- Associated Press - Thursday, July 13, 2017

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Education officials in Kansas say the state needs more high school graduates who go on to college or career training programs to fill its future employment demand.

Deputy Education Commissioner Brad Neuenswander presented new state education data to the Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday, the Lawrence Journal-World (https://bit.ly/2uiIJJo ) reported.

“This year’s sophomore class, when they graduate in 2020, 71 percent. … of the jobs are going to require something after high school - an associate’s, some certification, a four-year degree,” Neuenswander said.

The state data, obtained from nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse, shows that less than half of Kansas high school students achieved a degree or certificate or were enrolled in a postsecondary program two years after graduation.

The state Education Department recently began tracking the data as part of a new method it’s creating to accredit school districts.

Neuenswander said that for accreditation purposes, the department only looks at data tracking students two years after graduation because the agency governing K-12 education believes the students become the higher education system’s responsibility at that point.

“Because we don’t want to own them for six years,” he said.

Kansas currently does not accredit school districts, only individual buildings. But officials said the new system is intended to bring greater systemwide accountability in public education. Along with postsecondary rates, the new system is expected to look at factors such as kindergarten readiness rates, graduation rates and students’ social and emotional well-being.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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