Suitable Education survey

By Kevin Gray

How would you answer the following questions sent by the Kansas Association of School Boards to all the public school districts in Kansas?
What do Kansas public schools currently offer that promotes intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement?
My answer: How about a wide ranging set of classes and programs taught by well qualified and caring teachers.
What are Kansas public schools not doing that should be added to provide such improvement?
My answer: THEY should be rehiring teachers, para-educators, and staff let go by the current desire to cut funding in a shell game designed to give tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy. That and reopening closed buildings.
What should Kansas public schools stop doing because it does not advance such improvement?
My answer: Stop allowing legislators, hell-bent on ideological change, and force them to properly fund what already works before setting Kansas public schools back decades. To do this, they need the parents to speak up and out.
The Prairie View School District’s Web site, where I found the survey, explained, “The questions are based on current proposed language from the Kansas Legislature to amend the Kansas Constitution with regard to school finance. The questions were developed by the Kansas Association of School Boards and distributed to all public schools in Kansas.”
Current language: the Kansas State constitution already uses the phrasing, “…shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state” and “…shall provide for intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement by establishing and maintaining public schools.”
Proposed language: Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas House speaker Mike O’Neill, R-Hutchison, hope to change language in the Kansas Constitution from “suitable” funding for education to “in an amount to be determined by the legislature.” Do you realize the danger in this?
In addition, a House resolution proposes, “the executive and judicial branches would have no authority to direct the legislative branch to make any appropriation of money or to redirect an appropriation or limit in any fashion of an appropriation already made by law, except as the legislative branch may provide by law or as may be required by the constitution of the United States.”
Can you imagine what both proposals would do to Kansas education? Gutting not cutting could take place at will and – with no protective checks and balances – who knows what legislators will add and delete.
Kansans elected legislators – thinking jobs creation – only to see funds shifting from public schools and institutions to corporate entities/private-religious schools. If they get their way, a well-rounded educational system designed to educate the whole Kansas student, not just the reading, writing, and arithmetic part, will disappear.
What does a suitable education mean to a conservative governor and legislature? Just what will they identify as suitable – a coin toss – and worth funding? I really don’t want to find out.
Reading-writing-arithmetic should be safe enough, unless they go changing history textbooks like Texas has done. David Klepper, writing for the Wichita Eagle, adds, “Teacher raises? High school band? Art classes? Foreign language? A new elementary school?”
How about sports? Take away football! FOOTBALL? How do sports fit intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement anyway? Rest assured, sports easily fits each category. Will pay-to-play lead to sports scholarships for athletes too poor to afford participation fees?
Elementary-middle-high school music programs, art, physical education, and shop classes? On the high school level, what about newspaper and yearbook? Theater, forensics, and debate? Shop programs? Culinary classes? Photography and Graphic Arts? Para-professionals and support staff?
Instead of trying to defund and tear down the fine education already provided, should not the governor and his minions be working on growing the economy through job creation, while treating our young as an investment and working hard to enhance what we already have in place?
Many of my former students, enrolled in schools of education across Kansas, have begun reconsidering not becoming teachers because of the uncertainty, firings and buildings being shuttered and closed. I keep telling them to hang in there. We need good teachers.
What will be the cost, if legislators turn off those Friday night lights or stop funding anything they deem expendable? If you care about the kids, then it’s not too late to stop the insanity.

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Posted by admin on Apr 13 2011. Filed under Kevin Gray. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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