I’m spending the morning listening to some very smart people from around the state of Kansas discuss current educational problems and possible solutions to those problems.

The main focus has been the fact that school districts are losing teachers due to economic issues. One of the results of that is that HS kids have fewer choices – fewer AP classes, fewer language classes and fewer science / math classes.

The solution?

Not sure yet. But part of it will be finding ways to share great teachers across school districts.

You have a teacher of the year in math and I’ve got kids who need great math instruction. How do we all share that? I sure would like the best for my kids.

Part of the solution will also be using something like the Kansas Careers web site that’s designed for Kansas higher ed institutions to share their content with K-12 districts. But I think it goes beyond that. The conversation is obviously in process but there is a lot of discussion about how K-12 districts need to find more ways to work together.

I like what one school superintendent said:

Perhaps some of the bad news is that the economy will recover. We need to leverage this economic crisis to get some things done that would not have happened two years ago. What are some things that BOEs and teacher unions and admin people will do now that are good for kids that we wouldn’t have done before?

Another interesting angle is finding ways to motivate K-12 teachers to be part of the solution:

How do we involve teachers in this conversation? There needs to be a way for these great teachers to get a cut of the pie as an incentive.

But I really liked what one superintendent said early on in the discussion. And while it’s not really a solution, it sure ought to be part of the motivation.

The bottom line for me is that every kid in the state needs access to a quality education. The courts have told us that where someone lives and the economic situation of their parents should not impact the quality of their education. And we’re not doing that.

Someone should be saying, shame on us.

And he’s right. If we fail to find ways to help all kids, shame on us indeed.