Posted Date: 04/29/2021
Several members of the Governor’s Council on Education on Thursday said it seemed like the council and Kansas Legislature were going in opposite directions.
Members of the council spoke about the need to increase the state’s investment in education while legislators are currently at odds over how to fund schools and whether to expand the use of public tax dollars to send students to private schools.
Council members urged legislators to provide adequate and equitable funds for public education when the 2021 legislative session resumes on Monday.
The council has been working on ways to improve early childhood opportunities, create partnerships with businesses to provide internships and job shadowing and address the workforce needs of Kansas.
Kansas Board of Regents President and Chief Executive Officer Blake Flanders said public higher education in Kansas is at same state general fund level as 2009.
Flanders said Kansas has been “marching” toward a more privatized approach to higher education, which gives colleges more flexibility but reduces their propensity to serve their states’ needs. It’s a trend, he said, that is happening nationally.
During the meeting, the council received briefings from Mark Tallman, executive director of advocacy at KASB, on the status of education legislation in the Legislature, and from officials from the Education Commission of the States, on national trends.