The Kansas Supreme Court just decided in the “Gannon” case that the Legislature has, so far, failed to provide suitably for public schooling in the State. The Court looked for guidance, in part, to the Kansas Constitution; specifically, the following:
Article 6, Section 1: “The legislature shall provide for intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement by establishing and maintaining public schools....”
The word “public” is there to see, and;
Article 6, Section 6, b: “The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the State.”
Gov. Brownback is reported to agree with the court that many children currently are not receiving suitable education in Kansas. The court assumes it is the job of the Legislature to make public education suitable. The governor has different ideas: He proposes charter schools and private schools. Private schools are nowhere addressed in our Constitution — or in our expectations, for that matter. Charter schools are a euphemism for publicly funded private enterprises, dressed in sufficient obscurity to leave them somehow arguably “public.”
Education is the biggest budget item in our state government; and some see it as a pernicious burden of “big government.”
Our children’s public education and leaving it in poverty and dissolution — on the frequently mistaken premise that the private sector can do it better — looks like a deflection from the truth of it: Fixing the current mess is beyond the governor’s competence, and he does not choose to tackle public education’s persistent challenges.