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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Senate votes to block new education standards

June 1, 2013

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— The Kansas Senate passed a bill today that would block local schools and the State Department of Education from implementing the Common Core standards in reading and math, as well as the proposed Next Generation Science Standards.

The bill now goes to the House, where conservatives had insisted that the Senate pass such a bill before they would consider adopting a budget bill.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican, said the Common Core standards represent, "a dramatic centralization of authority" over public education.

But opponents of the bill said the standards are supported by the vast majority of educators, as well as business leaders around the country.

Sen. Marci Francisco, a Lawrence Democrat, tries to amend a bill that would block implementation of the Common Core standards in Kansas. The bill was carried by Senate Education Committee chairman Steve Abrams, right, an Arkansas City Republican.

Sen. Marci Francisco, a Lawrence Democrat, tries to amend a bill that would block implementation of the Common Core standards in Kansas. The bill was carried by Senate Education Committee chairman Steve Abrams, right, an Arkansas City Republican.

"This is another example of why Kansas has become the laughing stock of the nation," said Senate Democratic leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka.

At one point, Sen. Tom Hawk, a Manhattan Democrat, asked the chief sponsor of the bill, Sen. Steve Abrams, to identify any specific standards in the Common Core that he objected to.

"There are other things besides just the standards themselves," Abrams said. "What I'm trying to be responsive to, as I suspect everyone in this room wants to be responsive to constituents."

The bill passed, 24-12, with only Republican support. Four Republicans joined all eight Democrats in voting no.

After the Senate action, however, there was disagreement about whether the bill actually would prevent schools from implementing the Common Core standards, with some saying the real purpose was to block the State Board of Education from voting next month to adopt the new science standards.

The bill states: "No school district, nor the department of education nor the state board of education shall expend any moneys to institute the common core standards, the next generation science standards or any other uniform educational standards for grades kindergarten through 12, or any portion of such standards, including any assessments affiliated with such standards, that were not adopted by the state board of education prior to the first day of the 2013 legislative session."

It also sets up a legislative oversight committee to review the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, and make recommendations to the 2014 legislature about whether they conform to the "educational values" of the state and whether they should be continued.

Sen. Marci Francisco, a Lawrence Democrat, succeeded in getting an amendment added to clarify that "uniform educational standards" means standards adopted in two or more states. Otherwise, she said, it also would have prevented the state from implementing the new social studies standards that were adopted in April.

Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker told a Senate committee on Friday that she believed that the language would allow the state to move ahead with Common Core, since those standards were adopted in October 2010. Committee members reportedly agreed to that statement.

That would mean the only thing the bill really prevents from happening is the adoption of the proposed Next Generation Science Standards, which the state board had been expected to vote on this month.

But at least three state board of education members who were on hand during the Senate debate said that if the bill becomes law, it could set up a constitutional lawsuit to decide whether the Legislature even has authority to determine what standards the state board may adopt.

"Depending on how the House vote comes out, I look for several board members to bring that up and it will be discussed," said Sally Cauble, a Republican from Liberal and vice chairwoman of the State Board of Education. "There comes a point when we need to really be able to know what our responsibilities are."

Board members Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat, and Deena Horst, a Salina Republican, said they had personally discussed the possibility of a lawsuit.

"Our next meeting should be very interesting," Waugh said. The board's next meeting is Tuesday, June 11.

Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution says the state board is given authority over "general supervision of public schools, educational institutions and all the educational interests of the state."

Comments

anticommunist 1 year, 3 months ago

Americans must be willing to teach their own children, versus their offspring becoming de facto wards of the state. The family equips the child to acquire a unique skillset, enabling them to learn for the own sake.

This means strengthening the core of the family. The success of the liberal agenda is contingent on the absolute destruction of the family unit.

Legislation like this is quite encouraging precisely because it works to disable the indoctrination and intellectual dulling that occurs in public schools.

Whatever your political inclination, we can all agree the public school system nationwide is a total, reprehensible failure.

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chootspa 1 year, 3 months ago

Why don't you just homeschool your kids to avoid all that government interference and let us liberals destroy our family units in peace with the help of actual educational experts instead of tea party radicals intent on teaching religion in science class?

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elliottaw 1 year, 3 months ago

You mean the schools that educated about 90% of the people in the US for more then 90 years? Please provide some facts to go with your tea bag agenda......you might want to remove those bag from your eyes first

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Bruce Bertsch 1 year, 3 months ago

Public schools and education were established by one John Adams, who thought it wrong to rely on churches for education and did not believe that education was only for the rich. I.e., public education was an idea of our founding fathers. Tea partiers should want it to succeed.

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chootspa 1 year, 3 months ago

It conflicts with the agenda of the imaginary founding fathers they've constructed in their own image and now worship as false idols.

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chootspa 1 year, 3 months ago

You ain't gonna make it with anyone, anyhow.

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chootspa 1 year, 3 months ago

Your strange illogical leaps and straw-manning is both amusing and frightening.

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Armored_One 1 year, 3 months ago

If I might impose a pair of questions on you, anticommunist...

You asserted earlier that the education system in this nation, by and large, is an abject failure. My questions are:

  1. Could it be possible that the 'failure', as you have all but said, of the public education system is not the fault of public school, but instead the end result of an inconsistent methodology of teaching, sprouting from multiple school boards not working in unison? I say that because the military still runs D.O.D. schools, which I attended in my youth, and I can say with complete confidence that the material presented and taught in DOD schools is handled much more efficiently than public schools. A centralized set of standards, which all DOD schools are built around, prevents a lot of issues.

  2. As an addendum to the entire issue of no centralized teaching requirements, could the simple policy of "No one is a loser if they try" mentality poisoning schools these days be adding fuel to an already blazing inferno? In recent memory, a school district in Omaha, NE. attempted to implement a policy that as long as a child wrote their name, the date, and the subject on a piece of paper, they would not be given a zero by the teacher, since it would adversely affect their self confidence, or some other such nonsense.

Yes, there are glaring problems in the education system, but since the U.S. used to be one of the models for education standards, obviously it has a fine foundation. It just needs to be fumigated, reinforced with new, correct materials and methods, and put back to what it used to be.

I won't insult you by pretending to understand your irritation with it. Perhaps it is well founded, but frankly, you sound like a lunatic howling at the moon. In the middle of the day. I'm more than willing to discuss this with you, but you really need to explain your stance more clearly than you have so far.

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kanzen2424 1 year, 3 months ago

It makes complete sense that conservatives would stand against the Common Core Standards. These standards were designed to counteract years of simple memorization and test taking skills by actually teaching students to use critical thinking skills to solve real world problems. If a generation is taught to think In this way, none of them would ever vote for conservative candidates.

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