybrid approach to state assessments. Schools will be able to choose whether to use the state-developed assessment or another that has been approved. The board will be presented with a demonstration of the four assessment options prior to voting on a vendor in December.
Kansas College and Career Ready Standards Communications Toolkit
Denise Kahler, director of communications, presented the board with a newly developed Kansas College and Career Ready Standards Communications Toolkit, which provides talking points, fact sheets, community outreach and social media strategies, and other communications tools to assist with communicating information about Common Core State Standards. Recent polls published by PDK/Gallup and AP/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research revealed a lack of awareness and understanding of Common Core among the general public as well as parents of K-12 students. KSDE has distributed items from the toolkit to school leaders and is making the toolkit available on its website. Kahler shared that KSDE is using Twitter to push out one fact about Common Core per day. Additionally, KSDE will submit a letter to the Kansas Republican Part in response to its adopted resolution to reject Common Core.
New KSDE Address
Please make note of KSDE's new address - Kansas State Board of Education, Division of Learning Services, 900 SW Jackson Ave Ste 656, Topeka, KS 66612.
October State Board Meeting
The next Kansas State Board of Education meeting will be at the State House on October 15 and 16, 2013.