What's the role of the Federal Government? The State?

The State's Role

Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution gives the State Legislature responsibility to “make suitable provision for finance” of public education, which means the state has the primary role in school funding. The Legislature determines what ability local boards have to raise local revenues. The Legislature also may enact laws concerning local boards and districts in their role as local governments and employers, including requirements for programs and services and the rights of students, employees and citizens.

Under the Kansas Constitution, the Kansas State Board of Education has the power of “general supervision” over school districts and approves most of the regulations that govern the day-to-day operation of school programs. Few people know or work closely with their elected representative on the state board. Being an effective advocate for your school requires interaction with your state board member. 

In 2015, the Kansas State Board of Education adopted a bold new vision for Kansas schools: “Kansas Lead the World in the Success of Each Student.”  This initiative is referred to as “Kansans CAN.” As part of this vision, the state board defined for Kansas schools the skills and abilities a successful high school graduate should possess:

“A successful Kansas high school graduate has the academic preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills, employability skills and civic engagement to be successful in postsecondary education, in the attainment of an industry recognized certification or in the workforce, without the need for remediation.” 

The State Board of Education monitors the progress of schools towards the state level vision and definition of a successful high school through the accreditation process, KESA (Kansas Educations Systems Accreditation).

The combination of a clear vision for the state’s schools, definition of a successful high school graduate, and the accreditation process provide local school boards with minimum standards to strive for as they govern their school district.

The Federal Role

At the federal level, Congress reauthorized the Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 2015 and renamed it ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). This legislation traces its origins to 1965 as part of the larger civil rights movement. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was the previous reauthorization of ESEA adopted in 2001.

The original intent of ESEA in 1965 was to increase educational opportunities for all students. The focus was to provide federal assistance to school districts serving low-income students, assistance for the education of students with disabilities, and provide resources for state educational agencies to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education. The spirit of the original act is still present in the most recent reauthorization of this legislation. The federal focus includes the following areas:
  • Continue efforts to provide equitable educational opportunities for disadvantaged and disabled students.
  • Raise academic standards to better prepare students for college and careers.
  • Improve communication and access to information for educators, families, students and communities related to progress in achieving the higher academic standards.
  • Increase access to preschool programming.
  • Support and grow innovation by educational leaders.
  • Accountability and focused improvement support for chronically underperforming schools.
The federal influence on local school board is often reflected in policies and procedures developed locally in response to accountability connected federal resources. These federal funds flow through the state department of education.