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Regional Headlines for Sunday, September 30, 2012


Kansas Officials Anticipate Retention Policy Push

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Kansas educators are anticipating legislation aimed at pushing elementary schools to have more struggling readers repeat a grade. The House Education Chairman already is discussing legislation. Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker says Republican Governor Sam Brownback has expressed interest in a retention policy. Brownback has long said that one of his goals is increasing the percentage of fourth-graders reading at grade-level. About 10 percent of them are not. But his office is not discussing specifics, saying only that the governor is talking to experts. Althought there's been nothing official, members of the Kansas Board of Education have expressed concerns about the possibility of a retention policy and sent a letter to Brownback. Since Florida ended social promotion of third-graders in 2002, other states have discussed or passed similar measures. 



Old Claims Follow Hawker Beechcraft in Bankruptcy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A long-running legal fight in federal court in Wichita has followed Hawker Beechcraft to bankruptcy court in New York. Former employees of a subcontractor of Hawker Beechcraft sued the company more than five years ago under the False Claims Act, which allows citizens to bring claims on behalf of the government. The complex case has yet to be resolved. The action involves allegations of false statements and misrepresentations in the sale of military aircraft to the United States. When Hawker Beechcraft filed for bankruptcy protection in May, those court proceedings were halted. The plaintiffs this week asked the bankruptcy court to find that their claims are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Hawker Beechcraft has not yet filed its answer, and the company did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. 


Studies Link Recession, Education Opportunities

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- New studies by University of Kansas researchers find that the downturn in the economy has made it more difficult for those on the lower end of the income levels to obtain educational opportunities. The reports, released earlier in September, looked at the instability caused by the Great Recession and the effect on children's educational opportunities. The conclusions were that lower-income residents lacked the financial assets to weather the economic downturn and still have money for college. The studies were conducted by the Assets and Education Initiative within the university's School of Social Welfare. The studies conclude that recession sharpens the focus of lower-income families on the immediate "here and now" needs of food, shelter and survival.

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