Archive for Thursday, April 3, 2014

Senate votes to defund Common Core standards

April 3, 2014

Check for the latest updates about legislative action on school finance.


— The Kansas Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday night to prohibit schools from spending money to implement the Common Core standards for reading and math.

The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, was added to a school finance bill that is meant to respond to a recent Supreme Court ruling that said the Legislature must send more aid to to certain school districts to equalize the property tax rates between rich and poor districts.

If the amendment becomes law, however, it could set up another constitutional battle over education, this time between the Legislature and the Kansas State Board of Education over which body has the authority to set curriculum standards for public schools.

"This deals with the appropriation of funds, the spending of funds, and this is certainly a legislative prerogative and puts the Legislature in control," Knox said of his amendment. "This is an issue that I've heard from my constituents regularly."

But state education officials frequently point to the Kansas constitutional amendment adopted in 1966 that established the state board, "which shall have general supervision of public schools, educational institutions and all the educational interests of the state, except educational functions delegated by law to the state board of regents."

That has generally been construed to include the power to set academic standards for public schools.

Meanwhile, other education officials questioned how such a law could be implemented. Mark Tallman, a lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards, noted that the Common Core standards say students in first grade should learn to count to 100 by ones and tens.

"Does that mean we stop teaching first graders how to count?" he asked.

The Common Core standards were developed by a multistate group organized by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the standards were intended to make sure students throughout the country are prepared to go into college or the workplace by the time they graduate high school.

The Kansas State Board of Education formally adopted them in October 2010. Since then, though, conservative groups — including many with ties to the Tea Party — have criticized them as "national" standards being mandated by the Barack Obama administration, because the U.S. Department of Education encouraged states to adopt them in order to qualify for certain federal grants.

State board members, including Republicans and Democrats, have consistently denied that their decision to adopt the standards had anything to do with pressure from the federal government.

The Senate continued working late into the night on its education bill, with the hope of voting on final passage Friday.

Overall, it adds $129 million in "equalization" aid for schools, but most of that would replace money that districts like Lawrence currently have to raise through local property taxes because of previous budget cuts enacted by the Legislature.

To help pay for that, the Senate bill makes cuts in various other parts of the education budget, but also gives districts more authority to raise additional money through local property taxes.

The net effect in Lawrence would be a cut of $1.1 million from the district's general fund. But if Lawrence took full advantage of the increased tax authority, it could recover $1 million of that, leaving a net cut of $109,479.

Meanwhile, the House was forced to send its bill back to the Appropriations Committee, where lawmakers continued to tweak various aspects of it.

By late Thursday night, the panel had restored many of the earlier budget cuts to help pay for the bill. Under that plan, Lawrence would fare better.

But it was expected that conservatives would then try a second time to add "school choice" amendments to expand charter schools and allow tax credits for corporations that fund private school scholarships for certain students.


MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 1 month ago

Read that part again where it's the Tea Party who is blaming Obama for Common Core, even though both Republicans and Democrats in our state said that is a lie.

And yet our legislature and our governor is going all out to cut funds for it because Brownback is trying to make brownie points with the Tea Party and the Koch Boys, who funded the Tea Party and still does. The Koch boys funded Brownback and the far right legislators in their campaigns, and they must do what the Koch boys want or they won't get funded next election. Brownback wants to be president. Without the Koch boys that dream is dead on arrival.

It is too late to stop the damage these people are doing to our state and our schools, but we can at least try to slow the bleeding down in November when we vote those who are running out of office.

That will require knowing ahead of time that your registration is good.

Then you must go vote or download a form to request an advance ballot and vote by mail. You can do that any day of the week without leaving your home.

Let's do it!! Come on, you guys! Join me in voting these traitors to our state out of office.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

Exposing ALEC's Agenda to Defund and Dismantle Public Education

This is a real concern for all school districts in the state of Kansas. This back door activity is at the very least unethical if not perhaps illegal. What do elected officials have to say about this?

After reading the above there is tremendous similarities to what is taking place right here under our nose. We must ask ourselves why has the majority of Kansas legislators worked so many hours and years destroying public education? This is not what they are paid to do.

It seems to me when operational expenses are reduced year after year any department or business will begin to realize difficulties in achieving the most desirable goals. Perhaps that is the Sam ALEC Brownback platform.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

ALEC,Tea Party,Americans for Prosperity etc etc etc are all funded with Koch money and are front groups.

Al Deathe 4 years, 1 month ago

Can someone please put a limit on the number of posts Hecker can post at a time? Why he he feel he has to control everything on this site. All he does is cut and paste others ideas anyway.

Phillip Chappuie 4 years, 1 month ago

I would venture to say the Forrest Knox's constituents can't tell you what Common Core standards are or how they apply to the student. I find it so terribly disagreeable when the conservative right does things for the only reason to stick it to Federal government or the Obama administration. It matters not if the thing is right or wrong. This contingent operates out of spite, not reason. Forrest Knox and Virgil Peck, keeping SEK in the limelight of backwoods stupid.

William Weissbeck 4 years, 1 month ago

Just wondering. In the unlikely event that a GOP is (ever) elected president, do you think the GOP might demand that the WH be torn down and rebuilt because, you know, a black man lived there? That's how stupid the Common Core objections are. This is even less a federal program or idea than No Child Left Behind. If the objections were that this is a bad curriculum because it's just another step of teaching to the test, I'd understand. But the objection is that there shouldn't be a national standard of what kids should know and be taught, even though it's the states that contributed to the curriculum development. I guess they don't want any of that crazy liberal Blue state influence. Maybe we should have a Blue state common core and a Red state one. A Blue state healthcare and Medicaid program and a Red. Let's see who ends up dumber and poorer.

William Ballard 4 years, 1 month ago

Every teacher I have talked to endorses Common Core standards. They were developed by educators along with the National Governors Association - The Obama Administration had nothing to do with them. More Tea Party lies. Perhaps if we had had Common Core standards the past 30 years, Sen. Knox would have the intelligence to propose some responsible legislation.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 1 month ago

I can see clearly though this one. A well-educated electorate is what the tea bag Republicans do NOT want. Voters that are able to count and think can see through the fraud, lies, misrepresentation, and just plain stupidity of the Koch Regime Republicans that currently occupy the offices of the legislature in Kansas.

Bob Zimmerman 4 years, 1 month ago

What's the big deal?

Edumacation ain't dat important in da 21st century.

It ain't dat important for gettin a good job at a meat packing plant or a plastic company and dats where da state of Kansas is gonna grow.

And remember...when you edumacate people...they move away. And dat ain't good for most of Kansas. Except for the fancy pants people in Lawrence.

Amy Albright 4 years, 1 month ago

"A bill to kill Common Core educational standards in Kansas has Baldwin School Superintendent Paul Dorathy concerned a $100,000 district investment could be lost."

I imagine this is true for districts across the state. Talk about hitting 'em when they're down. Where's the fiscal responsibility?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.