Group forms to oppose conservative members of State Board of Education

? A new political action committee is open for business and aiming to get rid of the six-member majority on the State Board of Education.

The Kansas Alliance for Education, a nonpartisan grassroots organization, announced Wednesday it will promote candidates for the 10-member board “whose beliefs and objectives are more in line with mainstream Kansans.”

The group opposes the six-member majority on the board because of the decision to place criticism of evolution in science standards, and the hiring of new Education Commissioner Bob Corkins, who, before his appointment, led a conservative think tank that regularly criticized public schools.

“We believe these actions demonstrate that they are more concerned with promoting their narrow agenda than they are with preparing the children of Kansas to deal with the challenges of the 21st century,” group members said.

The six board members have defended their decisions, saying evolution should be open to criticism, and Corkins was the best candidate to further changes in the public school system.

Four of the six-member majority are up for re-election next year: Connie Morris of St. Francis; Ken Willard, of Hutchinson; Kathy Martin, of Clay Center; and John Bacon, of Olathe. All are Republican.

The Kansas Alliance for Education will be led by Don Hineman, a lifelong Republican and rancher and farmer from Dighton. The group’s Web site is