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Archive for Saturday, August 23, 2014

Paul Davis, Kansas Democrats focus campaigns on education funding

August 23, 2014

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis fired up a crowd Saturday during a rally at the state party's annual DemoFest convention in Wichita. Democrats are focusing much of their campaign for statewide and legislative seats on their desire for more education funding.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis fired up a crowd Saturday during a rally at the state party's annual DemoFest convention in Wichita. Democrats are focusing much of their campaign for statewide and legislative seats on their desire for more education funding.

— Kansas Democrats are pinning much of their hopes in the 2014 elections on the belief that voters want to see more funding for public schools, and that most are disappointed with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's track record on education.

Nowhere was that more evident this weekend than in gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis' keynote speech to the party's annual DemoFest convention in Wichita.

“We have a moral obligation to provide our children with the very best public education possible,” Davis, of Lawrence, told more than 200 people who paid $85 a plate to hear him speak at a party banquet in a downtown Wichita hotel. “Kansans know that strong schools are the very foundation of a strong economy.”

The focus on education is also part of the party's overall strategy to regain significant influence in the Republican-dominated Legislature. Earlier in the day, the party held a rally to showcase its candidates for the Kansas House.

Many of the candidates the party recruited this year are current or former teachers campaigning not just on the issue of school funding but also on the Legislature's repeal this year of teacher tenure rights.

“I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore,” said Charles Jenney, a Wichita teacher and Democrat hoping to unseat Republican Mark Kahrs in the 87th House district. “My entire career, the state Legislature has violated the constitution of the state of Kansas and underfunded education, including several years when my salary was frozen.”

Brownback has countered those criticisms, arguing that total education funding has increased during his administration to record levels. That calculation includes increased funding for the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, which manages school employee pensions, as well as funding ordered this year by the Kansas Supreme Court when it declared the previous funding levels for lower-wealth districts were unconstitutional.

During an interview after the banquet, Davis acknowledged that even if he is elected governor — he currently leads in most public opinion polls — he will face an uphill battle with the Legislature. Currently, both the House and Senate are firmly controlled by conservative Republicans loyal to Brownback, and the Senate will not change because it is not up for election this year.

“I'm going to do the best I can to work with them to find common ground,” Davis said. “If we are successful in this campaign, I think the tone in Topeka is going to change, and the folks that are on the more conservative side are going to be more willing to work with us.”

Besides pushing for more education funding, state Democrats also adopted a platform outlining positions on a range of issues including support for expanding Medicaid, recognizing same-sex marriage and legalizing medical marijuana.

On the issue of taxes, however, their platform expresses opposition to the philosophy behind Brownback's historic cuts in income taxes but avoids any specific discussion of which tax cuts its members would like to repeal.

“Kansas Democrats ... favor restoration of the 'three-legged stool' concept of having a balance among income, sales and property taxes,” the platform states. “This balanced approach to taxation has protected the state during economic downturns and has provided sufficient revenue for decades to fund education suitably and to meet the other primary needs of the state.”

Comments

James Howlette 3 months ago

Insert the KPI belch of misleadingly framed numbers here.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 months ago

Brownback is posting an election video extolling all the great and glorious things that he has done in his term as "governor". The usual misleading and downright fraudulent stuff that you would expect from the Republicans trying to circle the wagons around their failing candidate. ↨

Richard Heckler 3 months ago

If the ALEC GOP overthrows local school boards,state education departments, takes over state legislatures ,congress and the white house they own the government. What would stop them from taking over the entire educational system in America?

Beware: http://action.changewalmart.org/page/s/no-to-walmart-style-classrooms

Lane Signal 3 months ago

It is amazing to me that Brownie is trying to position himself as an advocate for education. There are now commercials running for Brownie that focus on education. I can see him trying to rewrite history and change the story, but it does not make much sense to me that he would want to draw attention to his record on education. It does make sense for the Davis camp to focus on education. But why would Brownie want to remind everyone of how he's been so unpleasant to teachers and tried so hard to strip dollars out of funding for public education.

Philipp Wannemaker 3 months ago

brownies commercials are dictated by the Koch brothers and ALEC. brownie has never had an idea or done anything that someone else didn't tell him to do.

Lila Lincoln 3 months ago

Remember that there are THREE candidates for Governor on November 4th. Before you choose between two evils, be sure to check out Keen Umbehr and understand where he stands on education, taxes, and other important issues. http://www.keenforkansas.com.

James Howlette 3 months ago

He pretty much looks like he has all of Brownback's foolish fiscal policies without being so churchy about it.

Richard Heckler 3 months ago

Seems like another Libertarian as are the Koch boys.

Richard Heckler 3 months ago

A Smart ALEC Threatens Public Education

Coordinated efforts to introduce model legislation aimed at defunding and dismantling public schools is the signature work of this conservative organization. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/03/01/kappan_underwood.html

By Julie Underwood and Julie F. Mead, Phi Delta Kappan

A legislative contagion seemed to sweep across the Midwest during the early months of 2011. First, Wisconsin legislators wanted to strip public employees of the right to bargain. Then, Indiana legislators got into the act. Then, it was Ohio.

In each case, Republican governors and Republican-controlled state legislatures had introduced substantially similar bills that sought sweeping changes to each state’s collective bargaining statutes and various school funding provisions.

What was going on? How could elected officials in multiple states suddenly introduce essentially the same legislation?

The answer: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Its self-described legislative approach to education reads:

Across the country for the past two decades, education reform efforts have popped up in legislatures at different times in different places. As a result, teachers’ unions have been playing something akin to “whack-a-mole”—you know the game—striking down as many education reform efforts as possible. Many times, the unions successfully “whack” the “mole,” i.e., the reform legislation.

Sometimes, however, they miss. If all the moles pop up at once, there is no way the person with the mallet can get them all. Introduce comprehensive reform packages. (Ladner, LeFevre, & Lips, 2010, p. 108)

ALEC’s own “whack-a-mole” strategy also reveals the group’s ultimate goal. Every gardener who has ever had to deal with a mole knows that the animals undermine and ultimately destroy a garden. ALEC’s positions on various education issues make it clear that the organization seeks to undermine public education by systematically defunding and ultimately destroying public education as we know it.

Richard Heckler 3 months ago

After years and years of the Kansas GOP cutting public education funding we taxpayers WANT MORE public school tax dollars coming back into our existing economies. This can not only work for our students but also the local job market. Get those public education tax dollars back into my community where they belong !!!!

Why do GOP elected officials want to destroy public education… intentionally?

Public education has for decades and decades been one of the government success stories which in reality =a best bang for the tax buck.

Thousands upon thousands of public school teachers throughout through the USA could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on local economies.

Beware : http://action.changewalmart.org/page/s/no-to-walmart-style-classrooms

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