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Archive for Thursday, March 10, 2011

Speaker O’Neal pushes to abolish State Board of Education, Kansas Board of Regents

March 10, 2011, 10:20 a.m. Updated March 10, 2011, 2:29 p.m.

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House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, talks with State Board of Education member Sue Storm about his proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the education board and Kansas Board of Regents March 10, 2011. Seated in the center is Christie Kriegshauser, communications director for O'Neal's office.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, talks with State Board of Education member Sue Storm about his proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the education board and Kansas Board of Regents March 10, 2011. Seated in the center is Christie Kriegshauser, communications director for O'Neal's office.

— House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, on Thursday urged approval of a constitutional amendment that would abolish the State Board of Education and Kansas Board of Regents.

It would authorize the governor to select a Cabinet-level secretary of education.

“I do not see a great deal of coordination between the Board of Regents and K through 12 right now,” O'Neal told the House Education Committee.

He described the 10-member State Board of Education as “dysfunctional” because it has 5-5 votes on some issues.

But Gary Sherrer, chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents, and Ken Willard, a member of the State Board of Education, opposed the proposed constitutional amendment. Sherrer said it was “a solution seeking a problem.”

Currently, the nine-member Board of Regents, which supervises higher education, is appointed to staggered terms by the governor. The board hires a regents president. The Education Board is elected from districts and appoints a state education commissioner.

Sherrer said the regents was created in 1925 in order to protect higher education from political abuses and direct control of the governor.

“We have in place today a governance and coordination structure that encourages collaboration, reduces duplication, enhances Kansas' quality of life, and boosts the state's economy,” he said.

Willard said the Education Board would become more politically motivated if it were susceptible “to the changing political environment of the governor's office.”

“While the proposed new governance of education could, no doubt be made to work, the question is, what is the evidence that it would, in fact, serve the interests of the people of Kansas better than the cooperative leadership model now in effect,” Willard said.

Missy Taylor, with Kansas Families for Education, said the proposal would produce too much uncertainty within the education system.

“Every time a new governor is elected we could see a change in leadership for our educational system, and this could prove detrimental for our schools and our students,” she said.

John Masterson, president of Allen County Community College and chairman of the Community College Council of Presidents, said O’Neal’s plan would be disruptive to higher education.

“The current structure makes our educational system less subject to political forces,” he said.

O'Neal said his proposal may be better suited for legislative action during the 2012 legislative session. But, he said, he wanted the debate to start.

Proposed constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate before they can be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.

On Wednesday, the Education Committee recommended a proposed constitutional amendment from O’Neal that is aimed at preventing lawsuits against the state alleging inadequate funding of public schools.

Comments

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

More BIG Government by well UNIFORMED politicians.

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Benjamin Roberts 3 years, 1 month ago

Kropotkin (anonymous) replies… "If you look at the Tea Party platform, it's largely a replica of the platform of David H. and Charles de Ganahl Koch..."

You don't get a free pass on this statement, Kropotkin.
First, there is no 'Tea Party platform'. Even Wikipedia got this right. "The Tea Party movement has no central leadership but is composed of a loose affiliation of national and local groups that determine their own platforms and agendas." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Part...)

I have tried to find the Koch brothers platform. Do you have a link to a website where they have posted their platform? My guess is that it, too, is non-existent.

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Raiden 3 years, 1 month ago

Clearly the wannabe Emperor O'Neal has no clothes now!

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ivalueamerica 3 years, 1 month ago

The GOP is doing now exactly what they did before during the gingrich sweep back in the day.

They mistook public disatisfaction with government as some sort of ultra conservative mandate and grab as much as they can.

And just like then, they will suffer for it.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 1 month ago

The State Board and The Regents are much like many groups, worthless and nothing more than obit material for those who serve on them. It is a different kind of "country club". Eduation is now nothing more than an experiment and a those employed in the field are whiners constantly complaining that they are not paid enough, that the kids suffer, I sure don't see any kids suffering at Mcdonalds, feeding their fat tummies and a look at the parents indicated they are not suffering from lack of funds or malnutrition.

Reduce state government, the time is now.

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friendlyjhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

"Sherrer said the regents was created in 1925 in order to protect higher education from political abuses and direct control of the governor" Laughed at that. Sure hasn't happened lately. Protection is just another Kansas town.

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Randall Uhrich 3 years, 1 month ago

When are they going to do something about all the elephants roaming the Interstate? That's a more pressing problem. Oh yeah, what about the jobs?

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bluedawg79 3 years, 1 month ago

This all reminds me of when Voldemort came back and his hooligans took over the Ministry of Magic. Where's Harry Potter when you need him!? Save us, Harry!

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 1 month ago

manfred (anonymous) replies… As Fox News Commentator Bernie Goldberg said, "If Jesus were alive today, he'd be a liberal." Wow - that may be the first time I've non-ironically quoted something from Fox. ===== Manfred, my take is the great ESSENE teacher was a radical, which is why the traditional priests probably had him killed. He believed in love, forgivness, protection of the poor and the powerless and had little use for money except as a means to help those less fortunate. The power brokers had other opinions and certainly didn't want to share with the less fortunate (see Sermon on the Mount.) If some of this sounds familiar, it should, but the C-Street Family has turned the teacher on his head and turned him into the Muscular Union-Buster Businessman. Sound similar to current Kochkansas politics? It might. Google Jeff Sharlet for a starter kit.

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rhd99 3 years, 1 month ago

So, the battle of evolution vs creationism is FINALLY over? The world is coming to an end. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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coderob 3 years, 1 month ago

This headline is a little misleading. He still wants a secretary of education. Surely, there has to be a precedent for this system somewhere. I'm just as against the senseless Brownback cuts as the next guy, but the headline for this article is definitely baiting.

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bobberboy 3 years, 1 month ago

oneal wants the education system in kansas to be run by the koch brothers.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

The extent of representative democracy continues to be in flux. The USA is not a democracy, it is a representative democracy.

The 20th century saw a move toward more direct democracy (elected rather appointed senators, ballot issues in MO and CA, election of judges, etc.).

This move toward more direct democracy was accompanied by public education for all, leading to a more informed citizenry able to read and to comprehend proposals put forth on ballots and by politicians.

The attempts to undermine public education by those on the right over the last 30+ years will have effects on the country. Possibly, we will continue the march toward true democracy with an uninformed and ignorant populace, which will spell doom for the USA (we are already seeing it, IMHO).

Alternatively, we will begin to move toward more representative democracy where the political culture of the USA is represented by an educated and literate representative class.

The sad thing is that many on the populist right wing (tea partiers) work to undermine the very democracy they so cherish when they attack public education.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 1 month ago

Interesting discussion, this is. Kansas has 'delivered' top-ten academic test scores on the national scale for decades, no matter the test. We do this spending less money per pupil than most states, including our midwestern neighbors. Have some strange people been elected to the SBOE at times? Sure. We've elected a few ringers in the Kansas House of Representatives and the Senate as well. That's democracy, folks. Having the SBOE seats filled with the Governor's best buddies or large campaign contributors won't solve anything. Let it ride.

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bobberboy 3 years, 1 month ago

oneal is such a little man - hutch folks must be proud.

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question4u 3 years, 1 month ago

Is there lead in the Hutchinson Water supply? That would explain some things.

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 1 month ago

The last Republican President's remarks on education... "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" --Florence, South Carolina, Jan. 11, 2000

Glenn Beck: "O-L-I-G-A-R-H-Y." –misspelling "oligarchy" on his chalk board while claiming he had deciphered a secret code that he said was proof President Obama was trying to create an "Oligarhy," Aug. 27, 2009, Glenn Beck show on FOX News Channel

Sarah Palin: "But obviously, we've got to stand with our North Korean allies." --Sarah Palin, after being asked how she would handle the current hostilities between the two Koreas, interview on Glenn Beck's radio show, Nov. 24, 2010

I am looking forward to hearing Speaker O'Neil's views on education and how the Republican Party will "fix" it.

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newmath 3 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like a great idea. Lets take 10 elected positions and replace it with one political hack!

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witchfindergeneral 3 years, 1 month ago

dang lib'ruls and there book-learnin, donut let my moni (( i work hard @ the QucikTrip!! )go towardss some SOcalist-funnded higher (becuz theyre alll hi on drugs anywayz, lol) edukatshun.

Palin/-O'Neel 2013!

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Agnostick 3 years, 1 month ago

BigPrude (anonymous) says…

"What do these people get paid to do anyway?"


Connie Morris got paid to go batshot crazy, use part of the board's budget for purely political reasons. She also went to a conference out of state--Florida, I believe--and tried to stick us with an excessive hotel bill, because she stayed in a rather high-dollar suite.

Kathy Martin gets paid to come up with interesting new ways to knot the rope we're supposed to tie around the knees of all our girls and young women... the only form of birth control Mrs. Martin approves of.

There are probably a lot more examples, but those are the first two that come to mind.

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seeker_of_truth 3 years, 1 month ago

Further an amendment to ban the the teabaggers and all the republican party members from any elected position.

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Slowponder 3 years, 1 month ago

Why don't we have a constitutional amendment to abolish the Speaker of the House? Propose that one, Mr. Neal.

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kugrad 3 years, 1 month ago

That is misleading Nightmare because other states have much different structures with elected officials at different positions that don't even exist in Kansas.

There is no educational or education-related reason to make this radical change in the way Kansas educational policy is developed. It is an entirely political act on the speaker's part and to pretend otherwise would be wholly disingenuous.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

Election of a state board of education by district is an unusual way to do it. In other states, this is part of the governor's administration.

I see no reason why Kansas needs to have a KBOR elected by districts. Leave it to the governor, like other aspects of the executive branch.

What tends to happen in KBOR elections is that turn-out and voter attention is very low, allowing candidates to be elected without a thorough vetting of their credentials and by a vocal and motivated minority.

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kugrad 3 years, 1 month ago

Continuation due to length

We already have a governor whose own religious views have influenced his public policy. Our governor has almost zero cultural literacy and holds fundamentalist religious views that take an antiquated view towards the arts. As a result of his religious views, he attempted to end funding for the arts he finds objectionable in Kansas. There is no question that the governor's personal religious views influenced his unpopular decision to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission. What would he do if he could control the decisions about curriculum currently made by the State Board of Education? Similarly, the Governor serves a master besides the voters (as does Speaker O'Neal). He appointed an employee of Americans for Prosperity as his budget director. Now, there is nothing wrong with this per se, but this particular employee was thoroughly lambasted BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY just last year as being "ignorant" about the budget of Kansas after he presented a ridiculous model budget in Topeka last year to the legislature. Now, the former object of bipartisan ridicule is in charge. Why? Either Brownback wants to hire and incompetent or because Americans for Prosperity spent so much helping him be elected. Take your pick, it is one or the other. What would prevent the governor from serving Koch Industries or AFP when making choices about our schools?

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kugrad 3 years, 1 month ago

When faced with a radical proposal like this one, it is essential to ask the critical question: Why?

We already know these things about Mr. O'Neal: 1) He is ethically challenged - numerous complaints have been lodged against his ethical conduct, and not entirely by members of the opposition party 2) He is against public education in general.

This is political, and it has nothing to do with whatever public justification Mr. O'Neal will put forward. It is not an attempt to save money. It is not an attempt to improve our schools. There is no legitimate need to align KG-12 with courses offered by Universities (no state does that).

As I try to process this truly radical suggestion that seems more at place in the theatre of the absurd than in the legislature, two questions really bother me.

First, why is the House Speaker such an enemy of public education? It is not hyperbole to suggest that he actually wants to destroy public education. Seriously. That is not an exaggeration based on his past actions and statements. This is a man who plots against public education. How odd is that? Why would he oppose our public schools so much? Perhaps he wants to see privatized schools, but they would not be profitable if there were a free alternative. Perhaps he wants control over what is taught, so that children can be indoctrinated rather than educated, but must weaken the system first? I am reaching here, because I am dumbfounded trying to find a legitimate reason to try to damage a school system which succeeds in bringing 87% of it's fourth graders to grade level in reading and about the same in math (including every child with a disability being tested).

The second thing that bothers me is that this action has no justification that improves life for Kansans, and in particular offers nothing to improve education of Kansas children. In other words, the Speaker of the House is suggesting a radical change in our State's educational policy that has NOTHING TO DO WITH EDUCATING CHILDREN. There is no benefit to the children of the State of Kansas that would result from this change.

The government should serve the people. Any changes to our school policy should be for the good of the children of Kansas. This radical proposal fails on both levels.
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verity 3 years, 1 month ago

Have 11 board members. No tie. There, fixed it.

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native_daughter 3 years, 1 month ago

So, a tie when making a decision means that body is considered "dysfunctional"? I'm sure the Legislature is an exception! Good point Paul R. Getto.

Check out the meeting minutes of the State Board and see the votes for yourself: http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=3876

Here's just an overview January 2010: The motion carried 7‐3, with Bacon, Willard and Chappell voting in opposition. The motion carried 10‐0. The motion failed on a vote of 4‐6. Those voting in opposition were Dennis, Willard, Bacon, Shaver, Waugh and Martin. The motion carried 6‐4, with Cauble, Storm, Wims‐Campbell and Chappell voting in opposition. The motion carried 9‐1, with Chappell voting “no”.

Here's some of the same information from their December 2010 meeting: The motion which carried 8-0, with Storm and Bacon out of the room. The motion failed on a vote of 1-8-1, with Waugh, Shaver, Bacon and Chappell voting in opposition Willard abstaining. The motion carried 8 -0-1, with Shaver out of the room Chappell abstaining.

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gudpoynt 3 years, 1 month ago

good post Paul R Getto.

for those who don't read other's links. ... here are (presumably) some of the powers that the Executive branch would have over your local school districts. Read this list, and as you're going through it, ask yourself whether you think these powers should best be left to the highly partisan Executive branch, controlled primarily by one person, or to an elected board of 10 (or more) people.

==== SOURCE: http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1787#91-31-40 =====

One or more of the following sanctions may be applied by the state board to a school that is conditionally accredited or not accredited:

(a) An order that district personnel or resources be reassigned or reallocated within the district by the local board of education;

(b) an order that the local board of education hire one or more designated persons to assist the school in making the changes necessary to improve student performance;

(c) a recommendation to the legislature that it approve a reduction in state funding to the local school district by an amount that will be added to the local property tax imposed by the local board of education;

(d) a recommendation that the legislature abolish or restructure the local district;

(e) a letter of notification and a press release announcing the accreditation status of the school; or

(f) other action, as deemed appropriate by the state board.

==== END SOURCE ====

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 1 month ago

Shardwurm (anonymous) says: "See my post above about the KBOE. I think people would be surprised that it doesn't have any real power over the districts." === SW: Except for those little things called KAR's. The SBOE proposes regulations to control schools, including whom they can hire, curriculum standards, what is taught in elementary schools, graduation requirements, and many more. Districts who 'choose' not to follow the SBOE regulations will not have an amusing time of it. For example: http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1787

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Boston_Corbett 3 years, 1 month ago

Why not pass a constitutional amendment requiring the legislature to do nothing else until it can actually enact a revised budget reflecting actual revenues for the current fiscal year which will be over in less than four months.

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KUrolls 3 years, 1 month ago

Kanas needs tea party riots like the ones in Madison. Mobocracy is working there.

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BigPrune 3 years, 1 month ago

What do these people get paid to do anyway?

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remember_username 3 years, 1 month ago

Before long we'll see other states refusing to accept diplomas issues by Kansas schools. Just toss out those college applications with "Kansas" on them, funding reviewers will roll their eyes at grant requests, and some comedian will get famous with a "You know you're from Kansas if..." routine. Smart people should leave the state now before the stigma of coming from Kansas keeps them from finding employment elsewhere.

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cowboy 3 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Grump 3 years, 1 month ago

If this were to pass, K.U. would become the "Lawrence Bible College."

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Shardwurm 3 years, 1 month ago

It is amusing to see people start screaming about changes any time the word 'Education' is involved.

See my post above about the KBOE. I think people would be surprised that it doesn't have any real power over the districts.

As far as the Board of Regents - well, they've presided for years over our universities and during that time tuition has risen 400 percent above inflation, the schools are $500 million behind in repairs, $400/credit hour tuition is on the horizon, and our children are leaving college with mortgage-level debt.

I'm willing to give another system a try.

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beatrice 3 years, 1 month ago

Just imagine the governor appointing someone to head up education who not only doesn't believe in evolution, but actually believes the world is only 6,000 years old. That isn't too hard to imagine. Does Brownback believe in evolution? Does Brownback believe humans and dinosaurs existed at the same time? The Creationist Museum's director, or someone who shares his beliefs, may become the next Kansas director of education.

The most important question is -- Would you leave your child's education in the hands of Gov. Brownback? Even if you like Brownback and believe he would never do anything wrong by way of a child's education, what about the next governor not of your prefered political party?

The power grab happening around the country right now is astounding.

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PugnaciousJayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

Eliminating the Board of Regents could make sense if it meant that each school would have its own Board of Trustees. Unfortunately, I don't think that is the intent here.

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llama726 3 years, 1 month ago

I don't know why teachers go to work anymore. Make the parents feel the pain for their electoral choices.

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seeker_of_truth 3 years, 1 month ago

Why not an amendment to abolish legislature and require all laws be written and run by majority of voters.

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GUMnNUTS 3 years, 1 month ago

Just when you thought things could not get more ridiculous from the feathered hair crowd over in Topuka.

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autie 3 years, 1 month ago

Education needs to be run be educators.....You wouldn't want your accountant build you house or your carpenter to do your taxes...would you?

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kugrad 3 years, 1 month ago

The State Board of Education are ELECTED officials. We do not need a power grab by the legislature. It will hurt our schools and our society.

Do you want the actual CURRICULUM (the subjects taught at school) decided by politicians? Seriously! It doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum you are on, that would be a disaster for our nation.

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Kim Murphree 3 years, 1 month ago

Can't wait to see the new curriculum from the legislature...Limbaugh 101; Basic Beck 101; Sarah Palin's English 101; Dinosaurs & God's Children-Science 101; Women as Chattel-Civics 101; Mandatory Christianity-Civics 102; English is the Only Language-Language Arts 101; Greed is God-Ethics 101; White is Right-Social Studies 101; Advanced Economics-the Koch Brothers; Keep Your Head Down & Don't Ask Questions-Philosophy 101. Yahoo.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Republicans have no solutions to actual problems, so as a distraction, they keep proposing to fix what ain't broken.

What a circus. When do we get the bread?

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appleaday 3 years, 1 month ago

So they'll pass this and then when the pendulum swings the other way some day and we have a Democratic governor, we'll listen to them scream about abuses of power.

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autie 3 years, 1 month ago

Sam abolished art, now Oneal wants to abolish education....when will they suggest a Secretary Of Jesus as a cabinet position?

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

Indeed, let's remove the elected board of education. Less power to the voters.

Do the Tea Partiers understand that these are the politicians they are fervently supporting? The ones who want to consolidate power and give less power to democracy?

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sciencegeek 3 years, 1 month ago

How DARE anyone tell the Legislature what to do! How DARE the state Supreme Court tell the Legislature that they're not upholding their responsibility to Kansas students? How DARE anyone disagree with the almighty O'Neal! You will be abolished!

If anyone thinks this is any more than arrogance on the part of the Legislative Branch, I have some ocean-front property in Pratt, Kansas available for sale.

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blueberries 3 years, 1 month ago

Kansas is spelled "Kanas" in the first paragraph...

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gccs14r 3 years, 1 month ago

How about a constitutional amendment requiring legislators and the Governor to have at least a Master's in Public Policy? That makes a lot more sense.

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