Opinion Columns & Blogs

No new takers on innovative school districts

The Wichita Eagle

No new school districts applied for the state’s “innovative” school program, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. The controversial program, which the Legislature created in 2013, lifts many state education laws and regulations in hopes of improving outcomes. Six districts previously applied for and were designated as innovative districts. But no new districts sought to join for 2016. State Board of Education chairman Jim McNiece of Wichita thinks the hesitation is due to how public education policy, including the funding formula, is in flux. Marcus Baltzell, communications director for the Kansas National Education Association, said that if the Legislature wants to untether innovation, the state should support teachers and schools the way it should. – Phillip Brownlee