Kansas Governor Sam Brownback visited a school in Salina on Wednesday.
The governor made a stop at Salina Central High School to meet with students in the Jobs for America’s Graduates, or JAG program. The program is dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk.
A group of students and faculty gathered in the welding lab to meet the governor. Along with learning a little about the JAG program the Governor learned a little about USD 305’s focus on Career and Technical Education. Superintendent Bill Hall said that the welding lab is an example of a public / private partnership. A couple of years ago it did not exist. With the support of private businesses, though, the lab became a reality.
Brownback learned of the local success of the JAG program. Over the summer, the graduation rate in the program at Salina Central was 100 percent. Currently, 33 percent of those who graduated are enrolled in some sort of post-secondary school. There are 121 students in 3 schools in Salina in the program this school year.
Several JAG students spoke with the governor, telling him their story. In each case the student was not strong academically, and in danger of not graduating or dropping out. They credit the program with helping them turn their academic career around, in in some cases turning their life around.
Brownback spoke a little about the JAG program, which is still fairly new in Kansas. He said “the measure of the success of JAG is students like you, succeeding.”
Brownback thanked the teachers and faculty who had gathered “for what you do” and encouraged them to “keep up the good work.”
The governor said that teachers in many ways are “transformers”. They seeing something in a student before the student sees it in themselves, and then help them to succeed at it.
Brownback also lamented about the current political climate, where there can be an “adversarial relationship with educators”. He said he wishes it wasn’t adversarial, but was more “appreciative”. The governor concluded “at the end of the day we all want and need good teachers”.