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Report Puts Kansas 10th Nationally On Education Measures, But Shows Some Weaknesses

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio
Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, speaking to reporters.

A new report from the Kansas Association of School Boards says Kansas ranks well nationally in many education categories, but it also includes some signs that Kansas may be lagging.

The report places Kansas 10th overall nationwide when comparing states on test scores, high school graduation rates and the number of students that go on to college. However, the report says Kansas has slipped in some areas, such as test scores.

Mark Tallman, with the KASB, says the information is an “early warning” that Kansas needs to take steps to remain competitive.

“On many of these indicators, although we still rank high, our rank is beginning to slip, and many states are improving faster,” Tallman says.

Tallman says school funding in Kansas has grown in recent years, but that growth lags the national average.

“Everyone involved in education has done a good job of using those dollars effectively, but our members very much believe that it’s going to be very difficult to push much farther ahead if we don’t have additional resources,” Tallman says.

He says the states that outperform Kansas spend more per student on education.

Eileen Hawley, a spokeswoman for Gov. Sam Brownback, says it’s more than just the amount of funding that influences student outcomes.

“We agree with KASB that the amount of money is important, but how money is spent and utilized is equally important,” Hawley says. “We invest $4 billion in K-12 education [per year] and have many great schools.”