Archive for Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Campaign Notebook: Libertarians unveil school choice plan

August 18, 2010, 9:48 a.m. Updated August 18, 2010, 9:48 a.m.


— The Libertarian candidates for governor and lieutenant governor have unveiled a “school choice” proposal that they said will improve education and save tax dollars.

“This bill turns to the people of Kansas to help address both our education and budget crises,” said Andrew Gray, who is the Libertarian candidate for governor.

The Kansas Education Liberty Act authorizes non-profit organizations to grant scholarships to students to attend a private or public school of their parents’ choice.

People or corporations that donate to these non-profit groups could remove up to 50 percent of their state income tax liability.

Funding to public schools would be reduced by $3,600 for each student who uses the new program to go to a private school, but since that is less than the average cost per student of $6,300, public schools will have more money per student, said Libertarian Lt. Gov. candidate Stacey Davis.

Davis said similar programs have been enacted in 10 states and Washington, D.C.

Gray and Davis said they hope the Legislature will take up their proposal in the 2011 legislative session.


Cait McKnelly 7 years, 7 months ago

Liberterians are nothing but selfish and cruel followers of Ayn Rand. The odd thing is that Rand herself never saw Liberterianism coming from her writing and when it came about she disavowed and rejected them.

James Stewart 7 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for your opinion about what I believe, but I regret to inform you that it is inaccurate. The libertarianism that I believe in is based upon the principles that (a) people need to take responsibility for their own well being, (b) people, not governments, should assist those less fortunate then themselves, whether through charities, churches, co-ops, etc. and (c) when in doubt, better not to have the government legislate or do something themselves.

I have certainly run across the sort you are referring to but, please, let's not draw broad assumptions about a diverse group that involve phrases like "Libertarians are nothing but..." In fact, the most recent discussion I had with someone on this subject was pointing out to a self-proclaimed Republican, who had not only an anti-welfare but also an anti-charity attitude, that most reasonable people who oppose government-based charity do so because they still believe in independent charity and, in fact, believe that they will be able to afford to donate more because their money is not being appropriated by inefficient government bureaucracy.

I take a more moderate approach than some as far as how and what to cut out of government and on what sort of timetable. A parting thought: if the world's resources are limited and human population continues unabated, what approach do you endorse? 1. Survival of the fittest with a cutthroat attitude. 2. Take care of you and your loved ones first, do what you can to help others. 3. Divide everything equally amongst all people, even if it means that no one gets enough.

The Libertarian system that I personally endorse follows very much from #2. After all, when resources are limited (and they are even now), you can afford the inefficiencies of government that much less. Besides, there is no question that everyone serves and should serve their own interest first (and that we're all "selfish") and there is certainly question about whether it is ever possible to divide anything "equally"... and whether or not those that will inevitably be in charge of making things equal won't just decide to serve their own interests instead (a la Soviet "communism").

hungryhustler 7 years, 7 months ago

Nicely put! It really doesn't make any sence to me the way people think that oppose this view. Think things through people!! Take responsibility for you and your family. Pop the goverment's teet out of your mouth. The milk has gone sour!

overthemoon 7 years, 7 months ago

I appreciate your reasoned explanation but take issue with your list of 'options'. Number 3 does not exist in any current form or proposal in the United States. No one wants 'equal division' of everything. A base, very base, level of support for all is what we attempt to do. Housing, food, health care, job opportunities and education. When you are at the very bottom, these are insurmountable obstacles to basic subsistence. We also pay dearly in terms of crime, healthcare and other preventable social problems when we ignore those who are most unfortunate. This is what a civilized society does because we are in fact only as strong as our weakest citizens. Having a reasonably uniform method to provide these basic necessities is important...I will certainly agree with any argument that the system is not efficient and needs vast improvements to function effectively. Beyond that, personal initiative and opportunity know no bounds.

Charity is a good thing, but without organization at a broad level, it is too localized and selective and relies on those people who are generous of spirit. That seems unfortunately rare in our highly mobile and materialistic world.

tolawdjk 7 years, 7 months ago

Color me confused. Where does the $6300 number come from? Is the a local+state number? Cause the other article says $4,012 per student in funding.

And i fail to see how "school" choice will help 2/3s of the state. You live in Ness City, where the heck is there a "choice" there? Oh I know, let her take the wheat truck to Dighton.

situveux1 7 years, 7 months ago

$4,012 is just base state aid, it doesn't include all the add-ons later, like extra for special ed and reduced lunch kids. When you consider all state funding & not just base aid it comes to about $6,300. It's over $12,000 when you add local & federal funding.

avoice 7 years, 7 months ago

Virtual schools, such as the highly successful program here in Lawrence, are accessible statewide. Private homeschool programs also abound. Think outside the bricks-and-mortar.

StaceyD 7 years, 7 months ago

The Kansas Education Liberty Act (KELA) is very well received by teachers who have reviewed this act. It not only saves the taxpayers of Kansas money, it more importantly increases educational outcomes in all settings including public schools.

The Andrew Gray campaign is very pro-individual and pro-community. This act is a good example of Andrew's goal to move services to the most local level possible where such services can not only more efficient and effective, but more compassionate.

This article barely brushes the surface of what KELA really is. To learn more, and even read the complete legislation, visit

avoice 7 years, 7 months ago

Brilliant! Thanks very much for this link. Highly informative. Common-sense approach.

BigDog 7 years, 7 months ago

StaceyD Since you are affiliated with the state party you should know his position on two issues that, according to polls, seem quite important to the people of Kansas.

What is Mr. Grays plan creating job and turning around the state's economy?

What is Mr. Gray's position on the immigration issue?

StaceyD 7 years, 7 months ago


Great questions. Not only am I associated with the state party, I'm Andrew Gray's running mate in this campaign.

Jobs. The Andrew Gray team knows that only the private sector creates jobs and prosperity. While in office, it will be our job to remove barriers to success and allow the people of Kansas to start creating jobs. We will fight relentlessly to simplify regulations on business. There is a place for regulations, but those regulations have become so complex that even those charged with enforcing them often do not fully understand said regulations. Such complexities stop innovation and job creation. We will also push for a cultural change within the agencies that oversee regulation compliance. Those compliance agencies should act as resources to help private businesses comply, not as overseers waiting to punish the very taxpayers they work for. Our team will also search out private / public partnerships to help bring efficiency to public services while creating more private sector jobs.

Illegal Immigration. Like all Kansans, the Andrew Gray team supports legal immigration, and we understand that illegal immigration has become a heavy burden on the legal immigrants of Kansas and America. We propose to close the back door into America tighter. We will strongly disincentivize illegal immigrants from making a home in Kansas through restriction of jobs, drivers licenses, and many public services to illegal immigrants. Just as importantly, however, we know that Kansas and America have always been strengthened by the arrival legal immigrants, so we will push for the Federal government to open the front door wider and make it easier for quality and skilled immigrants to make a home in our fine state.

BigDog 7 years, 7 months ago


Thank you for answering my questions.

Am I reading this statement correctly as this would be about privatization of public sector jobs?

"Our team will also search out private / public partnerships to help bring efficiency to public services while creating more private sector jobs."

average 7 years, 7 months ago

Are the private schools who recieve funds through such a program going to be required to accept every student that comes through their door, special needs included, and allocating spots in full schools solely by lottery? Oh, and making sure that no student is turned away for inability to pay far more than the state contribution?

Or, is the idea that the special needs, difficult, and expensive to educate students will fall to the government schools of last resort. Which will, not unexpectedly, suck?

There is no easier way to have a high-achievement school than to only take in already gifted students. That doesn't mean the schooling is actually better.

StaceyD 7 years, 7 months ago


Yes, you did read that statement correctly. I'll elaborate. We should investigate the privatization of some public sector jobs. Other states have found great success in creating private / public partnerships to provide basic services such as the running of public parks, distribution of nutrition services, etc. We should do the same for the sake of efficiency, effectiveness, and to begin to rebuild our communities that have been lost because we have chosen to hire out the good work of neighborly compassion to far off agencies. By making services more local, we strengthen the culture of Kansas that binds us together as neighbors who look out for each other.

It is worth mentioning that when this is done hand-in-hand with simplifying the regulations that so often stand in the way of new private business, we will see an explosion of entrepreneurial enterprise in Kansas. Many of those new businesses will be launched by highly skilled and experienced professionals who currently offer services as government employees but will now find themselves empowered to do the same work more efficiently and effective as small business owners across Kansas.


StaceyD 7 years, 7 months ago


Thanks for the questions.

Private schools remain private, yet they are barred from discrimination just as they currently are. There are provisions in the bill to offer greater scholarships to students who are subject to the ADA, to encourage private educational settings to make provisions for such students.

In other states who have already implemented version of school choice, we see that all kinds of struggling students opt for a different choice. We also see that those students performance improves and the parents satisfaction level increases. Those students who are thriving in the current educational settings will have no reason to leave, but those who are struggling will now have the opportunity to find a setting that meets there individual needs. This choice will not only help that student, but the students who choose to remain in the public school who will now have a more focused teacher, more resources per student, and a smaller class room.

Everyone wins.

Please take some time to study the plan in detail. We are not tossing out political rhetoric, we are laying it all on the table. You can even read the entire bill on our website. Currently, it's linked from the front page right under the email sign-up.

Thanks, Stacey

average 7 years, 7 months ago

So, yes, reading it. The private school can kick out any student it wants. Something the public school cannot do. Which will serve to ghettoize the public schools with mostly the students that no private school will take.

Which, of course, you'll use to prove how horrible public education is.

It's incredibly cheap to educate a bunch of 110+ IQ kids with involved parents. Pretty damned easy, too. Even easier with the threat of being sent to the 'bad old' public school. Devil take the hindmost libertarianism... same as it ever was.

Patrick Wilbur 7 years, 7 months ago

A school would have no reason to kick out students if they are achieving. In fact there is probably more incentive to help students improve since there is some legit competition. There is no competition and no accountability under the current system and - therefore - no real incentive to improve.

average 7 years, 7 months ago

That's not the question. The school will have every reason to find an excuse kick out students (to the public last-resort school) who aren't reflecting well on the school's average scores

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