State ed Board considers requiring study plans

12/26/2013

LAWRENCE (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education is expected to tell state lawmakers next month whether it plans to require students in eighth through 12th grade to develop an Individual Plan of Study to help them choose classes they will need in high school and beyond to pursue their goals.

LAWRENCE (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education is expected to tell state lawmakers next month whether it plans to require students in eighth through 12th grade to develop an Individual Plan of Study to help them choose classes they will need in high school and beyond to pursue their goals.

The state board has been leaning in that direction since identifying a goal in 2010 of having those students develop such a plan, the Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/1c0IuxT ) reported. But last week board members balked at committing to such a requirement, saying they need more information.

"That's a mandate," said board chairwoman Jana Shaver, R-Independence. "I feel like we don't have good information about the percent of schools that are doing this now. We need more information before moving forward. It's an important decision, and an important issue."

Many students in the Lawrence school district now complete the plans in eighth grade.

Some critics question whether all schools in Kansas should require the plans for their students.

The plans are part of a new accreditation model the state Department of Education is developing for public schools, Jay Scott, the department's assistant director for career and technical education, told the newspaper.

The Board of Education could be asked to vote on that new model for accrediting schools within the next two years, officials said.

Under a provision of the state's new Career and Technical Education Initiative, the board is supposed report to the Legislature next month on whether it intends to make that a requirement.

Recent studies have suggested that designing an education plan around a single career goal may not be the best idea for children of the "millennial generation," which includes those born between 1977 and 1997.

The average worker today stays at a job for just 4.4 years, according to labor data. That could mean workers could have as many as 11 different jobs from the time they graduate from college until retirement.

Patrick Kelly, director of career and technical education for the Lawrence School District, said he believes the process of setting goals and making education plans is good for students, regardless of how those plans turn out.

"I just think the process of planning is a good skill, and planning for your future is part of that," he said. "Just in general, that exercise of planning, not only the outcome of it but the exercise of planning and making decisions and prioritizing, is really valuable."

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