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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas public school officials are launching a project to overhaul the way education is delivered in the state.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Kansas State Board of Education members were briefed about the program Wednesday. The “Kansans Can” vision is an initiative to completely change the way K-12 education is taught in Kansas over the next 10 years.

Officials say the project involves tearing apart a 100-year-old structure in which public education is organized around grade levels that are generally determined by a student’s age.

“It has worked for a long time, but it was predicated on two concepts,” said Randy Watson, state education commissioner. The first “is that most workers were either going to be on a farm or they were going to go to assembly line work. Employers in Kansas and across the nation are saying that’s not what work looks like today. We need different workers, we need higher-skilled workers. We don’t need low-skilled workers.”

Watson said the project grew out of a statewide listening tour in 2015. People said they want schools to teach character development, citizenship and work ethics. They also said they wanted more individualized education that focuses on the unique needs of each student.

Seven school districts are expected to have new, individualized structures in place by August 2018. Watson said the education department has done everything it can to mitigate the risk of alienating patrons of the district resulting from a new kind of school system that parents and taxpayers in the district find foreign and unfamiliar.

“Those districts are in a constant loop with their parents and their broader community,” he said. “So there should be no surprise when we get to August that their parents haven’t said yes, approve of what’s going to occur. Now, will there be someone who wasn’t paying attention? Maybe. But it’s a deep involvement of parents in the community.”


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,