The Kansas Board of Education is creating a group to study the teacher shortage that's affecting parts of Kansas. As Stephen Koranda reports, the group will recommend ways to make the job more attractive and keep teachers from leaving the career.

The new committee will look at issues like why fewer people are becoming teachers in Kansas and what they can do to reverse that trend.

“This ship will not be turned around in a day, but we have to start the process of turning the ship,” says Board of Education Chairman Jim McNiece.

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According to a task force with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), the number of potential teachers in the state has decreased significantly over the past few years.

In a report presented to the State Board of Education, members of the task force said that the number of teaching degrees completed in the state has dropped 16 percent since 2014. Additionally, the number of students declaring an education major dropped by 31 percent for both private and public colleges.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

Members of the local teachers union and some elected officials from Wichita gathered at a rally on Tuesday to urge state lawmakers to address inequities in school funding.

Teachers and parents held signs criticizing the inaction of state lawmakers. Children in purple t-shirts stood with signs reading “I need my summer program.”

The Kansas Supreme Court has threatened to close schools if legislators don’t fix education funding by June 30. But when the legislative session ended, the issue wasn’t addressed.

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The Kansas Senate has passed legislation that would require teachers to vote every three years in order to maintain their local union.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the bill passed the chamber with a 22-18 vote after more than two hours of debate Wednesday.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

In a news conference Friday, Gov. Sam Brownback said he wants to “start getting out the facts" regarding Kansas teachers' salaries and the number of teachers leaving the state. But according to school officials, the numbers he presented don't quite add up.

Sam Zeff/KCUR

The Kansas State Board of Education today heard about the increasing number of teacher leaving the state to teach elsewhere.

In the past five years the number of teachers moving out of state to teach has ballooned from 400 to over 650, a 63 percent increase.

The report also said that the number of teachers simply leaving the profession almost doubled since 2011.

Marie Carter, personnel manager for the Topeka School District, says the political climate in Kansas is to blame.

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The Kansas State Board of Education has narrowly approved a plan that would loosen some teaching requirements for six Kansas school districts. The 6-4 vote will allow the districts to hire people who have expertise in a subject but who lack a teaching license.

Supporters of the change include Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools Superintendent Cynthia Lane, who says this will give administrators more flexibility in hiring for hard-to-fill teacher openings.

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The Kansas Board of Education has passed a plan to allow a coalition of school districts to fill open teaching positions with non-licensed teachers. 

Original Story:

The Kansas Board of Education is set to vote on Tuesday on a plan that would allow a small group of school districts to fill their open teaching positions with non-licensed teachers.

cybrarian77, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas State Board of Education has delayed a vote on a plan to let some school districts hire unlicensed teachers.

The proposal would have affected a group of six Kansas districts, known as the Coalition of Innovative School Districts. As Stephen Koranda reports, the board had been set to vote on the plan Thursday.

The delay came after deans of education schools at Kansas universities raised concerns, as did teachers. Nicole Meier is a Kindergarten teacher from Topeka and a Teacher of the Year finalist.