With the contentious atmosphere surrounding Kansas education in recent months, McPherson Superintendent Mark Crawford feels it's necessary to take a moment to recognize the positives in the state's public education system.
Particularly, Crawford believes the Kansas State Board of Education has put into place some strong changes that challenge teacher, curriculum and administration alike.
“Just in the last two years, our state board has approved an entirely different curriculum, Kansas College and Career Ready Standards,” Crawford said. “We've revamp science and history standards.”
Another positive change Crawford notes is focused on career and technical education.
“Incentivising pathways, career and tech ed pathways, high-demand jobs,” Crawford said. “Really pointing kids towards their passion, individual plans of study, technical colleges and not just the university route.”
Additionally, Crawford feels that former USD 418 superintendent, Dr. Randy Watson, will also be a positive force as the state's education commissioner.
“In fact, we're already seeing the conversations that have been powerful in McPherson all over the state,” Crawford said. “We're getting ready to get feedback from the tours that Dr. Watson and [former interim education commissioner] Brad Neuenswander conducted in over 20 public hearings in 20 public settings.”
Those public hearings asked the question: what skills and attributes do we need to see in a successful 24-year-old. Crawford says the early returns on those hearings are saying that 80 percent of those attributes desired are non-academic.