Letters to the Editor

Letter: Constitutional choice

January 18, 2014

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To the editor:

Things don’t change as much as you think. Original Kansans emigrated from the cities and towns of the East where 19th Century politics were dominated by bosses. The Kansas Constitution was written by people who distrusted politicians. Accordingly, that constitution restricts the powers of the governor and the legislature.

The wealthy have always had good schools, private schools, because they can afford to pay tuition. The genius of America, as understood during the 19th Century, was good public schools, open to all, without tuition. Constitutions make choices. Ours chose to require the state to provide public education.

They wrote: “The legislature shall provide for intellectual, educational, vocational, and scientific improvement by establishing and maintaining public schools…” Article 6, Section 1. If that wasn’t clear enough, they went on: “The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state. No tuition shall be charged…” Article 6, Section 6.

Their words are mandatory, “shall provide,” “shall make suitable provision,” “no tuition shall be charged.” These mandates are imposed upon the legislature, just like the mandates of free speech and religion. Politicians cannot make laws that violate the constitution. If the legislature does not make “suitable provision” for public education, then Kansans who want a “suitable” education will be forced to go to private schools and pay tuition. Thus, an unsuitable education violates the constitution.

But the constitution, if he doesn’t like it, gives Gov. Brownback a solution: He can seek amendment. Absent that, the constitution must be obeyed.

Comments

Bart Johnson 2 years, 4 months ago

"The genius of America, as understood during the 19th Century, was good public schools, open to all, without tuition"

Yes, if you get them while they're young, you can control them much easier.

Scott Burkhart 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't think anyone objects to spending money on quality education in this state or across the nation for that matter. What I think people object to is the waste that finds its way into the local budgets. Tell me this Mr. Skepnek, how can Catholic schools, that operate without public assistance and on smaller budgets, are able to out score public schools on standardized testing year in and year out. I can tell you why. It's because money isn't wasted on unnecessary administrative salaries and pet projects. It isn't because they genuflect at mass, I can tell you that. I don't mind paying higher taxes if you can show me where those additional funds hit the public wellbeing. I don't want to see ungodly salaries. I don't want to see a six figure art project in the middle of a roundabout at Legends Dr. and Wakarusa!

Cille King 2 years, 4 months ago

Bishop Seabury Academy in Lawrence charges nearly $13.000 per student / year and they can choose who they enroll, unlike public schools that have to take everyone.

http://www.seaburyacademy.org/admissions/tuition-and-fees.cfm

Brock Masters 2 years, 4 months ago

How much spending per student does public schools get now? One source says it is $21,000. So if that is true then BSA is doing it less expensively.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 2 years, 4 months ago

A quick search of State spending per student shows New york with the highest at $19,076 which is a 2.5% increase. The lowest was Utah at $6,212 which was a 2.4% increase. Kansas was at $9,498 which was a 2.2% Decrease. Not sure where you got that $21,000 figure. So, Bishop Seabury Costs a lot more than Public Education. They are not doing it less expensively. This actually supports the idea that the more you spend, the better education can get.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 2 years, 4 months ago

These figures can be viewed on www.governing. com website. Giving credit where credit is due.

Cille King 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you Thomas Bryce. The web site showing that Kansas ranks 29th in spending per student (spending $9,498/student) is: http://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spending-per-pupil-data.html

Thomas Bryce Jr. 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, Cillie. Much more precise on the Location of the Website. Sorry. I am a computer Novice. Will have to learn Copy and Paste real soon.

Mike Ford 2 years, 4 months ago

it sounds like social Darwinism and selective choice are the point of religious schools. this sure takes away the right's "Picking Winners" allegation because many of these types of schools are what the right advocates for as they defund public school funding and push for vouchers to create churchlican think tank advocates.

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