Among the most closely watched races in primary elections across the state this year are those for members of the Kansas Board of Education.
Those elected to the board are expected to approve a K-12 academic curriculum that will best prepare Kansas youngsters to be contributing members of our society. One of the big issues in this election is whether the state continues to support an agenda that has included science standards that question or criticize evolution and changes to the state's sex education policy. Also at stake may be the continued employment of Education Commissioner Bob Corkins, who was hired over the objections of some board members concerned about his lack of educational experience and background.
Because no Republican has filed in District 1, the Democratic primary in all likelihood will decide who will represent the constituents of that district, which covers parts of Lawrence north of U.S. Highway 40 and most of eastern Douglas County, including Baldwin and Eudora.
Janet Waugh, the incumbent, served more than 15 years on the Turner Board of Education in Kansas City, Kan., and has held state and regional offices for the PTA and the Kansas Association of School Boards. She was elected to the state board in 1999 and has not supported the agenda of the board's current ultra-conservative majority. Her challenger supports both the altered science standards and the new sex education policy and is grouped in fundraising letters with members of the board majority who are seeking re-election.
This is an important election that likely will be decided largely on the basis of whose supporters come to the polls in greater numbers. Those who want the state board of education to reflect a more moderate philosophy need to vote in the Aug. 1 primary and make their views known.
To help restore professionalism and an education-focused agenda to the state board of education, the Journal-World supports Waugh in the Democratic primary.