New Kansas Education Commissioner Inherits Funding Troubles


The superintendent of the McPherson college district has been picked to be the new training commissioner for the state of Kansas.

Randy Watson was selected for the position by the Kansas State Board of Training last Thursday.  The board also just lately noticed Janet Waugh, a Kansas City incumbent, win re-election with 53% of the vote.

While in is role as superintendent, Watson was a single of the initial to obtain a waiver for the No Youngster Left Behind Act, making it possible for the district to use other testing approaches rather than the state-mandated exams.

Watson will not only be leaving behind his place as superintendent but also a position as chairman of an revolutionary districts system.

The McPherson district was one of the initial two in the state to be labeled as progressive underneath a 2013 law which permits up to 29 of the state’s 286 districts to hold the distinction.  Schools labeled as progressive are then exempt from state public training laws so lengthy as they existing ideas to boost student achievement.

“I’m truly humbled by the believe in the state board has put in me,” Watson explained in a telephone interview. “I program to do what I’ve constantly completed, which is consider to carry individuals collectively to form a common vision of what Kansans want from their training system and how we provide that to their students.”

Watson ideas on producing a new era for the Kansas public school system, shifting the concentrate from reading and math test scores and placing it on the “whole student” and turning out to be successful adults by integrating the K-12 system with higher education.

“The outcomes that we want are a productive youthful adult, not necessarily studying and math scores,” he stated. “Those are just inputs. The up coming step is to recognize the talent sets that make up a productive grownup and then go backwards to map that.”

Even so, Watson will encounter a quantity of issues although functioning towards his objectives, which includes future funding for public colleges.

According to a latest income estimate, Kansas is $ 278 million behind this fiscal yr and is looking to encounter larger shortfalls in the coming years.

The state is dealing with a pending lawsuit over the adequacy of recent funding.

Kansas schooling commissioners have historically not been straight involved in these matters, leaving it up to elected members of the state board and other college advocacy groups.  Watson does not plan on undertaking anything at all in a different way throughout his phrase.

“It’s surely the work of the Legislature to fund public training,” he said. “I can weigh in about in which we want to go with training. But it’s correct that the state has much less funds than what was predicted six or eight months ago. There are difficult decisions that will have to be made. But I have self-confidence they will continue to support k-12 education in the long term.”

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