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Latest blog post from education advocate looks at educational attainment

Whether its finishing high school, getting a technical certificate or completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, Kansas kids are getting further in school than ever before.

“All of those factors are the highest they’ve ever been,” said Kansas Association of School Boards Vice President for Advocacy, Mark Tallman. “We’ve been steadily improving educational attainment in the state for a long time. We have also seen specific graduation rates, kids who graduate on time from high school has been increasing in recent years, the Board of Regents has a study which shows that the percent of students that graduate either on time, two years for a two-year degree, four years for a four-year degree has increased, as well as those who take a little longer.”

It’s important that this is happening, though, because the educational needs of the workforce have not reduced.

“We’re going to continue to need more people with high school diplomas and more,” said Tallman. “Even though we’ve been rising, we’re still not where we need to be and we’re likely to continue to have some gaps between what employers are looking for and the number of people that have the skills to fill them.”

In fact, the majority of Kansas kids will need additional training beyond the K-12 cap and gown to get the job they need to take care of their families.

“When I was graduating high school, about one-third of jobs were expected to require something more than high school,” said Tallman. “That’s now really reversed. At least two-thirds of jobs and in Kansas, the expectations really are over 70 percent will need more than just a high school diploma.”

Several policy questions then follow:

How much farther than K-12 should be available to Kansas kids as state subsidized education given the suitability section of Article 6 and what does that look like, particularly in light of the limited amount of money in the state’s budget? Also, though Article 6 section 6 draws a line between the State Board of Education’s jurisdiction and that of the Board of Regents, how far above K-12 attainment does that boundary lie? In addition, how much co-curricular education can happen prior to K-12 graduation?

Tallman’s blog post does not address those questions.

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