To the editor:
Gov. Brownback wants Mike O’Neal to define “suitable education.” Brownback says “we have faced repeated legal action because no one knows what a suitable education actually means.” Brownback is willfully ignorant of the Kansas Constitution.
Kansas’ constitution does not require the state to provide “suitable public education” but rather “suitable finance” of public education. Article 6, Section 6, states “The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.”
The constitution defines the educational interests of the state in Article 6, Section 1: “The legislature shall provide for intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement by establishing and maintaining public schools.”
The state has already defined “intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement” and has commissioned and conducted multiple cost studies which define the necessary funding.
“Improvement” does not mean stagnation. Nor does it mean scaling back to 1999, or returning to rudimentary reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic; as Speaker O’Neal has implied. Improvement means improvement. The courts are clear on this.
If I thought it might help, I would send Brownback a dictionary and a copy of the Kansas Constitution. Sadly, that would only waste my time and money.
The truth is that Sam Brownback doesn’t like the real answers to these questions; because the real answers don’t fit his anti-public-school, anti-tax agenda. Brownback does not intend to uphold the Kansas Constitution.
By defining “suitable,” Brownback thinks he can exonerate his plan to gut public education and drive our children’s opportunities back to the late 20th century.