Archive for Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Statehouse Live: Kansans like their public schools but support changes, poll says

December 1, 2010, 10:32 a.m. Updated December 1, 2010, 12:32 p.m.


— A poll released by a group that supports charter schools and vouchers says Kansans support charter schools and vouchers.

The poll results also showed that of the six states surveyed, Kansans were the most happy with their public schools.

The study was done on behalf of The Foundation for Educational Choice, an Indianapolis-based organization that describes itself as promoting “school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America.”

More than 600 registered voters were interviewed last summer in each state. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, the foundation reported.

In addition to Kansas, the poll included Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York. They were picked because none has enacted voucher or tax-credit systems and each has low student populations in charter schools, the foundation said.

Of those states, only Kansas had a majority of respondents who said the public school education system was headed in the “right direction” -- 49 percent to 38 percent who said K-12 education has “generally gotten off on the wrong track.”

Other results from Kansas respondents:

• 63 percent rated their public school system as good or excellent.

• 62 percent support charter schools, described in the poll question as “public schools that have more control over their own budget, staff and curriculum and are exempt from many existing public school requirements.”

• 56 percent support tax credits for contributions to non-profits to provide private school scholarships to students. That was the lowest of the six states.

• 57 percent (again lowest of the six states) support a system where a child could go to private or public school, including both religious and non-religious schools, and “tax dollars currently allocated to a school district would be allocated to parents in the form of a school voucher to pay partial or full tuition.”

Robert Enlow, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer, said the results should encourage passage of choice proposals in Kansas.

“Kansas is teetering toward budget crisis and academic stagnation,” Enlow said. “Vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and charter schools can relieve the state's financial pressure while giving every child a more effective, personalized education - and this study shows Kansans agree with that.”

Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, had a different opinion.

“The polling reported indicates that Kansans have positive feelings about their public schools, and know that Kansas ranks among the national leaders in academic performance. What they may not know - and the survey didn't tell them - is that Kansas already has higher national test scores, higher ACT scores and a lower drop-out rate than states with more charter schools or voucher programs,” Tallman said.

Tallman added that instead of creating a new system of deregulated charter schools, the Legislature could reduce regulations on all school boards. He added, “Finally, the Kansas Constitution, adopted by the people, requires that public schools be operated by local school boards and prohibits public education funds from going to religious organizations.”


ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 3 months ago

And exactly how does the teabagger set reconcile the idea of vouchers for private schools with small government? So they believe that the taxpayers should pay for their precious little snowflakes to attend the religious school of THEIR choice?

iamfree 7 years, 3 months ago

ronwell_dobbs, do you realize that when you use a demeaning sexual term to describe an entire group of people, you marginalize yourself?

However, to answer your question, I don't approve of federal taxes being used for public schools (it is extra-constitutional), but if my money is being confiscated for use by the schools, I should be able to at least decide where those funds are spent, including private or charter schools. My preference would be to not pay the taxes to begin with and have the funds left at my disposal to make my own educational choices for my child.

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 3 months ago

Let's see...

Test Subject: iamfree

1.) Woefully simplistic arguments - check 2.) Pitiful lack of understanding of the U.S. Constitution - check 3.) Inability to accept that teabaggers named themselves and took pride in the name before they realized the previously-held meaning of the word caused chuckles - check 4.) Assertion that one could provide better for themselves than the govt - check 5.) Assertion that one should not have to pay taxes - check

Diagnosis: teabagger

windex 7 years, 3 months ago

OK, let's play your game. Let's say you no longer have to pay any taxes of any kind toward K-12 education and you get to keep that money and use it to educate your own child. How much money would this be? What kind of education could you purchase with this amount of money?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

The opposition to public schools is primarily ideologically based. It has nothing to do with any understanding of or concern for pedagogy. Public schools are part of the gubmint, which is always evil, and elimination of anything that's "governmental" automatically trumps any concern about education.

Centerville 7 years, 3 months ago

Two obstacles that Brownback can overcome: 1. KNEA fervid opposition to charter schools. 2. KNEA furtive opposition to credentialing professionals to teach. The option in place has one of those hopey-changey names but makes it, in fact, almost impossible for someone who has a degree and experience in, say, chemical engineering, to get the parchment needed to teach chemistry in a public school.

Orwell 7 years, 3 months ago

Typical. Give a survey respondent a partial and subjectively favorable description of an option and you'll get a positive response. It's reminiscent of the "blind men and the elephant" poem, in which each person who touched only a part of the animal was sure he knew what the whole beast looked like.

Re-run the poll, and ask additionally: "Would you support this if the alternative schools were free to turn away students who wanted to attend, and funds were taken from the remaining traditional public schools – which would still be required to educate all the students turned away by the charter schools?"

KSManimal 7 years, 3 months ago

Well said, Orwell.

The poll defined charter schools as “public schools that have more control over their own budget, staff and curriculum and are exempt from many existing public school requirements.”

How about this definition instead:

"Schools that accept and/or retain only successful students, while counseling less-successful students out. These schools, though tax-funded, typically contract significant portions of their operations to private, for-profit corporations. Having done so, the charter school operators evade and circumvent laws regarding open meetings and open records; and take advantage of this newfound secrecy to funnel tax dollars away from education and into shady real estate deals, hedge funds, and six-figure salaries for charter school executives."

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