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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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Published by the State Department of Public Instruction
120 East Tenth, Topeka, Kansas 66612
Copyright June, 1967

We are sincerely grateful to the Kansas State Department of Education for giving us permission to transcribe and provide online the history found in this publication.

Return to Index for Kansas Educational Progress, 1858-1967, by A. F. Throckmorton

The State Department of Public Instruction
Part I - Educational Progress

A New State Agency for Education

Problems arising within the State Department of Education, which had been organized in 1915, highlighted the need for again restructuring the state agency for education.  To that end, the 1945 Legislature created the State Department of Public Instruction.  This act defined the Department as consisting of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education.  The board, which for the most part had been composed of professional educators, was replaced with a lay board of education.  Administrative responsibilities and policy making powers, subject to approval of the state board, were delegated to the state superintendent.  In effect, the board became an advisory body rather than a policy making agency in most of its functions.  This legislative action was a move in the direction or recognizing the constitutional status of the state superintendent.  However, that was not the dominant reason for changing the legal patterns adopted in 1915.

Establishment of the Department of Public Instruction followed the administration of State Superintendent W. T. Markham, 1932-1939, who had provided outstanding leadership in the office, and who was held in high esteem by school officials.  Markham, a Democrat, was swept out of office in the 1938 election on the tides of political change.  Because of his defeat, friction developed between political leaders and educators, who had strong representation on the professional state board of education.  This in turn led to differences between the state board and Superintendent George L. McClenny, who succeeded Mr. Markham.  The ensuring unrest seriously affected leadership functions of the Department.

Another reason for legislative action was general recognition of the Department's weakness because of inadequate financial support, a poor image, and the lack of clear-cut lines of demarcation between functions of the state board and the state superintendent.  Not only was the Department staff limited in numbers, but it was handicapped by an annual budget of less than $40,000 plus a minimal sum collected from teacher certificate fees.

In moving from a professional to a lay state board of education, the Legislature prescribed limitations in the appointment of members by the governor.  The act also set up qualifications that must be met by candidates for the office of state superintendent.  Prior to this action, any candidate for the office who received a plurality of votes cast for that official in a general election became eligible to serve if he met residence requirements applicable to all elected state officials.  With the vote at his command, the candidate so elected could have served even if he were illiterate.

Although the 1945 legislation provided a legal framework for cooperative action between the state board of education and the state superintendent, the transition from a predominantly professional to a lay board, and removal of the superintendent from membership and ex-officio chairmanship of that body created unforeseen problems.  The lay board was left without legally designated professional leadership in two important functions outside the Department.  One of these pertained to the adoption and state printing of textbooks.  Those duties, which had been transferred from the School Book Commission to the professional state board of education in 1937, remained under the newly formed lay board and outside the jurisdiction of the state superintendent.  Thus that official, who was charged with developing courses of study and supervising instructional programs in the public schools, had no vote in the selection of a major tool with which these activities were carried on.

A second function of the lay board with which the state superintendent has no official connection is the administration of vocational programs in secondary schools, junior colleges, and area vocational schools.  In its capacity as a State Board for Vocational Education, the State Board of Education is an agency separate and apart from the Department of Public Instruction, administers vocational programs under its own budget, and appoints its administrative officer and his staff.  In effect, Kansas has two state departments of education.

When the Legislature formed the State Department of Public Instruction it corrected a deficiency that had existed in the state agency for education since the first state board of education was organized in 1873.  The new legislation clarified the relationship between the state superintendent and the state board of education.  Although the state board was not authorized by law to initiate policy, the practice has been for the board and the state superintendent to cooperate in formulating policy, subject to that body's approval.

Improved Department Status

Since reorganization in 1945, there has been a growing demand for more services from the Department of Public Instruction by school administrators; lay organizations interested in education; and special interest groups such as those connected with adult education, driver education, and the state scholarship program.  Federally financed educational activities also have led to more requests for Department services. 

An apparent growth of confidence in the Department of Public Instruction by legislators, state and local agencies, and educational leaders had led to increased demand for services from that agency which, from earliest days of statehood, had been either ignored or considered to be a necessary evil by the public at large.  Perhaps the first sputnik and the fright it gave were contributing factors to improved attitudes toward the state agency for education.  Most assuredly, a series of Supreme Court decisions firmly established the fact that the state superintendent is a constitutional officer to whom the Legislature can delegate almost unlimited powers in the field of education.  Another indication of increased confidence was the power delegated to the state superintendent in administering the 1963 and 1965 school district unification laws after having bypassed him in the 1945 and 1961 acts, both of which were held by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.

One factor contributing to improved status of the Department after 1945 was the continuity of policies and procedures followed by the three state superintendents who served from that year until 1967.  L. W. Brooks, who took office at the beginning of the period in 1945, was followed by Adel F. Throckmorton, who served until August 31, 1966.  His successor was W. C. Kampshroeder, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term and then elected in November, 1966 to serve until January, 1969, at which time a state commissioner of education is to be appointed under the Educational Amendment to the Constitution approved in 1966.  In each transition from one administration to the next during this period, members of the Department staff carried over, and each of the three superintendents worked for the same objectives, changing policies and procedures only as educational developments warranted.

The lengthened tenure of both professional and clerical members of the state superintendent's staff during the latter years also added to Department effectiveness and efficiency.  Prior to 1945, the longest term served by any state superintendent had been six years and two months, with an average tenure of 3.7 years for all superintendents up to that time.  The tenure of staff members was no better.  This is evidenced by the following table, which shows the number of staff members with five or more years of experience in the Department at five-year intervals from 1910 to 1945.

Staff members with 5 or more yrs tenure
End of 5-yr period

No institution or organization has established programs for the preparation of Department of Public Instruction personnel to handle the unique duties required of them.  Therefore, training for that service can be obtained only in a state education agency.  Chief state school officers and their staff leadership are in general agreement that from one to two years of experience on the job is needed to adequately prepare a staff member for most of the responsibilities he will face.  Thus, during most of the state's history, capable and conscientious state superintendents have been handicapped during the early years of their administrations for want of personnel adequately prepared for their tasks.

In contrast to conditions during the first 85 years of the Department's activities, there were on the state superintendent's staff in 1967 no less than 11 professional and clerical members with 15 or more years of service in the agency.  In addition, nine employees have served from 10-14 years, and 30 have been in the Department from 5-9 years.

Employees with 10-14 years of service in Department by December 31, 1967:  Phyllis Bowers, Jean Brewer, Lois Caffyn, Eileen Heinen, George Reida, C. C. Rice, Lawrence Simpson, Marguerite Thorsell, Edna B. Umholtz.

Employees with 5-9 years of service in Department by December 31, 1967:  Carl Althaus, Florence Applegate, Dorothy Barber, Lewis H. Caldwell, Wilma Cranwell, Della Daughtery, Ione Durham, Kenneth Eckdald, Phyllis Faulk, Willard Foster, William Goodwin, Carl Haney, Freda Harrington, Murle Hayden, Carl Heinrich, Julia Jameson, Dorothy Lanter, Donna Long, Marjorie Miller, Oris Reedy, C. W. Rice, Clara Robertson, Lawrence Sayler, Jay J. Scott, Mildred Swan, Ruth Teel, Marie Tietgen, John Vigneron, Charles Watkins, Helen Whitla.

Thus, in 1967 about 1/3 of the state superintendent's staff has been employee for five or more years, with no mention made of those who have served from one to four years.  Under these conditions prospective staff members may look forward with some assurance to a career in the Kansas State Department of Public Instruction.  As the transition is made from an elected state superintendent to an appointive commissioner of education and an elected state board of education, further improvements of this nature should develop.

The strength added to the Kansas State Department of Public Instruction during the 1945-1967 period through the long tenure and faithful service of the professional, secretarial, stenographic, and clerical personnel can best be reflect ed through a brief sketch of the contributions made by those who have served fifteen years or more.

George L. Cleland, Director of the Division of Instructional Services, joined the Department of Public Instruction in 1952.  His background of experience includes teaching in rural one-room schools, coaching and teaching in high schools, and serving as principal of the Atchison high school for eighteen years - the position he held when he became a member of the Department.  In 1957 he was named president of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, after having served on the executive committee of that organization.  Earlier, he had served as president of the Kansas Association of High School Principals.  More recently he was appointed to serve as a member of the National Committee on Secondary Education.   Dr. Cleland received his A.B. degree from Baker University, a Master's degree from Columbia University, and the Ed.D. degree from the University of Kansas in 1958.  In 1959, Baker University conferred upon him the honorary degree, Doctor of Pedagogy.

Maurice E. Cook has given seventeen years of service to the Department of Public Instruction, and is presently a consultant in the elementary and secondary school accreditation section.  He was the principal of an elementary school in Ottawa prior to accepting a position on the Department staff in 1950.  Mr. Cook's early teaching was in the rural schools of Douglas County, and he later held elementary principalships in Johnson and Sedgwick Counties.  He attended Baker University two years before transferring to the State College at Pittsburg where he received an A.B. degree.  He holds a Master's degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Jennie Moore Gillespie began working for the Department in 1951.  Most of her service has been in the finance division where it has been her responsibility to calculate the amount of state funds to be distributed to school districts, a task that requires accuracy and careful attention to details.  Mrs. Gillespie attended elementary school in Shawnee Country and graduated from the Auburn high school.

F. Floyd Herr has the longest tenure of anyone on the Department staff, having been appointed professional secretary to the state board of education in 1943, two years before the State Department of Public Instruction was organized.  He was named Director of Teacher Certification and College Accreditation in 1945.  Other responsibilities have been added to the division in recent years.  Prior to joining the staff, he taught in high schools, served as high school principal, and as superintendent of schools at Medicine Lodge.  Dr. Herr received recognition as president of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, membership on the National Study Commission of the Chief State School Officers, and an organizing member of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.  He also served as president of the Central States Departments of Public Instruction.  Dr. Herr obtained his B.S. Degree from Kansas State University, a Master's degree from Columbia University, and has taken graduate work at Denver University, Colorado State University, and Kansas State University.  He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Ottawa University in 1951.

Janet Denton Hinther is rounding out twenty years of service in the Department, having joined the staff in 1947.  Her previous experience included ten years with the United States Department of Agriculture, Farmers Home Administration, and several years as a home economics teacher.  As school lunch supervisor, she reviews from 250 to 400 school lunch programs annually, organizes vocational classes for school lunchroom personnel, plans and participates in workshops, and assists related groups and organizations.   Mrs. Hinther graduated from Valley Center high School, received an A.B. from Friends University and has taken work at Colorado State University.  She also held a dietetic internship at University Hospital in Oklahoma City.

Gladys Fay Iske, Director of Teacher Certification, became a member of the Department in 1951.  Her work deals with the complexities of teacher certification, and, as director she is responsible for processing applications of prospective teachers for certification, interpreting regulations and laws governing that activity, and handling the mass of correspondence occasioned by issuing more than 10,000 certificates annually.  Miss Iske graduated from King City high school in Missouri; attended Kansas City Business College; graduated from the Kansas City, Kansas junior college; received a B. S. Degree in business from the University of Kansas, and a Master's degree in education from that same institution in 1958.

Fay Young Kampschroeder, Director of Finance, holds one of the more responsible positions in the Department of Public Instruction, which she joined in 1949 as a school lunch auditor before promotion to the position she joined in 1949 as a school lunch auditor before promotion to the position she has held since 1950.  Previous experience included work for the Kansas Electric Power Company of Lawrence, a year with the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee, and eighteen years on the staff of the League of Kansas Municipalities where she engaged in statistical work and writing for that organization's official publication, the Kansas Government Journal.  She became associate editor of that publication.  Mrs. Kampschroeder's responsibilities, which are many and varied, include distribution of state aids to public schools and other educational institutions (other than the foundation fund), purchasing, payroll, auditing, internal accounting, inventories, bond clerk for the school fund commission, maintenance of mailing lists, processing of incoming and outgoing mail, preparation of the Department's annual budget, and compiling the state educational directory.  She attended elementary school in Douglas County, graduated from the Lawrence high school, and attended the Lawrence Business College.

W. C. Kampschroeder, who has been State Superintendent since September 1, 1966, joined the staff in 1951 and, until his appointment as superintendent, served most of that period as Director of Administrative Services or Assistant Superintendent.  One of his first assignments was to conduct a state-wide school building survey and transportation study.  Other responsibilities carried before his appointment as superintendent included administration of Public Laws 815 and 874, under which federal funds are distributed to federally impacted districts; a thorough and practical study of Kansas school law; development of the Department budget; cooperation with the four divisions of the State Department of Administration - budget, purchasing, personnel, and accounts and reports; general management and supervision of the three divisions and fifteen sections of the Department of Public Instruction; direction of the development and administration of a system of public school finance; organization of inservice activities of the staff; and establishment of working relations with legislators, other state officials, and numerous unofficial agencies and organizations concerned with education improvement.  Kampschroeder came to the Department from the superintendency at Eureka.  He graduated from Lawrence high school, received A.B. and Master's degrees from the University of Kansas, and took additional work at Columbia University and the University of Kansas.  He was a teacher and high school principal before he spent fourteen years as superintendent of schools at Eureka.  As state superintendent, Kampschroeder has the heavy responsibility of organizing the work of a recently expanded staff, administering a great deal of new legislation that requires extensive adjustment in most areas of the state, and making preparation for transition to a new type of education agency with an elected state board of education and an appointed commissioner of education as provided in the educational amendment, which was approved at the polls in November, 1966.

James E. Marshall joined the staff in 1952 as a consultant in special education, and became director of those programs in 1958.  He has gained state and national recognition as a leader in his field.  Earlier experience included three years in the Air Force during World War II, superintendent at St. Francis Boys Home, and psychologist at the Larned State Hospital.  He has served as consultant to the Division of Handicapped in the US Office of Education, and as a member of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Institutional Management.  He also holds positions of responsibility and leadership in his church.  Marshall graduated from Reading high school, received an A.B. degree from the University of Kansas, an M.S. degree from Fort Hays State College, and the Ed.D degree from the University of Kansas in 1967.

Ruby Scholz, Director of School Lunch, has been on the staff since 1947.  Poor experience included several years of teaching home economics in Kansas high schools, and six years as specialist in food conservation and marketing at North Carolina State College, Agriculture Extension Service, Raleigh, North Carolina.  As director of the school lunch section, she coordinates the work of three consultants, conducts workshops and in-service programs, carries responsibility for approval of applications and agreements of more than 450 school districts and single unit schools, in addition to processing claims under the school lunch, special milk, and special assistance programs.  Miss Scholz took her high school work at Frankfort, received a B.S. degree from Kansas State University, and a Master's degree in home economics education from the University of Tennessee.

Margaret Rion Van Horn has completed twenty years of service in the State Department of Public Instruction, the last seven of which have been as secretary to the state superintendent.  Since joining the staff she has been secretary to two high school supervisors, the assistant state superintendent, and in the special education section, all of which qualifies her for the many and varied tasks of the number one secretary in the Department.  In addition to stenographic and typing work, Mrs. Van Horn must be familiar with activities and developments throughout the Department, serve as receptionist, answer questions arising from other staff members and from the public in general.  During the year 1966-67, Mrs. Van Horn was president of the Kansas Association of Educational Secretaries and provided leadership for that group.

The continuity of operation was further strengthened by the close working relationship between Superintendent hrockmorton and Mr. Kampshroeder while he served as assistant state superintendent.  In that position he participated in important decision making, developed in-service programs for the staff, worked with school administrators, counseled with boards of education, and in other ways established rapport with school officials, legislators, and the agencies with which the Department works.

One of the tangible results of Kampschroeder's work as assistant state superintendent was the move of the Department to new quarters in October, 1966, soon after he was appointed state superintendent.  The building to which the Department moved had served for years to house an automobile agency.  In arranging for the lease and remodeling job over a period of several months, he carried the many responsibilities involved in the planning with architects, supervising the remodeling program, working with the Department of Administration, and handling the myriad of details connected with the project.

The building, which was remodeled at an estimated cost of $300,000, is of sturdy construction and provides adequate housing for the Department in two full stories and a third floor conference room - a total of 32,000 square feet of floor space.  With new temperature control systems, modern lighting, and resurfaced walls inside and out, the new tailor-made quarters enable the Department to provide more services than from the five buildings in which the staff had been housed.  The 1966 move placed the agency under one roof for the first time since 1951, and marked another advance of the Department's effectiveness.  The new quarters are located two blocks east of the Statehouse grounds.

These many activities and the insights gained during sixteen years of service in the Department of Public Instruction eminently qualified W. C. Kampshroeder for the office of state superintendent, and, at the same time, provided one more link in the continuity of the agency's service since 1945.  Upon taking office as the last elected chief state school officer, Kampschroeder announced his goals, which should assure a smooth transition in 1969 to the new agency for education authorized by the Educational Amendment.  He proposed to:

  1. Continue to strengthen the State Dept of Public Instruction as a means of improving services to local school officials and local school districts.
  2. Assemble educational data and information through research techniques and acquaint citizens of the state with the findings.
  3. Establish a school administrative advisory group to the state superintendent, the group to consist of approximately fifteen members who would be a cross section of the school administration interests of the state.
  4. Make provision for regional workshops for all chief school administrators, to be held during the month of June.
  5. Work closely and cooperatively with the governor and other officers of the executive department of state government, with the Kansas Legislature and its appropriate committees, with the Legislative Council, and with the Research Dept.
  6. Bring into being a group of leaders interested in organizing to improve Kansas education; their concerns to include pre-school age children as well as those from kindergarten through grade twelve, and the community junior college programs for grades thirteen and fourteen.

The State Department of Administration

Cordial relations with the State Department of Administration and other state agencies through which the Department of Public Instruction operate have contributed to the advancement of educational interests throughout the state.  Kampshroeder successfully provided most of the liaison between the two agencies during the years he was assistant state superintendent.  The Dept of Administration, which is an agency of state government closely allied with the administrative and legislative branches, was established by legislative action in 1953.  It includes the Finance Council; which consists of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Speaker of the House, Speaker pro-tem of the Senate, and chairmen of the ways and means committees of the House and Senate.  Other elements in the Dept of Administration include an executive director, a budget division, an accounts and reports division, a purchasing division, a personnel division, the State Architect, and other employees.  The Department of Public Instruction is subject to the same restrictions and controls imposed by this body as are other state agencies.

The state superintendent's clerical and secretarial appointments are made from lists of qualified persons provided by the personnel division, and professional staff members must qualify under standards set by that division.  His annual budget is submitted to the budget division for review by that office before it is presented to the Legislature, and all purchases of equipment for the superintendent's office, in excess of $50, are made through the purchasing division of the Dept of Administration.  Supplies and materials are generally purchased under provisions of open end contract arrangements made by the purchasing division.

New positions can be established by the state superintendent only on approval of the Finance Council or the Legislature.  Thus, the Dept of Public Instruction is not an autonomous agency but, aside from the time consumed in working through the Department of Administration, the system has proved to be quite satisfactory.  In fact, personnel in the budget division have been helpful in testifying before legislative committees relative to financial needs of the superintendent's office, and there are more advantages than disadvantages in the civil service system, which simplifies the process of selecting competent clerical, secretarial, and professional employees.  Working with the Dept of Administration has become increasingly helpful as that agency became familiar with problems peculiar to the Dept of Public Instruction.

The State Superintendent in 1967

The state superintendent, who is administrative head of the Dept of Public Instruction, is the chief school officer of the state.  His powers are granted by the Legislature under authority of the State Constitution.  Traditionally, the office in Kansas has been regarded as a minor one, and is so labeled in spite of the heavy responsibilities assigned to it in recent years.

Aside from his duties as a member of the Dept of Public Instruction, the state superintendent has sole responsibility in many areas.  He is the state authority for junior colleges; enters into agreements with federal agencies in the administration of several federally financed programs; presents the Department budget to the Governor and the Legislature for approval; makes final decisions on many issues respecting school district organization and boundary changes; appoints staff personnel; addresses numerous educational conferences; keeps in close touch with the institutions of higher education; and holds many interviews and informal discussions with persons and groups who come to his office.

The Legislature looks to the state superintendent for recommendations regarding laws needed to improve the state's educational program.  He is subject to a thousand pressures as he backs up staff members, who administer teacher certification, accreditation activities, school district problems, the distribution of state funds to schools, and other departmental programs.  The state superintendent is by law an ex-officio member of several other state agencies, a brief review of which follows:

He is ex-officio chairman of the State Teacher Retirement Board, which was created to administer the teacher retirement system established in 1941.  That board appoints an executive secretary and employs a staff to administer details of the program.  The retirement board meets monthly, develops policy under which the program operates, rules on procedural matters about which the executive secretary is in doubt, and invests the funds contributed by teachers and other members of the system.  Until 1965 all funds by law were invested in securities of the Federal government, but 1965 legislation authorizes the retirement board to invest in assets eligible for the investment of funds of legal reserve life insurance companies in the state of Kansas, with some minor exceptions.  The 1965 legislation also requires the retirement board to retain qualified investment counsel.  Although the retirement system is administered by the executive secretary, serving as chairman of the retirement board is one more time consuming task for the state superintendent.

The same may be said of the state superintendent's responsibility as chairman of the state authority for Schilling Technical Institute at Salina.  Chairmanship of the budget review committee, which rules on budget limits for school districts, requires much of the state superintendent's time.  He also serves as secretary of the School Fund Commission.  The work of that commission is not so heavy as in times past, as all school lands have been sold.  In recent years most of the permanent school fund has been invested in federal securities, which produce more revenue than municipal bonds, in which the fund was invested prior to the late 1950's.

The state superintendent also cooperates with a number of unofficial agencies that work for educational improvement.  He is an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas State Teachers Association, and serves on a number of that organization's committees.  He is also an active member of the Kansas Association of School Administrators, and works closely with officials of the State Association of Board of Education, the Kansas State High School Activities Association, and the Kansas Congress of Parents and Teachers. 

Another responsibility, which recently has been added to the state superintendent's long list of activities, is membership on the board of directors of the Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory.  This is one of a network of such laboratories financed under the Title IV of Public Law 89-10, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.  Planning and developing the laboratory over a period of one and one-half years was a time-consuming task for the board of directors.  Headquarters of the laboratory are in Kansas City, with four service centers located in Wichita, Pittsburg, Manhattan, and Lawrence.

The state superintendent is also responsible for the internal organization of the Dept of Public Instruction, and, in the final analysis, is responsible for decisions and programs developed by his staff.  He, more than any other member or group on the staff, builds the image of the Department and determines whether its public relations program is good or bad.  Also, there are some functions of the Department that are not assigned to the divisions and sections, but remain under the direct supervision of the superintendent and his assistant. 

Reporting directly to the state superintendent and his assistant is the coordinator of federal programs, whose title indicates the nature of his duties.  With federal programs administered in most segments of the Department, the coordinator serves as a clearing point, and keeps informed about educational developments at the federal level.  Other staff members currently (1967) working outside the three divisions of the Department are a personnel director; a director of fiscal management, a director of the Iowa Project, which is discussed later in this chapter; and a director of information who edits Kansas Schools, the official publication of the Department, edits teachers' guides prepared by other staff members, writes news releases to keep the public informed about educational activities, and assists in familiarizing the staff members with developments in the Department.

[Annotation:  In 2004, The State Board of Education is a constitutional body as set forth in Article 6 of the Constitution of the State of Kansas. This article was the result of an amendment adopted November 8, 1966, which transferred the educational responsibilities formerly exercised by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to the State Board of Education, effective January 14, 1969. The Constitution states that the State Board of Education "shall have general supervision of public schools, educational institutions and all the educational interests of the state, except educational functions delegated by law to the State Board of Regents. The State Board of Education shall perform such other duties as may be provided by law." These duties are outlined in K.S.A. 72-7513 and K.S.A. 72-7514.

The Board consists of 10 members elected by the people at the same time that other primary and general elections of state officers are held. The regular term of office is four years and there is no limitation as to the number of terms they may serve. Each Board Member is elected from a particular district comprising four of the 40 senatorial districts of the state. Any citizen is eligible to serve on the State Board except that "no state, school district or community college officer or employee shall be a member of the State Board of Education" (K.S.A. 25-1904).

The Board has the authority to select and appoint a Commissioner of Education who serves as the Board's chief administrative officer. Also, the Board confirms the appointment of assistant commissioners, team leaders and team coordinators upon the Commissioner's recommendation.]

The Educational Secretary

After 1945, the role of the educational secretary became increasingly important as school enrollments expanded, larger school units were developed, new state and federal programs were added, and other complexities of school management required more record keeping and accurate reporting.  By 1967, the school secretary had become an indispensable member of the staff in all well-administered school systems.  The State Department of Public Instruction has always had an obligation to provide leadership that would improve instruction and strengthen school administration.  To that end, the state superintendent and his staff gave encouragement and help when school secretaries decided to organize, and have continued to assist as the organization grew and expanded its services.

Mary Ritter, who served as the state superintendent's secretary until 1951, was one of the leaders in the movement to organize.  Encouragement and assistance was given by Minter Brown, for many years a member of the headquarters staff of the Kansas State Teachers Association; W. W. Wright, a member of the State Dept of Public Instruction; and Adel F. Throckmorton, state superintendent.   The organizational meeting was held in Topeka on November 4, 1950, with sixty-one secretaries in attendance.  The Kansas Association of School Secretaries was formed, but later the title was changed to Kansas Association of Educational Secretaries.

Besides the work of Mary Ritter in launching the movement, four of the first fifteen presidents of the organization have been members of the Dept of Public Instruction.  Margaret Van Horn, the 1966-67 president and currently (1967) secretary to the state superintendent, has given twenty years of service to the Department.  Other presidents from the same agency were:  Margaret Gatchett, 1952-53; Rose Carle, 1961-62; and Catherine Worley, 1962-64 (deceased).

The Association, which is affiliated with the Kansas State Teachers Association and the National Association of Educational Secretaries, which is an affiliate of the National Educational Association, holds two annual meetings, one of which serves as a workshop in which members receive inspiration and seek to upgrade themselves.  The Association and manu educators favor development of a program for the certification of educational secretaries whose work is of such a specialized nature.

Looking Ahead

While there was a marked expansion of the State Department of Public Instruction during the 1945-1967 period, there remained a critical need for additional services necessitated by the new school district system; the expansion of vocational education and other instructional programs, better in-service training for administrators and teachers, uniform record keeping systems, and better procedures for evaluating educational progress.  Also, heavy burdens will be thrown on the Department of Public Instruction with elimination of the 105 county superintendents and all intermediate units when the Educational Amendment of 1966 becomes fully operative in 1969. 

Title V of Public Law 89-10, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, had by 1967 provided funds from federal sources for strengthening the Department of Public Instruction, with additional projects approved to further expand the services of that agency.  An outline of improvements projected in 1967 included:

  1. Refinement and coordination of reporting practices for collecting educational data.
  2. Expansion and use of data processing to include all areas of teacher accounting and certification, school accreditation, distribution of school finances, and supportive services for expanded educational research.
  3. Development of a centralized accounting service for all federal-state programs administered by the Department.
  4. Expansion of the program of field auditing.
  5. Expansion of informational services.
  6. In-service training programs for staff personnel.
  7. Development of complete records of teacher qualification on electronic tape.
  8. Re-examination and upgrading of the practice teacher program.
  9. The comprehensive evaluation of all Kansas school systems.
  10. Provision for additional planning and experimentation in school administration, supervision, faculty improvement, and library services
  11. Additional personnel to administer the above projected services and to strengthen programs already established.

In 1966, the Kansas Dept of Public Instruction agreed to cooperate with twelve other mid-western states in developing and implementing a new educational information system directed toward the five areas of facilities, finance, instructional programs, personnel, and the pupil.  This program, known as the Iowa Project, is headed by the Iowa Dept of Public Instruction.  Dr. Carl B. Althaus represents Kansas in carrying forward this project.  "Creation of a total system has been prompted by the critical need for more educational information by educators and school administrators.  Not only are these groups demanding more information, but they are requiring that information be made available to them much more rapidly than before."

The Kansas state superintendent and his staff helped lay the groundwork for far reaching changes in the organization of the state agency for education when they went on record in 1955, suggesting that the best type of organization for a state department of education is a lay board elected by the people, with the board authorized to appoint a commissioner of education as its chief administrative officer.

The division of state responsibility for education among several agencies became increasingly unsatisfactory as educational programs expanded and federally sponsored activities multiplied.  This division of administrative responsibility included school transportation by the safety division of the highway department; surplus property for schools by the state budget division; commodities for school lunch programs by the state social welfare agency; inter-school competition in athletics, music, forensics, and essay writing by the Kansas State High School Activities Association; safety inspection of schools by the state fire marshal; and vocational education and rehabilitation services by the state board of education, which, in this capacity, is a separate agency outside the State Department of Public Instruction.  Election of a state superintendent every two years on a partisan political ticket did not guarantee continuity of administrative policies, and Supreme Court decisions made constitutionality of the administration of vocational programs by the state board of education questionable.  Because of doubt at this point, the 1965 legislative session excluded the state board of education from some functions it had performed as a branch of the Department of Public Instruction since its organization in 1945.

Following these exclusions, the state superintendent was made the state authority for junior colleges, which had been a function of the Department of Public Instruction; he was authorized, without board approval, to enter into agreements and develop plans with federal agencies for the administration of federally financed programs; and the governing body of a newly created state technical institute did not include the state board of education or any of its members.  A governing board, consisting of the state superintendent and two other persons appointed by the governor, was created to act as the state authority for the technical institute.

In order to correct these and other deficiencies, the Legislature, early in 1966, adopted a resolution to amend the Constitution.  The amendment provides for the creation of a state board of education composed of ten lay persons to be chosen by the electors of ten board-member areas into which the state will be divided. The elected state board of education, under provisions of the amendment, will appoint a state commissioner of education.  The proposed amendment, which was submitted to the Kansas electorate in the 1966 general election, was approved by a substantial majority.  In the same election a state superintendent was chosen for a two-year term.  Thus, the Legislature will have two years in which to work out details for conducting the election to select members for the state board of education, and make the amendment fully operative not later than January, 1969.

Internal Organization of the Department

Because of continued growth of the Department of Public Instruction, and the multiplication of duties assigned to it, an internal reorganization was effected in 1955 by forming three divisions.  These are the divisions of instructional services, administrative services, and accreditation and teacher certification.  Each division is under the leadership of a director, with the work of each division assigned to sections, which are also headed by directors.

The development of educational programs and activities and their relation to the Department of Public Instruction are outlined in Parts II, III, and IV of this chapter.  For convenience these programs are reviewed and described under the appropriate divisions of the Department as indicated above.  In the past, some of these functions have been administered by the state superintendent, the state board of education, other state agencies, or under organizational patterns of the Department that no longer exist.  The history of some of these programs is not limited to the 1945-1967 period, but their development during earlier years is described.  Among such programs are state textbook adoptions, school district organization, and teacher certification.

Educational Leadership

Educational leadership is one of the principal functions of the State Department of Public Instruction.  Evidence that the Kansas Department, in 1967, is in a position to provide such leadership is found in the number of staff members who have received recognition outside the state for service in the field of education.  (List of leaders found on pages 64-65 in this book:  George Reida, Murle M. Hayden, W. C. Kampshroeder, F. Floyd Herr, George Cleland, Clara H. Robertson, Ruby Scholz, James Marshall, Denzell Ekey, Lawrence Simpson, Margaret Van Horn, and Harold Caldwell.)

Return to Index for Kansas Educational Progress, 1858-1967, by A. F. Throckmorton

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