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Archive for Saturday, June 2, 2012

Koch influence present in school lawsuit

Judges to hear financing case this week

June 2, 2012

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— Koch-funded groups recently helped push through historic tax cuts in Kansas. This week, they will battle against public schools seeking more funding.

Fifty-four school districts are taking the state to court to try to recover funding that was cut by state officials during the recession.

The trial, which starts Monday before a three-judge panel in the Shawnee County Courthouse, could take a month.

The school districts have argued that the state has underfunded schools by more than $1 billion.

The state of Kansas has hired three people to argue against that assertion and provide information to the court in the lawsuit.

One of those is Art Hall, executive director of the Center for Applied Economics at the Kansas University School of Business. Hall has submitted a written report to the court on what he says are the adverse economic consequences of providing an additional $1.2 billion in funding to public schools.

In Hall's report to the court, he said that the Legislature could reduce state government spending in many different ways to save $1.2 billion and allocate that to schools. One way, he said, would be an across-the-board cut of 38 percent.

In his report, Hall said that Medicaid spending, proper funding of the state pension system, and implementation of federal health reform will "force state lawmakers to confront structural deficits." And if taxes were increased to provide the $1.2 billion, it would result in the loss of $9.3 billion in gross domestic product over 10 years, he wrote.

Hall was chief economist of the public-sector group at Koch Industries Inc. in Wichita from 1997-2004.

The Center for Applied Economics is a research center funded by contributions from the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation and other private donors, according to KU. It was established in 2003 with support from the Koch Professorship in Business and Economics and the Koch Foundation.

Hall also has provided economic advice to Gov. Sam Brownback, who last month signed major tax cuts. Brownback has said the reduction in personal income tax rates and elimination of taxes on non-wage income for 191,000 business owners will provide an economic boon and increase jobs.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, were vocal proponents of cutting taxes during the legislative session, and leaders of those organizations stood behind Brownback when he signed the bill into law during a ceremony in the Statehouse.

Koch Industries is a large contributor to the Kansas Chamber’s political action committee, and the Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, founded AFP and a number of organizations that focus on public policies.

But critics of the tax cuts say the resulting reduction in revenue will force cuts in state spending and shift the tax burden more onto low-income Kansans. A legislative staff calculation says the cuts could produce a budget deficit in the $2.5 billion range within six years.

In the lawsuit, the state has also hired Eric Hanushek, who is with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Hanushek has provided information in the case that says there is lack of a scientific basis to draw a specific link to spending levels and student performance, and to “cost out” an adequate education.

Michael Podgursky, an economics professor at the University of Missouri, has also been hired by the state. He says that data show “no systematic or stable positive statistical relationship between spending per student in a district and student achievement.”

Their arguments are contrary to those that will be presented by the plaintiff school districts, which represent about 150,000 students, or one-third of the public school students in Kansas. The Lawrence school district has not joined the Schools for Fair Funding group.

The schools allege that the state has violated the Kansas Constitution by not adequately funding public schools. Under orders from the Kansas Supreme Court, the state in 2006 approved a three-year plan to increase funding and distribute those dollars more equitably. But before the plan could be implemented, the state started making cuts to classrooms as revenues tanked during the recession.

Meanwhile, the tax cuts, they argue, are undercutting the state’s ability to make the necessary funding to schools.

Comments

James Nelson 2 years, 5 months ago

Bring it on schools. It is time for the greedy and selfish to go down.

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deec 2 years, 4 months ago

That's right. How dare those greedy selfish children expect a decent education! End sarcasm.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, those teachers and their 36k a year salaries are bleeding us dry. (/sarcasm)

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fouroclock 2 years, 4 months ago

Strong schools equals a strong community. Elitist attitudes toward public schools will result in a breakdown and then watch the elitists take the money and run. The greed will be there for all to see.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

Michael Podgursky, an economics professor at the University of Missouri, has also been hired by the state. He says that data show “no systematic or stable positive statistical relationship between spending per student in a district and student achievement.”

What an idiot. By that logic, no program of any sort, private or public, needs any money at all for anything.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, that may be a bit too harsh.

Education outcomes are complex, and there are a lot of variable other than funding.

So, there may not be a clear and consistent relationship between funding and student achievement.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

"So, there may not be a clear and consistent relationship between funding and student achievement."

If that's true, then what should be cut in order to reduce funding to schools (which is precisely what they are seeking?)

Should teachers get paid less? Should class size be increased? Should we stop trying to address the needs of kids with disabilities of one sort or another? Exactly what is expendable?

These, of course, are not questions that our dear friends at Koch are going to address, because that makes the issue a complex one, and cutting spending so the wealthy can see tax cuts is their one and only motivation.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, I tend to think that administrative costs could be lowered, and that kids don't need all of the latest technology in schools, or the most outstanding sports facilities.

Also, we should try to find out where the "best bang for the buck" is, as far as actually improving student performance, and focus our efforts there.

In addition, since home life is a large factor, we should be looking at ways to improve the parents' involvement with education in a positive way.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree that administrative costs are likely too high. But if you take a school district such as Lawrence's, with a $multimillion budget, thousands of employees and scores of buildings to operate and maintain, and compare it to a private company of similar size and scope, I'd wager that "administrative costs" are probably less than what "management costs" are for that company. When does the expectation that public employees should work for substantially less than folks in the private sector, for comparable jobs, become so extreme that it affects their ability to do the job, or attract quality employees? Isn't that where we already are?

I believe that our schools should provide quality facilities for comprehensive programs in physical education. But the era of spending $millions on elite programs for participants in spectator sports should end. Parents who want to have vicarious experiences through their kids' exploits on playing fields should fund it themselves.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Management costs at private companies are also way too high, as I'm sure you know.

CEO salaries are at an all-time high.

So, being a bit less than that doesn't mean they're reasonable.

And, it's not really comparable - schools aren't for-profit businesses, and thus managing them is less involved.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 4 months ago

jafs, School management has become more and more involved. Businesses try to cut down on paperwork and documenting, but schools are forced to do more and more. Talk to a special ed teacher who is still teaching. Yet, he/she will tell you that they aren't getting to teach. The politicians keep requiring more and more paperwork to fill out. Maybe the politicians should just step back and let people do the job they were trained for. The message from the politicians is that teachers just can't be trusted.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree with that as well.

Burdensome paperwork takes away from the time and energy for actual teaching.

Of course, we do need some sort of accountability, don't you think?

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Missingit 2 years, 4 months ago

I guess I disagree. Technology is something that continues to evolve. Kids should be learning in such a way and with tools that make them more balanced for college and life. Should we get kids an abacus or beans. I think schools should give kids iPads and save money on books and make learning more interactive. As far as sports go sports keep kids out of trouble. They focus free time not only on competition but team building and sense of individual and group acomplishment

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

And yet kids are graduating from high school without knowing how to use the English language correctly.

I think we should focus on the basics first, and then, if there are enough resources, luxuries and extras like fancy technology, etc.

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Tracy Rogers 2 years, 4 months ago

There were kids graduating from high school before sports, before technology, etc. without knowing how to use the English language correctly. There always will be. Some kids just flat don't want to learn. The only difference is in this country we insist on making ALL of them try to learn. Other countries weed those kids out at an early age.

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Topple 2 years, 4 months ago

+1

Sports are important, but not even in the same realm of significance to a person as becoming an intelligent, critically-thinking individual.

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camper 2 years, 4 months ago

"So, there may not be a clear and consistent relationship between funding and student achievement."

Baloney. Without proper funding, things dry up in the long-run. But if you want to represent Koch, you can say something like this. Truth is, there probably is a direct relationship. Even more, there are indirect relationships that are difficult to quatify by statistics, but they are there as well.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Show me some evidence of a clear and consistent relationship, if you have any.

Student performance is complex, and related to many factors, most of which are outside of schools, and not immediately connected to funding.

Factors like socioeconomic status, and family involvement/level of education.

Also, how funding is spent is important - if we spend lots of money on fancy sports fields, I think it will have less of an impact on academic achievement than if we spend it on teachers.

I strongly support public education, even though I have no children in public schools, and almost certainly never will, but I also support getting the "best bang for the buck" and focusing on basics first. When the local school board passed a bond for "capital improvements" which I voted for, and then spent about $2 million of that on new sports fields, I became a bit cynical. My understanding of capital improvements was that it meant things like repairing/upgrading old buildings, HVAC systems, etc. I don't feel the need to provide students with fancy sports fields.

One can support education, and also be concerned with how money is spent, and what the focus of our educational system is - it's not an either/or choice between just throwing money at education without any thought, or "de-funding" the system.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

I'd take the war against schools (part of the war on government) from the far right a lot more seriously if they were focusing on removing the spectator sport fetish from public schools-- but the millionaires and billionaires who think they will profit from destroying the public school system like their sports fetish as well as everyone else does.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 4 months ago

sounds like our buddy Dave Trabert

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

Jack, just as Snap has become the persona troll of Merrill, I do believe Dave has acquired a troll of his own in you. How sweet.

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

Being Dave's personal troll would be a full time job, since Dave's full time job includes spamming more than one city's newspaper forum and LTE column.

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Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 4 months ago

What fantastic reporting. Keep it up, Journal-World.

Why hasn't Lawrence schools joined the Schools for Fair Funding group?

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deec 2 years, 4 months ago

And heat, phones, electricity, cooks, food, books, chalk, toilet paper, janitors, desks, computers,secretaries, nurses, paper, soap, cleaning supplies, office supplies,art and shop supplies, field trips, buses...

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Truth 2 years, 4 months ago

Union funding comes from the union members. You know, the members who attend four years of college to be eligible to earn $35,000 to teach 125 kids how to read, write, add, subtract, etc.

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Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm going on the assumption that union dues are taken as a percentage of pay. If it is leveled without regard for the teacher's salary, then I'll acquiesce the point.

As for money, we need to make sure they can pay their bills, but I'd prefer teachers engage in their profession because it is their passion, not because they want money. If money is your primary concern, go to business school.

Probably the highlight of my grad school experience was teaching. I really enjoyed it.

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

Chocolate funding. After all, teachers are just as obligated to pay for chocolate as they are to pay union dues.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 4 months ago

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

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overthemoon 2 years, 4 months ago

grade school playground level response.

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pace 2 years, 4 months ago

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

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Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

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

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dontsheep 2 years, 4 months ago

It would do you well to learn a bit more about the 3/5ths clause. I was taught the same thing you were and for years never put forth the effort to test the conclusion spouted from agenda driven classrooms and textbooks. http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=122

I suggest you read the entire article, but I'll also link the most appropriate takeaway.

"[T]he Constitution allowed Southern States to count three-fifths of their slaves toward the population that would determine numbers of representatives in the federal legislature. This clause is often singled out today as a sign of black dehumanization: they are only three-fifths human. But the provision applied to slaves, not blacks. That meant that free blacks–and there were many, North as well as South–counted the same as whites. More important, the fact that slaves were counted at all was a concession to slave owners. Southerners would have been glad to count their slaves as whole persons. It was the Northerners who did not want them counted, for why should the South be rewarded with more representatives, the more slaves they held?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

Wow, why didn't you include assertions that slave owners were merely bleeding heart caretakers of a race too inferior to fend for themselves?

"This clause is often singled out today as a sign of black dehumanization"

Because that's exactly what it was-- these slaves didn't get their 3/5 of a vote-- their white masters did.

"That meant that free blacks–and there were many, North as well as South–counted the same as whites."

Free blacks in the South made up a very small percentage of the total black population in slave states. Most of them were poor. And if you were poor in the South, no matter your race, you likely didn't vote.

Meaning that nearly all political power resided in the hands of white (male) slave owners, and that power was inflated by giving representation to slaves, even though those slaves got absolutely nothing from it (other than complete resistance to the abolishment of slavery from the racist representatives who theoretically represented them.)

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

That was a fabulous demonstration of how simplistic your understanding of the evolution of American politics is.

But answer me this-- Why do suppose that the average confederate flag waver these days almost certainly votes Republican?

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Mike1949 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, when the buses stops running, kids parents can't afford the pre-school fees (the students can't start school with out those fees) which is 300 times the amount from just a few years ago. No wonder people are home schooling more and more every year. There are a lot of disadvantages to home schooling. Now social inter action which effects the kids into adult hood! I even know some families which can't afford public school, and how they work it out as far as fees is beyond the information that I have. I guess they pay over the whole school year is the only thing I can figure. I do know a lot of families that get reduced rates based on their income. Some of them may be pretty low because here in this college town, employers don't pay very well because they can just get a college student to work part time. That is what it is like in the town, nothing but part time jobs so they don't have to pay insurance, etc. But back to the subject, schools are hurting as I see it because buses break down and don't get fixed.

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Sue Grosdidier 2 years, 4 months ago

Public schools do not turn away those that cannot pay and they do work out payments. However, I do agree it has gotten quite expensive in the State of Kansas. As an educator, we have not received a pay increase (in my district) in 5 years. I spend a significant amount of my own money on supplies that we need and things that kids need and parents cannot afford. I have been doing this a long time and still love it but I see young teachers leaving at rapid rates and getting out after 1-2 years. I find this so sad and worry about the future of our used to be great state before Brownback.

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

Home schooling is a perfectly fine option for people who want to do it, but generally those families are not poor. They're well off enough to afford a stay at home parent to do the schooling. The social interaction thing is a total myth. Most of the home schooling parents I know do bunches of clubs, special classes, music and dance lessons, etc. (also demonstrating that they're pretty well off)

What happens when you truly have school beyond the financial reach of the working poor is that you have hooligans wandering the streets. It's one of the reasons they decided that maybe compulsory education wouldn't be such a bad idea.

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oldexbeat 2 years, 4 months ago

Let us review the 'experts' from big state funded Un of Kansas, Un of Missouri, and private, but hugely supported by federal research grants, Stanford. Duh. I say that if Stanford didn't charge 32,000 dollars per semester, the quality would not go down. Right ? Duh.

And what is Hall talkling about in his "structural deficits" statement ? Made up numbers, for sure -- ie., if you spend tax money now for students (and he doesn't count that money as productive use, I guess) , then you take money that the Koch Brothers could spend on something else, like art for their apartments, and that will hurt us somehow in years...

Dumb. KU, Fire that guy. You've got an idiot running the class.

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overthemoon 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure the good Professor from Stanford would be the first to say his high salary is necessary for the quality of education for his students. Let's see if he'd take a 50% paycut to help make Stanford more affordable and less dependent on public and research funding!!!

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overthemoon 2 years, 4 months ago

Little quick to the trigger there cowboy. I do know a good amount about Stanford. Faculty and students at private universities apply for publicly funded grant money. Ever hear of the NSF, the NEA and NEH??

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 4 months ago

In 2010, Mr. Hall made the same arguments about massive job losses should the sales tax be increased.

The sales tax was increased on July 1, 2010. I wonder if Mr. Hall has analyzed the job gains or losses in Kansas since then.

If he has, then he has found that his prediction, which was a loss of over 20,000 jobs, was off by over 40,000 jobs since the state has gained over 20,000 jobs since raising taxes.

Sort of renders Mr. Hall's "expert opinion" moot, don't you think? Art Hall is the master of making predictions based upon his models, not upon actual past performance. In Kansas, we just raised taxes and the result has been private sector job growth and state GDP growth.

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WilburM 2 years, 4 months ago

Whoa, big fellow. Let's not bring facts or actual accountability into our arguments. No, no, no. Let's just have the Koch-funded Prof. Hall go on with his "academic" assertions. BTW, where are all the well-funded "liberals" at KU, who are rolled out to speak on command for their masters?

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Dave Trabert 2 years, 4 months ago

You either have not read Dr. Hall's report or are not the letting the facts get in the way. His prediction of job losses was over a period of 6 years and he did not say employment would decline, but that the losses mostly represented jobs that would not be created that would have otherwise.

It's way too early to tell for sure, but the data does show that Kansas private sector employment grew much slower than the rest of the country. We only have one full year of data to compare (June 2010 through June 2011) but Kansas certainly fell behind. Kansas added 8,500 private sector jobs or 0.8%. The national average was 1.8%. Oklahoma also grew by 1.8% and Colorado increased by 1.7%. Missouri had about the same change as Kansas and Nebraska, with the highest tax burden in the region at that time, grew a little less at 0.6%.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Given your stated interest in objective statistics, I would love to see your way of measuring jobs that "would have been otherwise created" - without that, the comment is essentially meaningless.

Averages aren't that useful either, since they represent a wide variety of differing conditions.

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WilburM 2 years, 4 months ago

Indeed. Those "mythical" jobs. Hard to argue against that. So let's see in a couple-three years how many jobs will be created by this massive set of tax cuts that will benefit (big surprise) the Kochs a lot -- although we'll never really know how much, given the structuring of their businesses. Still, I'm sure that Dave and Arat will argue that they're creating incredible amounts of great-paying jobs, which will more than cover 2+B in deficits.

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, they certainly created a lot of jobs from their last round of tax cuts. I think it's somewhere around negative 5000 jobs they created as they got record-breaking profits. Having extra money in their pockets sure does motivate them to make more jobs when there's no demand or demonstrated need for them.

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Topple 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure I understand how you can disprove his argument based on the numbers you provided us. To say Kansas gained 20,000 jobs when he predicted a loss of 20,000 new jobs resulting from this tax change isn't disproving his prediction. For all you know, there could have been 40,000 new jobs, rather than 20,000, had the sales tax not been increased.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

And, there could have been none.

Generally speaking, the burden of proof is on the person that makes the claim, so it's incumbent on him to prove that there would in fact have been 40,000 new jobs.

Any way you know of that can be done?

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pittstatebb 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't understand the viewpoint that student achievement has not increased since the Montoy decision. There is only one assessment tool that is given yearly to almost every Kansas student in grades 3-8 and once in high school. That is their state assessment. These scores have shown an increase over this same time period at the high school level.

You can find the statewide results for English and math here:

http://online.ksde.org/rcard/state_assess.aspx?assess_type=1&org_no=%&grade=11&subgroup=1

http://online.ksde.org/rcard/state_assess.aspx?assess_type=2&org_no=%&grade=11&subgroup=1

Dave, what assessment tool is being referred to when saying student achievement has not increased?

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Dave Trabert 2 years, 4 months ago

Student achievement has increased a little based on state assessments, which by the way were changed in 2002 and 2006, but not on independent national assessments. The independent Nation's Report Card (US Dept. of Education) with standards that have not changed, show virtually no progress since 1998, despite the fact that spending increased from $3.1 billion to $5.6 billion.

The US Dept. of Ed also says Kansas has very low standards. What Kansas considers to be Proficient in Reading is less that what USDE considers Basic. Math standards are a little above the USDE standards for Basic but well below what they consider to be Proficient.

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pittstatebb 2 years, 4 months ago

And how do you or anyone else place a value on the difficulty level of an individual state's assessment? The proficient levels are an academic definition and are not based on how bad of a job West Ed did in creating the test.

Since the inception of NCLB state assessments, no other test can be a valid measure of academic gains, only a meausure of a students intelligence (which is not the same as if a student has learned the material they were to be taught). The reason behind this is the fact that curriculums were aligned to individual state standards and not the NAEP, TIMMS, PISA, ACT, SAT, etc standards. You would think that these sets of standards should be the same, but they are not.

Some states go a great job of writing definitions for achievement levels and standards and still produce a simplistic state assessment (see TN).

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

Jack. Jack. Where are you? Jack.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 4 months ago

"...show virtually no progress since 1998, despite the fact that spending increased from $3.1 billion to $5.6 billion." Try adjusting for inflation. The actual increase is around 1.3 billion not 2.5. But then you guys are good at manipulating numbers and making excuses for your overlord's greed.

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Dave Trabert 2 years, 4 months ago

Yes, inflation accounts for some of the increase. But what you just demonstrated is that a 32% real increase in spending had no effect on student achievement.

Here's another interesting fact. KSDE has Instruction spending on their web site back to 1999. Even adjusting for inflation AND enrollment, instructions spending increased 39% between 1999 and 2011...and still no change in student achievement on independent, national assessments.

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pittstatebb 2 years, 4 months ago

Besides the facts that I listed earlier as to why national tests in a NCLB era are less useful, how does instructional spending correlate to ESL numbers, economically disadvantaged numbers and SPED numbers over this same period?

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

In other words, yes your data was misleading. And you wonder why people don't trust you!

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davey 2 years, 4 months ago

The conservative State legislature has repeatedly said that schools should only focus on academics and not fund the 'fluff' such as athletics. The conservative assertion is that money should only go to academics. Every school district in Kansas should stop funding athletics and any other 'fluff'. No football, basketball, debate, student council, volleyball, baseball, track, etc. etc. When this happens constituents and parents will THEN be banging on their legislators door demanding additional funding for what the 'conservatives' label as 'fluff' and unnecessary. Additionally, the major college stream of talent will be severely interrupted and then even bigger dollars become affected when TV contracts and major college athletics begin to suffer.

I hope the courts do the right thing and make the legislature fund schools. But if they don't schools should do exactly what the legislature has instructed them to do. Cut EVERYTHING that is 'extra-curricular'.

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oldexbeat 2 years, 4 months ago

forgot that part -- want more home schooled kids for the fundementalists -- so make public school really bad for the city kids, etc.

That is part of this for sure.

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Melinda Black 2 years, 4 months ago

The agenda is very transparent. People like the Kochs intend to gut the public school system of all resources. This then allows them to make a case that public education is broken.

Breaking public schools opens up the door for school vouchers. These people are eager to get a subsidy to pay for their children's expensive private school tuition.

I'm not surprised by this at all.

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Patricia Davis 2 years, 4 months ago

Socialize investment and risk. Privatize profits. Now that sounds like the Bain of our existence.

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camper 2 years, 4 months ago

Privatize profits, Socialize losses. This sums up the 2008 collapse.

I guess it is ok to demonize anything that involves the government as "Socialiism" while still making a buck off the taxpayer. I wonder how much goods and services the Kochs Bros supply to government institutions already? Ross Perot was the same way. His IT company was a major provider to government accounts.

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

Indeed, although using the taxpayer teat to fund their expensive private and parochial schools is also part of the deal. Look at that clunker of an ALEC bill O'Neal tried to introduce earlier this year.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

Has something happened to merrill? Generally he's copy/pasting like a fiend on any thread that uses "Koch" in the headline.

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

I see you now drool without the bell.

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ThePilgrim 2 years, 4 months ago

I find it hard to believe that KU would hire Art Hall as executive director of the Center for Applied Economics at the Kansas University School of Business unless his history at Koch wasn't much of an issue. Or Lawrence and KU are losing their luster as the "conscience of Kansas".

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Melinda Black 2 years, 4 months ago

The article states that the Center for Applied Economics at the Kansas University School of Business is funded by the Koch Foundation. I don't think his leadership role there is an accident, given his history at Koch.

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Melinda Black 2 years, 4 months ago

I personally question the objectivity of the research being used by our state to remove funding from our schools. Makes me sick to think my alma mater is even associated with this.

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Thomas Kurata 2 years, 4 months ago

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/koch-gift-too-costly-for-florida-state/1168851

Some Florida State University administrators are suffering buyer's remorse over having accepted contributions from Charles Koch. Too many strings attached.

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Katara 2 years, 4 months ago

I wonder the fascination these fellows have with Florida?

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

The Kochs are now in the business of buying universities, too. All the better to get economists that ignore data.

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pace 2 years, 4 months ago

Shifting the tax burden to lower income populations. Again. Brownback should resign.

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 4 months ago

The Koch brothers are like kids playing the monopoly board game...they think the only way to win is if they end up with all the money and everyone else goes bankrupt. Like with the board game, the fun ends as nobody will have money to buy their products. How much is enough? They just bankrupted the state of Kansas. Now they're hell bent on bankrupting public schools. Jees.

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Armstrong 2 years, 4 months ago

What a crock of BS. Where do you get this garbage

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 4 months ago

Armstrong must be a type of sheep. At any rate, the lions are leading him to the slaughter and all he can do is thank them and complain about other people who can think that have the audacity to question Brownback and the Kochs.

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Armstrong 2 years, 4 months ago

What is it about little back water college towns that keep the crazies pooled so close ? Lack of wanting to find real employment? Can't deal with the real world ? No skill set ? Self proclaimed big fish in a little pond mentallity? I know you get laughed out of a situation where clear thought and lineal thinking are required. You really have no clue do you? Stay in your respective self made worlds because you wont survive in a real life setting. Yes you are that far out of touch

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

Awww, sorry to hear you couldn't cut it in college. Mean stinky professors are so mean.

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Patricia Davis 2 years, 4 months ago

I believe you mean linear thinking, not lineal. But then I live in a college town where many clear thinking people would know the difference.

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optimist 2 years, 4 months ago

Linear or lineal; I believe in this case either word would be appropriate. You should be better informed before you critique. Being wrong further weakens your already weak point.

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 4 months ago

if you think Lawrence is a backwater college town why bother reading the LJW? Why post on this blog? Do you even live here? Your comment makes me think not. Btw, I have a real job and it's not at KU. I stand by my comment that you are a sheep.

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 4 months ago

Oh yeah, and sheep sleep in their own feces...

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Jayhawk1958 2 years, 4 months ago

The only way you can balance the budget according to KOch-AFP etc.. is to cut education so in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

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camper 2 years, 4 months ago

Armstrong, you sound like you have a bone to pick with liberals and college towns. Do you have a bias? Actually Lawrence is diversified. You would be surprised.

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Armstrong 2 years, 4 months ago

No I do not live in Larryville. I did for a time in the 90's. It amazes me how out of step with reality the majority of this berg is. It's like a 6th grade understanding of life.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 4 months ago

We in Lawrence do appreciate that you post on this site. Every time you do, you make a little bit of advertising money for a local company, the World Company, which owns the LJW. This is the company that employs Scott Rothschild and other "loony liberals" you so despise.

So, that you for supporting the economy of Loony Liberal Lawrence!

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

It amazes me that someone who doesn't live here is still so bitter that he/she feels the need to keep posting. At least we know Dave is paid to post here. You seem to be a volunteer.

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Armstrong 2 years, 4 months ago

Typically the foot slides back to the 60's and or 70's

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 4 months ago

Ka-ching! Thank you for your support of the Lawrence economy.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 4 months ago

Mmmm... Koch brats. Boil them in beer and serve with whole grain mustard.

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jww29 2 years, 4 months ago

Time to privatize the schools.

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camper 2 years, 4 months ago

Going back to the frontier days. Home schoolin, boot-leggin, and feudin.

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Patricia Davis 2 years, 4 months ago

That's just happened in Louisiana. Former republican poster child Jindal just crammed this through its state's legislature. The poor children of Louisiana area about to become to the lab rats of the grand old party.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 4 months ago

Guess what kind of schools that those countries who consistently rank ahead of the US have?

That's right-- evil, public schools.

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

Finland even has evil, heavily unionized schools with well-paid teachers. The horror!

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optimist 2 years, 4 months ago

And guess how many of them don't make an effort to educate every single child and consequently not every child is tested. This country holds its own despite the fact that we include every child in our statistics whether they be good students or not. Even children with special needs are included. What I am confident about is that not all things are equal in these international rankings.

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chootspa 2 years, 4 months ago

Finland does. England does. They have special education in many/most other countries as well. I've heard this repeated a few times, and it's just no longer true.

Countries like France and Germany have tiered systems where not all children are educated equally, and China does it to such an extent that nobody counts their test scores (they actually rank number one, but when you start cutting kids off from higher education in 6th grade and submit the scores of your brightest elite, does it really count?)

What is strikingly different about the American system is not that we make efforts to educate special needs students, nor is it that data that drags our scores down. It's our wealth disparity, school funding disparity, and inconsistent school quality. If you include only the wealthiest schools (Schools with the lowest percentage of free/reduced school lunch eligible students) you find that we outscore everyone but China. That incudes disabled children attending those schools. We don't have to tier them off at sixth grade to find the best students. Wealth does it for us. When we find a "failing" school, it's almost aways in a poor district, and moving those kids to charter schools has not been shown to improve their outcomes (no matter how Dave likes to cherry pick to argue that it does.)

Now there are a variety of reasons why that is so, and some of them our outside the control of our school system or the funding formula, but states that fund schools primarily from property taxes are certainly not doing themselves any favors.

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 4 months ago

Want to See How the Kochs Are Ending Public Education?

Koch brothers have more than $42 billion to make public policy out of their anti-government ideology, and their assault against public education epitomizes their tactics to remake our nation.

The Koch brothers founded Americans for Prosperity and have contributed more than $5 million to its political coffers. Americans for Prosperity, in turn, contributed to organizations that financially influenced a community school board election.

That's right: the Koch brothers are involving themselves, through their wealth-backed political apparatus, in local schools.

Americans for Prosperity allied with groups in North Carolina with the sole purpose of building a new majority on the school board in and around Raleigh. The Koch apparatus was trying to rewrite the social contract that made the Wake County school system a magnet for teachers and families and the surrounding communities prosper.

The Koch brothers and outside influence provided the script for the Koch-supported candidates. They campaigned to end "forced busing" and promise to enact a "neighborhood schools" mandate.

Do those phrases ring a bell? Using the same language Gov. George Wallace used in the 60s, Koch-supported candidates in North Carolina are pushing to make public policy based on Wallace's "segregation always" pledge. And they had the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity's full support.

This is a new example of the Koch brothers' so-called extreme free market ideology. It's an incredible window into the brothers' disdain for public service and government protection in general.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-greenwald/want-to-see-how-the-kochs_b_926829.html

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 4 months ago

By their ideology they will be judged and the America they are promoting will offer far less opportunity to those who are not fortunate enough to be born into wealth and power.

Sadly, those on the Christian right do not seem to be alarmed by these people. They are embracing them.

How often have we seen religious leaders embrace the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary citizens?

What is the big issue of the last 3 years? Whether people who are too poor to get medical care will have that right.

The Theo-Political ideology that is promoting this new right wing movement threatens all Americans and has frozen our political process at a time when we are facing new challenges that we have not seen before because of the changing global economy and the rapidly growing problem of declining resources and environmental stress to our planet.

These people are absolutely on the wrong side of history.

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optimist 2 years, 4 months ago

Has anyone asked the question: what will the additional funds be spent on? I would like each school district to detail in a budget how each and every penny is spent and more importantly how the children will benefit. Will any administrator commit to improvement and stake their jobs on it? How about teachers? As a tax payer if I were presented with this sort of information I would definitely be an easier sell.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 4 months ago

And where will the funds come from to conduct this audit?

Or will the audit just magically cost no money?

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JoYo 2 years, 4 months ago

My statistics is a bit rusty, but on the face of it Michael Podgursky's statement, while perhaps true, isn't very pertinent. One wouldn't use a systematic sampling among public school students across a district because they aren't a homogenous population. The differences between a high school senior and a kindergartner, for instance, are huge so randomly sampling student performance across this population cannot be systematic in the stats sense. So, yes there is “no systematic...relationship" because one wouldn't use a systematic sampling. And, as for "stable" - it begs the question of what he means by "stable". Since when have any of the variables in public education been stable such that they could be statistically analyzed as such? I would guess, never - not even year to year in the same district. So again a "stable positive statistical relationship" doesn't exist because that's the wrong approach. The right approach defines then tests if better teachers lead to better performance, or if better facilities, better tools, better curriculum, greater parent involvement, etc. lead to better performance at each educational stage. My guess is that those things do, probably in different ways over time and place, and that they cost money.

For a very interesting statistics lesson that just happens to use $/student vs. performance/student data as its topic, look here:

http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/secure/v7n2/datasets.guber.cfm

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't buy your argument. Having to go to Haskell for sporting events was a terrible situation.

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Patricia Davis 2 years, 4 months ago

With all of our Bush years of tax cuts and republicans still believing in the voodoo economics of trickle down and given your view that only republicans are entrepreneurs/good business folk, why aren't we just swimming in the jobs you were supposed to have created? Wasn't jobs the mandates of the 2010 election with a rise of repubs elected? Show me the money.

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 4 months ago

I feel like this state has been taken over by a gang of right wing bullies.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

I don’t know about anybody else but I have problems with an unelected group of elite citizens determining how much tax I should pay for a specific public service. I was taught that in maters of finance that decision rested with the elected legislature. If the people did not like what it did they could replace it.

Therefore I have no problem with Mr. Kock fighting this legal action. If I had his money I would fight it too. If any of you do not like what the legislature is doing vote to replace it. If it turns out that a majority of voting Kansans do not agree with you then try to convince them of your views.

The issue of how much is enough money for any public service is a matter for the people and not unelected lawyers reading all sorts of things into our constitution that were never before considered part of that constitution.

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps you missed it when you were being poorly taught about constitutional government, but in 1966 the people of Kansas voted on an amendment to the state constitution which reads, in part, the legislature "shall" provide suitable provision for finance of education in Kansas.

So your last paragraph is poppycock. The people have spoken, and it is part of our constitution.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

Bob I think you can do better than that. What does suitable mean and who determines. The last time the court used a legialative study. What does it use this time? Nothing in the word suitable changes any of my comments.

Whay happens if the court demaands more money and the legislature does not provide it? Do they send the state police (under the governors control) or maybe the national guard.

Does the word suitable not change when the economic conditions of the state change? Are we locked in forever to an arbitrary number creted by the courts or one created by educators with an obvious conflict of interest?

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

The above comment ignores the fact that the judiciary is a check and balance on the legislature, and that the KS constitution includes the obligation to provide funding for education.

Once the legislature determined the "suitable" level of funding, they then were obliged to provide it, which they failed to do.

The judiciary acted correctly, and ordered them to fulfill their constitutional responsibility, and fund the system according to their own studies on the matter.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

see note on study above . By the by are we required to provide that amount if we are in a massive recession and taxes would have to be doubled? Are we responsible for federal funds and if they go down we must pay more?

Suitable is determined by the legislature responsible to the people. Redress is with the people and not the courts. The legislature almost ignored them last time.

Do we really need a constiitutional crisis over an argument where a presumed minority thinks more money is needed for a given public service.

The level determined by the legislature was determined with full knowledge of the study, the pending court action and the current state of education in Kansas. If we don't like it we can replace them all with people who will vote for more money for education. If we don't then the reasonable inference is that the people of Kansas believe that a suitable amount is being provided for education.

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 4 months ago

There is no constitutional crisis. There would be if your misguided opinion carried the day.

Perhaps when you were ignoring your lessons on constitutional government, you missed out on Marbury vs. Madison. Interpretation of the constitution lies with the third, equal branch of government.

The legislature is not a superior branch of government. It is an equal branch of government. If a citizen feels the legislature has failed to heed the constitution, the citizen may appeal to the courts for redress.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

The study was done by the legislature - the court just required them to abide by their own study.

Your idea about the judicial branch is simply wrong - it exists as a check and balance, and is a "co-equal" branch of government.

The idea that all that matters is majority of voters' opinions is way off.

We don't live in a pure democracy, in which all decisions are left to the voting public.

Another word for that sort of system might be "mob rule".

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George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

Absolutely correct. The problem is exactly that. The courts can not order the legislature to do anything. It can find that the "suitable" measure is not met in the opinion of the court. It can enforce no remedy unless the legislature lets it.

I remind you of Lincoln and the USSC. The court ordered him to free Maryland legislators and he simply refused. I believe the quote provided was that the court has issued an order, let the court enforce it

Don't let your ideology get in the way of your brain. My issue is not the adequacy of funding but the process being used to deal with it.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

The process is exactly what should be happening, given our system.

If the legislature simply ignores the judiciary, that would be interesting - I wonder what would happen then.

The check and balance of the judiciary would have little meaning if the legislature can do that.

You seem to favor a greatly enhanced power of the legislature and a decreased power of the judiciary.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

No JAFS I do not. They are co-equal.

The court is empowered to find deficient laws written by the legislature. It did so with the free speech issue and corporations (as I remember you were quite upset about that ruling although it is potentially the same as this one). They are also doing it with Obama care.

The problem is that in neither case has the court ordered the legislature to do anything - the law jest became unenforceable. Here the court would have to order the legislature to do something. Read Section II article 24 of our state constitution as to appropriations. How does it do that if they are co-equal?

IMHO it would be a lot better if we left this to the people. The alternative IMHO gets very messy.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

So, if the legislature at the federal level just ignored the US SC, you'd be fine with that?

Gives the legislature too much power, in my view.

They're simply requiring them to live up to their constitutional obligation, using the legislature's own determination of suitable funding.

That's what the judicial branch is supposed to do, as I understand it - it determines constitutionality, or lack thereof - in this case, they determine that the level of funding is unconstitutional, and should be higher.

The whole system is messy, in a variety of ways - your version gives too much power to the legislature, I'd say.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 4 months ago

"Moderate" sure doesn't sound very moderate.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

Sorry guys but I hope you never meet a real conservative - he/she will scare the pants off you.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

That's ok - you're scary enough for me :-)

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George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

One more shot. Why am I poorly taught or not moderate because I do not agree with your perception that the courts are superior to the legislature - I.E. can order it to tax us.

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jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

That's not what they're doing - it's a mis-perception on your part.

They're determining whether or not the level of funding is constitutional, which is their job.

On matters of constitutionality, the judiciary is superior to the legislature, since that's what they're tasked with determining.

In a bunch of other ways/places, the judiciary has no place at all, for example in writing legislation - that's up to the legislature.

You're not moderate, in my opinion, based on many conversations I've had with you - you tend towards the right quite a bit in a number of ways. Of course, given the continual re-definition of the center by the right, you may be moderate by those terms, like the moderate R in KS, who are castigated as "liberal" by the conservatives here.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

So they are equal only the court is a little more equal... I remind you that while the court determines constitutionality the legislature determines taxes. We do have a conundrum.

And I will not see it your way. To me your way is self serving. The branches of government are equal only the courts can order the legislature to raise taxes - a role reserved for the legislature. Does not sound equal. To me equal means equal.

I could elaborate about liberal inconsistency and other right wing notions but why.

It will play out as did Wisconsin and we will see what we will see.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

Koch thinkers see one thing...... high dollar private schools back with trillions in tax dollars. Those tax dollars go into their private accounts.

Then they spend those dollars on expensive CEO's,shareholders,golden parachutes and special interest campaign donations = what a waste of tax dollars.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

How ALEC, the Koch brothers, (SAM BROWNBACK ) their corporate allies plan to privatize government(WITH YOUR TAX DOLLARS).

ALEC nuts and bolts

ALEC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that in recent years has reported about $6.5 million in annual revenue. ALEC’s members include corporations, trade associations, think tanks and nearly a third (about 2,000) of the nation’s state legislators (virtually all Republican). According to the group’s promotional material, ALEC’s mission is to “advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public.”

What beautiful words that in essence = PROFITEERS STEALING OUR TAX DOLLARS TO INCREASE THEIR WEALTH says Merrill

ALEC currently claims more than 250 corporations and special interest groups as private sector members. While the organization refuses to make a complete list of these private members available to the public, some known members include:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Exxon Mobil
  • the Corrections Corporation of America
  • AT&T
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
  • Time Warner Cable
  • Comcast
  • Verizon
  • Phillip Morris International
  • Koch Industries
  • along with a host of right-wing think tanks and foundations.

ALEC is composed of nine task forces–(1) Public Safety and Elections, (2) Civil Justice, (3) Education, (4) Energy, Environment and Agriculture, (5) Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development, (6) Telecommunications and Information Technology, (7) Health and Human Services, (8) Tax and Fiscal Policy and (9) International Relations–each comprised of “Public Sector” members (legislators) and “Private Sector” members (corporations and interest groups).

Each of these task forces, which serve as the core of ALEC’s operations, generate model legislation that is then passed on to member lawmakers for introduction in their home assemblies. According to ALEC promotional material, each year member lawmakers introduce an average of 1,000 of these pieces of legislation nationwide, 17 percent of which are enacted. For 2009, ALEC claimed a total of 826 pieces of introduced legislation nationwide, 115 of which were passed into law–slightly below the average at 14 percent. ALEC does not offer its model legislation for public inspection.

ALEC refused to comment on any aspect of the material covered here.

More and more: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/11603/publicopoly_exposed/

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

Have you contemplated plywood today?

"..Plywood is a manufactured wood panel made from thin sheets of wood veneer. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, re-usable, and can usually be locally manufactured. Plywood is used instead of plain wood because of its resistance to cracking, shrinkage, splitting, and twisting/warping, and its general high degree of strength.

Plywood layers (called veneers) are glued together with adjacent plies having their grain at right angles to each other. Cross-graining has several important benefits: it reduces the tendency of wood to split when nailed at the edges, it reduces expansion and shrinkage equating to improved dimensional stability, and it makes the strength of the panel consistent across both directions. There are usually an odd number of plies so that the sheet is balanced—this reduces warping. Because of the way plywood is bonded (with grains running against one another and with an odd number of composite parts) it is very hard to bend it perpendicular to the grain direction...." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plywood

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