Kansas education officials have unveiled a new vision for the state’s schools, with the phrase “Kansas leads the world in the success of every student.”
Education Commissioner Randy Watson says residents have told them to focus more on non-academic skills, because it takes more than academics to succeed after high school.
“Have good work ethic, know that they're not going to be CEO tomorrow. All of these things that we used to get on the farm, we used to get by part-time jobs, but we’re not getting as much of now,” says Watson.
Watson says more than 70 percent of future jobs will require some kind of post-high school training. They’ll be focusing not just on four-year college degrees as sometimes has happened in the past, but technical certifications and two-year degrees.
“That school culture has to change. We have to career plan, earlier. Truly career plan, so kids have a better idea what they want to do when they leave us. Not to lock them in, but to help them understand what that's going to look like,” says Watson.
Education officials will focus on expanded roles for school counselors to help students identify career paths and plan their studies. They’ll also work towards expanding opportunities for pre-school and all-day kindergarten.
Watson says this is a large shift in the culture of public education and it will take time to implement.