Education

The Chamber believes that every child should be given the opportunity to develop his or her talents to the fullest extent possible in order to gain access to the benefits of the American social, economic, and political systems.

A high-quality, accessible, and accountable early childhood through post-graduate public education system is essential to having a skilled workforce and provides the foundation for a competitive economy and an attractive quality of life.

Kansas Education Agenda

Early Childhood Education

Research shows that the early years are critical in children’s brain development, play a key role in their overall development and shape the adult they will become. Quality early learning programs are vital to preparing students for success in a 21st century workforce and sustaining a healthy and growing economy. The Chamber urges the Kansas Legislature to heed the impact of early childhood education and support and preserve adequate investments in high-quality early learning, including those that advance the development of the early education workforce. This includes, but is not limited to support for:

  • Measures and investments to preserve the Children’s Initiative Fund and Kansas Endowment for Youth.
  • Increased investment in home visiting programs that serve young, at-risk children.

K-12 Education

The KC Chamber has high expectations for our public education systems and believes increased funding, rigorous student achievement standards, and local authority and control are vital to Kansas City’s ability to compete in the knowledge-based global marketplace of the 21st century. We believe the measures and outcomes highlighted in the Kansan’s CAN initiative can play a significant role in advancing a well-educated population with technical skills and problem-solving abilities that are key to Kansas City’s capacity to innovate, grow, and compete. In support of this critical mission, the KC Chamber calls on the Kansas Legislature to support the following:

  • Policy to assure local authority for curriculum development and provide school districts with greater decision-making ability and financial flexibility to efficiently and effectively operate their education systems to meet the unique needs and extraordinary circumstances of their districts. This includes, but is not limited to, opposing limits placed on a local school board in determining local bonding capacity and authority.
  • Measures to assure the education needs of all Kansas students will be met.
  • Preservation of funding for full-day kindergarten.
  • Measures that support and encourage exemplary standards that reflect the knowledge and skills required of students in the existing and emerging sectors of the economy.
  • Policy centered on empirically-based student outcomes targets such as those in the Kansans CAN vision for education.
  • Policy that is not built on state mandates, scholarship tax credits, tax tuition credits, vouchers, and changes in local board elections including making

Higher Education & Workforce Development

The Chamber supports adequate funding and policies to keep Kansas higher education institutions competitive and affordable, help retain graduates and quality faculty in the state, and measures to support alternative postsecondary training options to provide the region and the state with the world-class workforce necessary to meet the job demands of today and tomorrow.

  • The KC Chamber calls for full restoration of the 2016 cuts to higher education funding so that funding amounts appropriated for the next two years will reflect pre-allotment levels.
  • Support measures to stimulate career, technical, and trade education in the state including STEM education and workforce development initiatives designed to enhance the number of qualified employees available for critical jobs in the region.
  • Support policy to enable high school students to gain college credit and/or postsecondary certifications and training at any public and not-for-profit institutions in the Kansas City area that offer appropriate programming to support their career interests.
  • Support efforts to retain the autonomy of the Kansas Board of Regents and local control for the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees.

Missouri Education Agenda

Education & Workforce Development

We believe that every child should be given the opportunity to develop his or her talents to the fullest extent possible in order to gain access to the benefits of the American social, economic and political systems. Many factors affect the quality of public education provided to children in Missouri. A high quality, accessible, and accountable early childhood through post-graduate (P-20) public education system is essential to having a skilled workforce and provides the foundation for a competitive economy and an attractive quality of life. The Chamber believes strategic measures to achieve this quality education public system are paramount in creating and sustaining a vibrant economy and job growth in the region and the state. 

Early Childhood through 12th Grade Education

Support investments in high-quality early learning and Pre-K opportunities, including those that advance the development of the early education workforce.

  • Support the alignment of accountability standards of all publicly-funded schools.
  • Allow state boards to grant an initial visiting scholar certificate to teach in public schools, renewable at one year with a maximum of two years.

HIgher Education & Workforce Development

  • Support adequate funding and measures to keep Missouri higher education institutions competitive and affordable, help retain graduates and faculty in the state, and provide the region and the state with the world-class workforce necessary to compete in the knowledge economy. 
  • Support programs focused on improving workforce development and efforts to streamline and update job training programs with adequate state funding. 
  • Support core appropriations requests, target investments and capital improvement needs for the University of Missouri system, UMKC and Metropolitan Community College system. 
  • Support appropriate funding of Access Missouri and the Missouri A+ Schools Program to ensure that all eligible students can receive meaningful tuition support. 
  • Support efforts by the MU system to ensure that the University of Missouri - Columbia retains its status as an AAU university.

Federal Education Agenda

Human Capital & a 21st Century Workforce

KC area businesses report one of the greatest challenges they face is the global race for talent. Skilled workers are the backbone of a productive and efficient economy, and a critical decision point in today’s business location decisions. In the knowledge-based global marketplace of the 21st century, a well-educated population with technical skills and problem-solving abilities is key to Kansas City’s ability to innovate, grow, and compete. The Chamber calls on Congress to support policies and funding to encourage a robust PK-20 public

Pre K-20 Education

The KC Chamber supports policies and funding to encourage a robust PK-20 public education system emphasizing pursuit of exemplary education including appropriate technical training and a rigorous science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum based on globally competitive standards and fostering a well-trained, productive, competitive workforce. The Chamber calls for: 

  • Local control of education systems. (The Chamber opposes efforts to reduce federal education investment based on state funding and tuition levels and policies that support or incentivize K-12 scholarship tax credits, tax tuition credits, vouchers and similar measures). 
  • Policies to encourage collaboration between superintendents and government officials as education policy is developed.
  • Maintaining formula funding for Title I as opposed to a competitive grant model.
  • Investment in early learning programs including Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant to allow assistance to an increased number of eligible children/families.
  • Full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA).
  • Programs to keep higher education accessible and affordable by maintaining funding for need-based student aid programs, including maximum level funding for year-long Pell Grants and other federal student aid programs, and increased federal investments to serve students seeking in-demand, non-credit credentials.
  • Preservation and improvement of higher education tax incentives. 
  • Efforts to encourage workforce development including increased funding for Graduate Medical Education (GME) to address the impending physician shortage and continued financial support of the Public Health Services Act (PHSA) which supports education and training for health care workers.

Globally Competitive Workforce Development

Creating a competitive workforce involves “cradle thru career” strategies to strengthen the workforce pipeline, retool the incumbent workforce, and access an international talent pool. The Chamber supports:

  • Policies that promote labor productivity, provide job training skills, and encourage more citizens to enter or re-enter the workforce, including full funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
  • Increased investment in secondary level technical education, adult education, and English as a second language.
  • Efforts to improve integration of secondary and post-secondary programs including promotion of increased dual credit opportunities. 

RELATED RESOURCES

Below you will find links to The Chamber’s state and federal public policy agendas.

Big 5 Initiatives

Led by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Big 5 elevates the Kansas City region onto the world stage and makes the area one of America’s best places to work, live, start a business, and grow a business. These community-based projects take advantage of the area’s world-class organizations and the spirit of our citizens to inspire innovation in our region. Accomplishing the Big 5 initiatives promises to bring better health, improved education, more jobs, increased investment and a better quality of life to everyone in the region. Thus, creating a Greater Kansas City.