On the Issues

JM-libraryJim will continue to focus on the needs of the individual student as he works to help redefine the State’s vision for our educational system. His top priorities include:

Making Kansas a world leader in …

As a member of the State Board of Education, Jim knows that we have the top educators in the country and that we have great leadership in our school system. We must work together with the business community to ensure that the needs and vision of our educators, employers and parents are met by our educational structure.

Ensuring that Kansas education is flexible
in order to meet the needs of today’s students and …

The State Board of Education has adopted higher academic standards to better prepare our students for success after high school. We need equal focus on helping our students attain non-academic skills in order to be successful in the workforce. More students must complete some post-secondary education in order to meet our workforce needs. By 2020, it is estimated that 71% of all jobs in Kansas will require some post-secondary education. We need more students to fill the gap that we’re currently seeing across the State.

Non-academic skills, such as critical thinking, perseverance, and social-emotional ability affect the ability of students to be successful in post-education and in the workforce. We must put more emphasis on this in K-12 education.

Rethinking how our schools operate
to determine whether we are meeting …

We need to ensure that Kansas children have access to quality preschools and all-day kindergarten. Additionally, we need to change school culture to ensure that a technical education is valued equally to the pursuit of a 4-year college degree. School counselors and social workers need to be able to focus on helping individual students explore their career paths and help them develop individual plans of study. When schools are reorganized around the student, and not the systems of education, there is better equity and will undoubtedly be better outcomes. And finally, Jim believes we need to see a stronger focus on business involvement in the classroom and student involvement in community service. Things such as internships and shadowing provide hands-on experience for students as they prepare to enter the workforce, and community service and civic engagement simply provide real-world skills that will make for more well-rounded students and adults.