Archive for Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brownback urges Kansans to report school inefficiencies

October 17, 2012


— Gov. Sam Brownback's call for Kansans to tell officials where they see waste in the public schools, has drawn a sharp reaction from Democrats.

"We should celebrate our public schools and fully restore the funding cuts they've endured since the recession began," House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said Thursday. "We should not be demonizing them and searching for excuses to cut their funding even more," Davis said.

Sherriene Jones-Sontag, a spokeswoman for Brownback, said the governor wasn't trying to demonize schools but wants the public to help identify ways schools can improve efficiency.

On Wednesday, Brownback announced the establishment of a website where people can anonymously report their experiences with inefficient spending in the educational system to the Governor's School Efficiency Task Force. The website is https://governor.ks/efficiency.

"Inefficient spending impacts Kansas taxpayers at every level, from the state general fund to local property taxes," Brownback said. "Moving forward, we owe it to Kansas taxpayers to ensure those resources are used as efficiently as possible," he said.

But Democrats said the move was another attack by Brownback on public schools.

Earlier, they had been critical of the 10-member School Efficiency Task Force appointed by Brownback because it was dominated by accountants, including Brownback's budget director Steve Anderson, and had no one who was an educator or worked in a school.

In the same news release announcing the website, Brownback also said he was adding an 11th member to the task force — Iola school superintendent Brian Pekarek. "Brian is well-known as a superintendent who is open to new ideas," Brownback said.

Democrats have alleged that the task force is going to be used to provide cover for Brownback to cut state funding to schools. But Brownback has said he will protect school funding.

Davis said, "Instead of hosting an online forum to complain about public schools, why not discuss all the innovative ways our teachers and administrators have done more with less since Gov. Brownback implemented the largest cut to education funding in Kansas history?" Brownback and the Republican-led Legislature cut schools by $232 per student in 2011, but then added $58 to base state aid per pupil this year.

In the news release, the governor's office repeated its claim that only 54 percent of total school funding goes into the classroom for instruction, but Democrats and educators have said the governor's office is not figuring the total correctly.

The task force's next meeting is Nov. 9. Chairman Ken Willard of Hutchinson urged Kansans to contact the website and share information about school inefficiencies. "While task force members are researching and analyzing where inefficiencies are occurring in our educational system, we also want to hear directly from Kansans who have their own ideas and suggestions on how to make our schools more efficient," Willard said.

By late Thursday morning, the website had received 75 suggestions, Jones-Sontag said. She said the suggestions eventually will be compiled for the task force. She said she assumed the compilation would be available to the media and public too.

Jones-Sontag said Brownback wants to increase student performance on state and national tests, and increase the number of high school graduates who are career or college ready. "The governor wants to make sure our spending reflects our education goals," she said. "We want to put resources into the classroom, where teachers teach and children learn."


autie 1 year, 6 months ago

Why does one go and invite complaints when the common knowledge is that all they will get is a bunch of disgruntled parents /because perfect johnny didn't get an A/ or disgruntled ex employees...or even worse, so local crank tea party idiot....??? Completely a waste of time, unless you like going down the rabbit trails.


tange 1 year, 6 months ago

I nominate Sam Brownback for Hall Monitor.

/ Hall of Mirrors


situveux1 1 year, 6 months ago

"Don't look at that man behind the curtain" ... said the KNEA


Machiavelli_mania 1 year, 6 months ago

The pledge of allegiance is a waste of time. We are no longer a republic and who wants to pledge to being occupied by our own government?


headdoctor 1 year, 6 months ago

It is still there. May have been overloaded or they changed the address slightly.


verity 1 year, 6 months ago

Damn, I was so looking forward to a good rant.

Glad paulveer was able to get some things posted .


cowboy 1 year, 6 months ago

They took that site down ! How Funny


verity 1 year, 6 months ago

Anybody else having trouble getting on the website?

Server not found.


verity 1 year, 6 months ago

Since many teachers are already buying school room supplies with their own money, it is coming directly out of their pockets, so I doubt there is a whole lot of waste on that level. I've heard of some teachers buying clothes for students. Can't be much more dedicated to keeping students in school than that. Of course, Brownback et al would probably take that to mean the teachers are being paid too much.

While the tenure rules may keep some incompetent teachers in place, I have a feeling taking away any protections is going to result in people either leaving or not going into the profession or going to other states. Being continually afraid of losing your job, even if you are doing it well, does not make for a good atmosphere. Sort of stifles creativity.

I think I'll suggest changing the laws about recalling state officials so they can be fired as easily as they want to make it to fire teachers. Also, let's cut salaries for the governor and other statewide elected officials.

Any bets on how long this website will stay up? I've a feeling they've opened a hornet's nest.


blindrabbit 1 year, 6 months ago

In repressive Brownbackistan this is a prelude to a smaller role of government in your lives. To follow:

Reporting any sexual deviations (from the Bible) about your neighbors, family and friends. Report any blasphemous beliefs in evolution not in line with the Creationist Dogma. Report any political leanings away from the right-wing takeover of the GOP. Report any agnostic, athestic, muslim or non-traditional Christian beliefs. Report any attempts to interfere with the GOP voter suppression efforts. Report any interference in Brownies attempt to turn Kansas away from its backwards drift. Support effort to make the Kansas motto "As bigoted as you think". And the beat goes on!!


EJ Mulligan 1 year, 6 months ago

This definitely sounds like smaller government. Report the government inefficiencies back to the government, so that the government can make them more efficient. Yep, smaller government.


Budgets_Smudgets 1 year, 6 months ago

I guess he has received his "binders full of school administrators."


paulveer 1 year, 6 months ago

There are so many good suggestion here today that I felt compelled to pass them along (via copy and paste) to that website. I want to make sure that the task force is provided with lots of valuable information.


verity 1 year, 6 months ago

Anonymous? Have you looked at the website? You have to give them all your personal information. The site is truly creepy.

I've half a mind to report the inefficiencies of Brownback appointing out-of-state incompetents to state jobs and appointing---is it 22 people now that he's added one person who actually has something to do with education---to a committee to find inefficiencies. Talk about irony. All who have been on committees know that is gross inefficiency---like herding cats. The loudest, and usually stupidest, don't let anybody else talk and the ones who actually have something to say just finally give up and tune out. Of course, the outcome is no doubt preordained.

Does anybody know what we're paying these people?


cowboy 1 year, 6 months ago

If the roles were reversed and we had a Socialist Governor instead of a reasoned adult Republican

Good Lord...


SageonPage 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm a little concerned about this reporting on schools to the state. If the roles were reversed and we had a Socialist Governor instead of a reasoned adult Republican it would be unnerving. There are going to be complainers everywhere you go, example this forum, but shouldn't they go to the School Board or Supt first? Mmmm...have to think on this one.


toe 1 year, 6 months ago

There are so many where do I begin?


Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 6 months ago

Here, here, me, me!!!!!! I have a school inefficiency to report!!!!!!

Here it is, now pay close attention!

Don't shade your gaze!!!!

The school inefficiency is>>>>>>>><< Govrener Brownback!!!!!!!

Who'd of thunk it??

Aw rats!! you all beat me to it!


Richard Payton 1 year, 6 months ago

Heard the kids are not getting enough to eat with the dietary guidelines in place.


paulveer 1 year, 6 months ago

This is great. A website to go to and tell them what you think. Please join me there en masse. Let's make sure that website is not a total waste of state resources.


jayhawklawrence 1 year, 6 months ago

When I first saw this it reminded me of stories I heard of children in Communist countries being taught to turn their parents into the "State".

At what point does government cross the line as they seek to divide our country along political lines?


Tracy Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

That's what local school boards are for. If things are being run efficiently, then it needs to be addressed in the next election. Get people on your local board that will make your local school run efficient.

How about a task force and hotline for reporting how Legislature and legislators are wasting money??


think_about_it 1 year, 6 months ago

So using Lawrence USD 497 as an example. Spending per pupil is almost $9300. Multiply that by almost 11,000 student and you come up with over $100 million spending every year.

$100 million and not one dime of it is wasted? It must be nice to live in your world.

No let's not look for waste in a huge government program, but rather let's just whine about how evil the Governor is.


jhawkinsf 1 year, 6 months ago

On the national level, many say Obama inherited a mess and it will take time to fix it. In this case, Brownback inherited a mess and he's making it worse.

There's something in that for all sides. For those of you who hate Brownback and his policies, yes, he's making it worse. And for those of you who defend Brownback and his policies, yes, he did inherit a system that's been a mess for a long time.


JanM 1 year, 6 months ago

And what's next, putting frowning face stickers on those schools that don't meet with Brownies standards, or on the teachers who aren't faith based, conservative and Republican?? Of course, it would follow to do the same to parents and students that don't meet with his standards, also. Hmmm, he's starting to remind me of a guy named Adolph.


donttreadonme 1 year, 6 months ago

Assessment by anecdote, a GOP standard.

Now anyone who's kid ever got a bad grade or had to park to far from the school door can blame the school/teacher/admins whatever.

Small-minded process for small-minded people.


Paul R Getto 1 year, 6 months ago

"....efficient and effective, I would think."

Perhaps, but they are not the same thing. The fire service could save lots of money by shutting down at night, to cite another example.


jafs 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't like this method, of course.

But, there ought to be some way to make sure that education spending is efficient and effective, I would think.

And that would be a good thing, as it would with all government spending, right?


Paul R Getto 1 year, 6 months ago

Muscular Sam is learning well from the Internet trolls. Sheesh.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 6 months ago

What a great idea!! I can't think of any better way to improve the education system than to collect a bunch of unverifiable anonymous anecdotes.

And I can't wait till Brownback has killed teacher tenure, and this system of anonymous whining becomes a major part of the "teacher evaluation" process.


MJFarmermac 1 year, 6 months ago

...because one of our biggest problems is these high-roller fat cat teachers playing fast and loose with the truckloads of money that are dumped into their classrooms. I'll think about how to rein it in the next time I'm fast-forwarding a VHS tape for my students. I wonder how much this website cost? Can that be put down as an inefficiency?


Melanie Birge 1 year, 6 months ago

Kansans to report examples of inefficiencies of Gov. Sam Brownback


question4u 1 year, 6 months ago

OK, Brownback is a great friend to education, but let's suppose a hypothetical situation in which there were a governor who was not a great friend to education. Let's imagine a governor who cared only about cutting taxes for himself and his wealthy friends. What would that hypothetical governor do?

Obviously, he wouldn't be able to come right out and call for cuts to education. He would need to find a way to cut funding while appearing to be helping the educational system. That might require some accounting tricks, so it might be a good strategy to get some accountants involved. He wouldn't want too many people who actually understand the system to have an idea of what's going on though, so he probably would try to keep those experts out of the process as long as possible – at least until his group of accountants could have some private meetings to agree on strategy.

Then, how would this hypothetical governor go about cutting funding while trying to look like the good guy. Claiming inefficiency in the system might be a good idea. Of course, there doesn't have to actually be any appreciable inefficiency, just the perception of it. If the questionable inefficiencies were suggested by the governor himself or by his appointed panel, there might be some objection. What better way to avoid that than to get members of the public, who know even less about how schools are run, to share their anecdotes? That way, when the cuts come it will be in the name of efficiency and at the demand of the public. The hypothetical hypocrite governor would be able to wash his hands of guilt.

It's great that we have a governor how wouldn't stop to that kind of hypocrisy and manipulation, and its great that when it comes to schools we can cut all that we want and watch student outcomes soar.


Bob Forer 1 year, 6 months ago

Is this what one calls seeking evidence to blame the victim?


Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

Anybody that Brownback appoints must think like him. Brownback represents the demise of the republican party.

Meanwhile... as of 10/13/12

Vouchers were promoted in the 1990s as a way to help poor black children escape failing schools. But that rhetoric has disappeared in Milwaukee. Voucher supporters have expanded vouchers to middle-income families and have made clear they want to make vouchers available to all, including millionaires. Vouchers for poor children was just a first step.

For more than twenty years, I have listened to the voucher movement’s seductive rhetoric of “choice” and “parent power.” If I didn’t know better, I might proclaim, “Sign me up today!”

Milwaukee, however, has more than two decades of reality-based vouchers. The lesson from this heartland city?

Vouchers are a vehicle to funnel tax dollars into private schools. Using the false promise of “choice,” they are an unabashed abandonment of public education and of our hopes for a vibrant democracy.


Lane Signal 1 year, 6 months ago

I have one. The schools are encumbered by an idiot governor who is trying to take all their funding. The time and energy they have to spend in justifying their spending and bureaucracy being put in place to justify this theft of funds from our children are creating huge inefficiencies in our schools. Brownie's best bet to improve efficiency in schools is to give an impassioned speech about the importance of well funded public education then promptly resign.


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