OLATHE, Kan. — How can leaders in Kansas improve K-12 education throughout the state?
Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson and Deputy Commissioner Dr. Brad Neuenswander are searching for the answer. They’re traveling to school districts across the state to get feedback through the Kansas Can Success tour.
On Friday, more than 50 parents, teachers and business members met in Olathe to brainstorm ways schools can better prepare students for the workforce.
Watson said while graduation rates across the state are at an all time high, more can be done as the state redefines what is important in the realm of education.
At each stop on the tour the commissioners provide information on school resources, graduation rates and what skills local employers feel recent graduates are lacking.
The 50-city tour is a follow-up to the Kansas Children, Kansas’ Future tour in 2015. In 2015, roughly 2,400 people attended the tour. Neuenswander said so far about 3,500 people have attended the tour so far.
“We’ve had a lot of community members, parents, students, business members, higher [education] employees that have attended these [meetings]. We’ve been extremely pleased with the variety of attendance that we’ve received,” Neuenswander said.
When the tour ends all community responses will be compiled by McREL International. That data will then be passed onto the Kansas State Board of Education in early November.
“That is the kind of information the state board desires to look at if there are any changes in direction that we’re going. If we need to shift any resources from the state level that would help school districts. The state board will take all this information and inform where we go for the next two, three years,” Neuenswander said.
The tour will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Richard Warren Middle School, located at 3501 New Lawrence Road in Leavenworth. You can find a full list of tour dates and locations on the KSDE website.
Anyone unable to attend a meeting can submit their thoughts to the education commissioner via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.