Martin do Nascimento / Texas Tribune

The Texas State Board of Education has rejected the option of creating an expert panel to identify errors in textbooks. Several weeks ago a Houston mother sparked a nationwide uproar over a caption in her son’s textbook that described African slaves as “workers.” The new proposal would have created oversight to prevent inaccurate information from being printed in textbooks. But that the 15-member panel narrowly voted down the measure, reports The Texas Tribune.

Creative Commons

Last week in Topeka, lawmakers launched a special committee to come up with a new school finance formula and to study student educational outcomes, according to The Wichita Eagle. The committee hopes to improve efficiency in Kansas public schools. The 15-person committee, made up of Kansas House and Senate members, is known as The Special Committee on K-12 Student Success. The group began by reviewing classroom expenses and teacher pay and benefits.

Topeka Capital-Journal

Sam Brownback is concerned about the efficacy of various pre-kindergarten programs in the state, and the Kansas governor has set up a task force to investigate ways to more effectively prepare children for kindergarten. Dozens of public and private organizations operate early-education programs in Kansas, reports the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Ross Ramsey / Texas Tribune

Earlier this month, a Houston-area mother took to social media to complain about a caption in her child’s Social Studies textbook that described African slaves as immigrant “workers,” reports The Texas Tribune.

comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma has been paying tens of thousands of dollars to administer a writing test for three straight years—with no results. According to KGOU's Oklahoma Watch, concerns have been raised about the writing test’s validity, and changing standards mean new tests must continually be created.

Many Kansas Students Fall Short in Test Results

Sep 11, 2015
Mike Hutmacher / Wichita Eagle

Kansas residents had a look at state public school test assessment results this week, and the news isn’t good. As The Wichita Eagle reports, a majority of Kansas students are not ready for college-level work. The results were the first collected from new Common Core-aligned state tests administered last spring. In English, only 42 percent of Kansas students met grade level expectations for college readiness. In math, the level of prepared students fell to 34 percent.

Justin Dehn / Texas Tribune

a new Texas law may lead more schools to set up nurse's offices equipped to handle remote doctor visits. The program could save parents time and money. According to The Texas Tribune, the remote visits could begin at school nurses’ offices as soon as September 1st. Doctors will be able to communicate with children via a sophisticated form of video chat.

Motown31 / Creative Commons

Underperforming Texas schools could face harsh penalties, according to a new law that takes effect September 1st. The Texas Tribune reports that if school districts don’t perform up to standards, the state will be authorized to strip them of their authority, or even close the school.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute

A nonpartisan, nonprofit group of more than 500 retired generals and admirals see school nutrition as an important factor in military readiness.

Creative Commons

Oklahoma may be one of the first states to repeal Common Core and draft completely new standards, Public Radio Tulsa reports.  Meanwhile, after repealing the Common Core goals, the state has instituted new academic standards in math and English, that in some ways go beyond Common core requirements. For example, elementary school students will be expected to write research papers, and high school students will need to know the “why”s behind mathematical formulas.

OKCPS Emerson

The online magazine Slate this week provided readers with a fascinating view into America’s educational past. Workers renovating a high school in Oklahoma City came across a number of blackboard lessons that had been frozen in time. The blackboards, which had been covered by new chalkboards in 1917, still retained lessons and drawings on math, reading, music, handwriting, personal hygiene, pilgrims, and God.

The National Teacher of the Year is an educator from Palo Duro High in Amarillo.  Shanna Peeples is the first Texas teacher to win the award since 1957. 

Peeples works in an environment where 85 percent of students live below the poverty line and where more refugee children are enrolled than in any high school in the district reports the Amarillo Globe News.

Oklahoma schools have the same budget as 2008, but 40,000 new students. That has schools dipping into their savings and running out of space.

Education Bill Draws Praise & Criticism

Apr 21, 2015
Mollie Bryant

It's a double edged sword for education in Texas, Senate passed a bill that legislators say should improve educator training but critics argue that it could reduce teacher’s ability to earn to higher wages.

Senate bill 893, authored by state Senator Kel Seliger of Amarillo would allow Texas Education Agency to create an annual evaluation system that includes students’ academic performance data to measure a teacher’s effectiveness.

Stephen Koranda /

There's a push to repeal a program that allows more than 600 undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at Kansas colleges and universities, but a bill aimed at doing that faltered in a House panel. The bill failed to make it out of the House Education Committee after a debate Thursday. 

Texas lawmakers are considering a policy known as a “parent trigger” law. The goal of the legislation is to prompt parent involvement and quicken turnarounds at struggling schools reports the Texas Tribune. The bill allows parents of students at underperforming public schools to campaign for school changes. That includes hiring new staff, contracting with a charter school operator to take over management, or closing the school altogether.

Stephen Koranda /

A bill that scraps the school funding system is heading to the Kansas governor’s desk.  It would temporarily create a block grant system while lawmakers write a new funding formula. 

Supporters of the bill say it has $300 million in new funding and gives Kansas schools more flexibility.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle says the bill lets them start over and ditches a school funding formula she calls “broken.”

Stephen Koranda /

Republican leaders in the Kansas Legislature have unveiled a plan to toss out the current school funding formula and go to a block grant system for the next two years.

Republican Ty Masterson chairs the Senate’s budget writing committee. He says the bill would increase spending by $300 million for Kansas K-12 schools.

Michael Glasgow/Texas Tribune

In Panhandle, a Growing Need for a Shallow Lake's Water
Lake Meredith, previously empty, is only 4% full, but those 2.8 billion gallons are enough for the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority to start pumping water from the lake. The authority supplies water to Amarillo, Lubbock, and surrounding areas. The low water means higher sediment levels, which will affect the water's taste and cause higher treatment costs. More from the Amarillo Globe-News.

The Kansas Supreme Court recently ruled on the school funding issue. The Kansas Attorney General recently gave legislators a deadline for solving the issue.

RICH SUGG / The Kansas City Star

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to fully fund all-day kindergarten.  Brownback proposes spending $80 million for the nearly 40,000 children across the state.  He calls it a strategic investment to ensure children are better positioned to succeed in school.

Governor Sam Brownback said the number one item in the state budget is education in his recent State of the State speech according to a recent article from the Kansas Health Institute.  

A social media use policy adopted by the Kansas Board of Regents is drawing criticism from university faculty and education groups, who claim the new rule raises First Amendment and academic freedom concerns.

Jill Replogle/Fronteras Desk

Several hundred teenagers filed into a swanky event center in Heber in California’s Imperial Valley on a recent Friday morning. By all accounts, they look like typical high schoolers — smacking gum and texting away. The vast majority were Latino.

Explaining Colorado's Amendment 66

Oct 30, 2013

Next week, Colorado voters go to the polls to vote on a state constitutional amendment to increase income taxes and fundamentally change how money goes to public schools.

Amendment 66 proposes to change Colorado from a flat-tax state and replace the structure with a progressive or graduated two-tier income tax system.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

NOEL, MO - It’s almost 9 a.m., and Noel Primary School teacher Erin McPherson is helping a group of Spanish-speaking students complete English language exercises. But it’s tough going.

One student in a bright blue T-shirt – 9-year-old Isac Martinez – has not yet picked up his pencil. He’s clearly sick. When McPherson asks him what’s wrong, Isac’s small voice is barely audible in between coughs. He says he threw up four times last night but did not go to a doctor.

Record Breaking Year for Fort Hays State University

Oct 1, 2013

Enrollment figures are in for Kansas, and it’s a record setting year for Fort Hays State University according to a recent press release from FHSU.

In the midst of conference committee negotiations, with dozens of bargaining items on the table, Representative and House Appropriations Committee Chair, Marc Rhoades, presented a $12 million grant program earmarked for Educational Design Solutions.  Dave Ranney reported in a  recent article by the Kansas Institute of Health the Senate agreed to this addition partially out of desire to end the drawn out session to a close. 

Leaders in higher education struggle operate within caps and budget cuts, families wrestle with increased tuition, legislators grapple with fiscal accountability, and Governor Brownback signs the cuts into budget.

Dion Lefler/The Wichita Eagle

State legislatures are constitutionally mandated to provide adequate funding for schools.  Courts in both Kansas and Texas recently ruled this directive is not being met.