Kansas State Department of Education

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Commissioner's Monthly Message

The Kansas State Board of Education is setting a new course for Kansas education with a bold, new vision. Kansas leads the world in the success of each student. What does that really mean?

While academic skills are and will remain important to the future success of Kansas’ students, it is time to challenge the status quo and move away from placing so much emphasis on a single standardized test score. Through the No Child Left Behind Act, education focused with laser precision on making sure every child reached a mandated achievement target, and in the process, lost sight of the individual needs of students.

What we know to be true is that academics alone do not ensure the future success of a student. In addition to attaining a solid academic foothold, students must learn to persevere, problem solve, work collaboratively, and think critically – all skills required to be successful in the workplace. Equally as important, we have to support our students’ career exploration by helping them identify their interests, introduce them to careers that match those interests and build an individual plan of study that will place them on the path to achieve their envisioned future.

Right now, Kansas State Board of Education members and the Kansas State Department of Education are working closely with business and community leaders, educators and parents to build agreement on how to work together to achieve this new vision.

The board’s new focus — and the focus of the vision — is really about rebalancing the great work our schools are already doing and making sure we are placing the right amount of emphasis on helping Kansas students identify and achieve their career aspirations.

It also is about changing school culture. We have to place as much value on a student who chooses to pursue a technical education or a two-year college degree as we place on a student who wants to pursue a four-year degree.

We need to make sure each student is successful.

Together, we will make this happen.

You can support our efforts by displaying the Kansans Can logo on your school and business websites; encouraging schools and businesses to display Kansans Can posters; talking with students and parents about the new vision; blogging about it; and sharing the Kansans Can video and PowerPoint at meetings and school events.

It is going to take hard work and dedication to reach the goal, but we can do it together. Together, Kansans Can!

Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education photo and Signature block

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