Archive for Saturday, September 24, 2005

Morris has challenger for Kansas ed board seat

Republican taught evolution

September 24, 2005

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— Sally Cauble, a former teacher and local school board member, is planning a Republican primary challenge of Connie Morris, a conservative and sometimes controversial member of the State Board of Education.

Although the board is split along moderate and conservative lines, Cauble, 54, of Liberal, said she didn't put herself in either camp.

"I'm running on common sense, and I'm a Republican," she said Friday.

A former teacher, Morris defeated 14-year incumbent Sonny Rundell, of Syracuse, in the 2002 GOP primary and wants a second four-year term representing District 5, which includes the sparsely populated western half of the state.

Whoever wins the Aug. 1 primary faces Democrat Tim Cruz, former Garden City mayor, in the Nov. 7 general election.

Five of the board's 10 seats will be filled next year, and four belong to conservatives, including Morris.

That gives moderate Republicans and Democrats a chance to change the 6-4 conservative majority.

A native of Dodge City, Cauble said she was an elementary school teacher for 10 years in Fredonia, Wichita and Memphis, Tenn. She served on the Liberal school board from 1989-96.

Although Morris has expressed some controversial opinions during her tenure, Cauble refused to attack her.

"I believe she's doing what she thinks is best. However, there are a few issues I don't agree with her on," Cauble said.

Conservatives want to change the science standards to expose students to more criticism of the theory of evolution. Morris has described evolution as a "fairy tale."

"I believe God created the universe. I taught evolution, and I find the two compatible," Cauble said. "I may teach intelligent design in a philosophy class, but I'm not sure I would put it in the science curriculum."

In 1999, the conservative-controlled board rewrote science standards to delete most references to the theory of evolution, which many scientists and science groups saw as a direct attack by creationists. That made Kansas the focus of international ridicule.

After the 2000 elections, the board had a 7-3 majority of Democrats and moderate Republicans. But the majority swung back to conservatives who unseated moderate Republicans in 2002 and 2004.

Earlier this month, the board deadlocked over whether to recommend that schools districts require students to obtain parental permission to participate in sex education classes or leave it to the districts to decide.

Morris said she's interested in making the parental permission proposal a mandate, perhaps by rewriting the board's regulations on how schools are accredited.

"I believe that's a local issue," Cauble said. "I believe in setting guidelines, and I believe that's the job of the State Board of Education."

As a candidate in 2002, Morris suggested the state shouldn't pay for educating children of illegal immigrants. Hispanics now make up more than 40 percent of the population around District 5's three biggest towns, Garden City, Dodge City and Liberal.

"We're not allowed to pick and chose in public education who we can educate," Cauble said.

Comments

Curious 9 years, 8 months ago

CARL MANNING - you wrote on 9/24/05 "In 1999, the conservative-controlled board rewrote science standards to delete most references to the theory of evolution, which many scientists and science groups saw as a direct attack by creationists. That made Kansas the focus of international ridicule."

Do words mean things? In 1999 the science standards came up for review. There were no references to the theory of evolution in the existing standards. The people who were asked to write the NEW standards included questions on evolution. The majority on the Board thought the questions were worded such that evolution would be taught as fact not as a theory and asked that they be reworded. The request was refused and the Great Debate began -- fueled by the media. Reasonable people can disagree on the wording of a question and what that wording means. The debate has since escalated to where it is now unreasonable people participating based on a false premise. We cannot go back with articles such as Carl Manning wrote with the "misleading" (to put it mildly) paragraph included.

My theory is "The newspaper gets it right -- unless you happen to have first hand knowledge. Then all bets are off!" Is there a way you can correct that impression? Not with "opinion pieces" on page 4B couched as "news." My mother-in-law prides herself on the fact that when she attended a city meeting, etc., and wrote an article about it in the newspaper she worked for -- all sides would thank her for getting it right!
WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHAT. CHECK, CHECK, and reCHECK your facts! And only then submit your article! If something other than a fact is in the article, GET RID OF IT! It does NOT belong! Reporters, guess what, REPORT! Be interested in the FACTS, not CHANGING THE WORLD! If an article written about a story becomes part of the story through even subtle nuanced phrases, the reporter FAILED to do the job! My mother-in-law decries the product of today's Schools of Journalism. I agree with her.

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