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Commissioner of Education discusses the future of Kansas public - KOAM TV 7

Commissioner of Education discusses the future of Kansas public schools

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Labette County, KS -

The Kansas Commissioner of Education was in Labette County today to talk about the future of public schooling with representatives and families from several counties. This follows a statewide "listening tour" to see what characteristics, skills and abilities Kansans think successful young adults possess.

In the future, acing chemistry might not be the only thing high schoolers need to do to be considered successful after graduation. Statewide testing results suggest that an ideal 24 year old be more well-rounded.

“While academic skills are important, it shouldn't mean the exclusion of other skill sets that we need in students,” says Dr. Randy Watson, the Kansas Commissioner of Education.

School administrators have their own ideas of a successful student.

“What I want to see is a student ready to have a conversation with someone, ready to problem solve, ready to be a member of a group, someone who is willing to take criticism in a constructive way,” says Gail Billman, a Labette County USD 506 Board of Education member.

The results of the board of education’s statewide listening tour show that when asked to describe the ideally educated youth, non-academic skills are listed 70% of the time. Known as "soft skills," they include conscientiousness, dependability and persistence.

In Labette County USD 506 schools, students are already being groomed to leave school prepared for whatever path they choose.

“We have opportunities in our larger district, if a student wants to graduate and go home and go work on the family farm, they have the skills to do that. If a student wants to go on to a 4 year college, they might have a different academic path that they would have," says Billman.

As for other Kansas public schools, several changes could be implemented.

“I think what we're going to do is move from a systems approach of looking at schools where we have classes and you just fit in and try to look at each individual child and family and design an education for them within the resources that we have available,” says Watson.

The board of education will announce its vision for Kansas education at the end of this month.

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