Ten years ago, the Kansas Association of School Boards Board of Directors authorized a statewide research project to determine how Kansans felt about their public schools. Local boards were encouraged to bring their communities together and ask them some basic questions about what they like and dislike about education in Kansas. One hundred districts ranging in size from Blue Valley to Republic County facilitated community meetings. Over 1,000 Kansans participated and the most commonly reported concern reported was that there was too much emphasis on testing.
With the new “Kansans Can” vision, local districts were asked to look beyond indicators like scores on standardized math and reading tests. New data about how students performed a year or two out of high school became the standard for success. A new vision, viewed in the context of more inspirational data, meant that school leaders would need to look systemically at how they prepare students.
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