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What grade would you give the Kansas Legislature when it comes to school finance?

Asked at Borders on September 8, 2004

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Photo of Nathan Fair

“D as opposed to an F, because their inaction is justified by the lack of a cohesive national answer to school finance.”

Photo of Amanda Assaf

“Probably a D. I would say that they are just ignoring the issue. The obviously aren’t paying enough attention to the education system.”

Photo of Carol Klinknett

“A B. I think something is deadly wrong with education, but I can’t fault the Legislature, because there have been so many cuts nationally, which means the state suffers.”

Photo of Jo Andersen

“I would give our local senators and representatives an A+, but I would give the Republicans in western Kansas a D- to an F for blocking every reasonable finance proposal.”


Hi_Jinks 13 years, 9 months ago

Oops! That's "indeed" not "in deed"!! My bad! ...I guess my school gets an "F", huh?! ;)!!

jonas 13 years, 9 months ago

Lulu: You're right! Let's just print a whole bunch out!!

. . . faker.

jonas 13 years, 9 months ago

What grade should we give the parents, I wonder?

ber 13 years, 9 months ago

You already asked this question on May 11!!

jonas 13 years, 9 months ago

They should find a way to do questions about the posters on this board. The first would be "Is Lulu a lunatic, or someone's satire on a liberal." She/he denies it, but damn, I don't want to believe someone really thinks that way for real.

More nudity, less dialog gets my vote.

bigcat 13 years, 9 months ago

OK, I love to hear the nonteacher point of view. NCLB is the worse thing that ever happened to education for multiple reasons. 1. With teaching being, I believe, the most stressful job on the planet, this just adds unneeded stress. If you don't believe the stress think about your own children and how they may "try your patience" at times. Now multiply that by 30.

  1. NCLB at its base is a fine idea, but once we get to 2-3 years down the road and a huge number of schools lose their accreditation who do you think will end up paying for it, thats right superstar the taxpayers.

  2. Being a teacher we are now fucusing on the "lower end" student and bringing them up to the proficient level. We are now not spending as much time and money on the majority of the students at the C, B range and almost totally ignoring the upper echelon of students. Its called "dumbing down" the curriculum. If you don't believe that then you are fooling yourself. We are more worried about the students who probably are not going to college and not the students who need that base to succeed in college. You may love that scores are rising, but the number of remedial courses taught at college and the number of A's given at the college level has skyrocketed. We are dumbing down at the national level!!!!

italianprincess 13 years, 9 months ago

My son attends Free State this year as a junior and I spoke on the phone with one of his friends mom just prior to registration.

She had mentioned to me that she paid over $ 400.00 this year for her daughter to attend Free State. Her daughter is involved in sports and is a cheer leader and that costs extra of course.

She did happen to mention the field trip fee of $ 15.00 she paid for last year and they never went on any trip. She had to pay this fee again this year and is waiting to see if her daughter takes any type of field trip this time.

I know that $ 15.00 is a small amount to some of you, but to a single mom working to provide for daughter sometimes that $ 15.00 could be used elsewhere.

She wonders where that money went last year and where it may go this year also if a trip is not taken.

Larry 13 years, 9 months ago

  1. The money is there. President Bush has allocated more money to public schools than any other President in our history. Check for yourself!

  2. Go to and look at the test scores in Math, Writing and Reading. They are all going up and the reason is NCLB. Schools are scrambling to ensure kids learn rather than provide an opportunity (as in the old days). Ironically, NCLB was created by a committee that included numerous democrats including Ted Kennedy. The point is that although President Bush pushed for NCLB, the written NCLB document was created by republicans and democrats.

The state has the money some where, I give them an F in financing our schools.

Adam 13 years, 9 months ago

If the funding is so good, then why have over 70 teachers in Lawrence been laid off in the last two years? Bush may have allocated more money than anyone else in history, but you must also consider the increased cost of NCLB and the dollar has lost value compared to the past, so using dollar amounts as a metric to determine if our school system is working isn't a valid measure. I haven't looked at the stats, but I would be willing to bet that while the test scores have increased, the median score has probably dropped, due to NCLB. I know many teachers and they all tell me that NCLB has taken away their ability to do their job effectively. The fact is there are a lot of teachers out of work, and my niece has over 40 kids in her class.

mrcairo 13 years, 9 months ago

I wonder, after paying some $1200.00 in property taxes, why I have to pay school fees to the tune of about $120.00 per child in Lawrence Public. It's my understanding that other communites pay zero extra. What's up with that. How about a little investigating reporting, complete with charts and graphs.

How many people are employed over on McDonald, what do they do, and what are their salaries. Inquiring minds wanna know. How about a full report by LJWorld.

As far as No Child Left Alive is concerned, while Bush was Governor, the school board advanced only those children capable of scoring well on the SAT into the 10th grade, leaving the poorer students behind, and then advancing those to the 11th grade so they would never have to take the test. Very slick way to increase those scores 'eh?

bigcat 13 years, 9 months ago

  1. NCLB will be gone in just a few short years. We have tried these type of educational reforms in the past only to see them "gone in the wind." It is the "flavor of the month" and will soon pass.

  2. If you are all for vouchers then NCLB is the way to go. When a school does not get the "quota score" for three years then a school can lose its accreditation hence allowing students to go to other schools. So, do you think students will pick the overcrowded classroom of Lawrence with underpaid teachers and overpaid administration, to the smaller classrooms of the surrounding areas and bring with them the tax money?

  3. Where the hell is this money that Bush's administration gave us? I have been teaching in the surrounding area for the past 6 years and having seen an increase. All I have seen is great teachers getting laid off and budgets getting tighter and tighter.

  4. Teaching to a test is a great thing. Catch the sarcasm? It is wonderful that is a physical science classroom you could have over 50 indicators to teach in a year and over 40 in a biology classroom. Gone will be the days of those fun field trips that we all remember or really cool experiments. Welcome to the age of "we gotta get to this certain chapter by the end of the year or we could get fired." If you think that is an over-dramatization then you are wrong. Many schools are looking at merit pay or the test scores to see if you even keep your job. This is sad because the students in your classroom are the "luck of the draw" and you may not get the cream of the crop. If you teach a lower level class of physical science students the same year the upper level students are taking biology, who do you think the more stress is being put on? Ah finally common sense coming through.

Savage 13 years, 9 months ago

yeah, the lulu theory. Sure, lets take a poll... Im in!

bigcat 13 years, 9 months ago

  1. When parents complain about education it is about time that the finger gets pointed in the opposite direction. I always said that I could teach any kid that came in the classroom, but the true stress is the parents. Now-a-days the parents put sole blame on the school if their child fails. Many times I have had parents come into me and yell and blame me for their child failing. Even after multiple calls home throughout the semester and their student never handing in a lick of work. Spend time with your students and help them with their studies. And we are not picking on your child when they get a detention. I have never had a vendetta against a student. TEACHING HAS NOT CHANGED SINCE THE DAWN OF CIVILIZATION. THERE IS STILL A TEACHER AND A STUDENT AND KNOWLEDGE TO BE LEARNED. WHAT HAS CHANGED IS THE PARENTS!!!

The mroal of the story is that legislation is afraid to raise taxes for fear of not being re-elected. Schools need funding, if not we are depleating the most important aspect of a child's life. I have a lot of fear of the future, because education is depleting in this nation. I would feel fine paying an extra $10 a year if that assures me a bright future. These children are our future and we are more worried about a couple of pot-holes then our children. Let legislation know that we are not going to put up with it and take an active part in writing to then or talking to a congressman. Tell them it is OK to raise taxes as long as we are sure what it goes to. This is not just the children's future, but it is our future. I pray that when I get older and retire that I am taken care of and the current ideal of "we'll fix it later" is obsolete. Sorry about the length, but a big topic for me.

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 9 months ago

"ber" is correct! Today's question was, in deed, asked on May 11th of this year! Great! So the LJ World is now (apparently) in the habit of asking "recycled" questions, just like yesterday's housing question.

So...Is tomorrow's question going to be about cheese--again??!!

Brian Sandefur 13 years, 9 months ago

In my opinion, pouring more money into the system isn't going to help a great deal. If parents aren't going to take an active interest and match teachers' efforts in ensuring their children are educated and educated well, $$$ won't help. Likewise, the children themselves have to care.

I realize the student to teacher ratio in homeschooling is a tremendous advantage over public or even private education, but the lesson is there. Homeschooled kids have parents who are vitally interested in their future and education, and it makes all the difference.

I think there are over-arching problems culturally in this country that have as much to do with education's demise as a lack of funding.

sunflowersue 13 years, 9 months ago

I certainly hope that "bigcat" isn't teaching writing to our students; at the very least a spell and grammar check is needed throughout "bigcat" posts. One would think a teacher would be cognizant of the image their writing provides to others.

bigcat 13 years, 9 months ago

Sorry Sunflower Sue, but if that is the only thing you took out of the post then you have serious problems. It is a wonderful thing that so many issues were brought up and the only thing that you can say is that there are some spelling errors. Way to bring something worthwhile!!!

bigcat 13 years, 9 months ago

It might also aid you to take a look at your own grammar. "bigcat" posts" ??? Me think you have great grammar too Tarzan.

nicegirl 13 years, 9 months ago

I don't know how to solve the school finance problem, but I just wanted to comment on a point that mrcairo made about other communities not paying extra for school on top of the property taxes they pay. Every school district I know still requires fees to be paid when you register your kids. I know my parents paid fo rme growing up (and I didn't grow up here). My sisters pay for my nieces and nephews to go, maybe it's a Kansas thing but I don't know of any district in Kansas where there is no additional enrollment fees.

Lulu 13 years, 9 months ago

One thing out of this whole school mess is THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE MONEY!!!!

When I was teaching grade school children, I didn't have the opportunity to nip problem children in the bud. Now there is Ritalin which I appreciate. It gives the teachers more opportunities to concentrate on other children making the whole class have a better learning experience.

More money and less bombs!!!!!

When the airforce needs a bake sale to pay for their destructive bombs, then George Bush won't be in power anymore.

Regime Change NOW!

jonas 13 years, 9 months ago

Bigcat: You make very good points that I agree with completely, but I would avoid making statements like "many times I have parents come into me and yell." (#8, 4th sentence)


Savage 13 years, 9 months ago

For those of you who are a little bit older (been through high school and college both). Didnt it seem like the majority of rich kids excelled at school or they were the star athletes most of the time? You see... upper middle class and higher incomes invested in private sports camps (lessons), computers, private tutors, private music lessons, advanced educational toys, more travel abroad, an lets not forget the new free car on the 16th bday or for freshman year. All these cool things which cost MONEY seem to lead the way and provide an advantage for these particular kids, and contribute to their chances at success in high school and beyond. There are families who make sure a kid succeeds and goes to college (we wouldnt have it any other way Mortimer) and there are families who think their kids are just super bright or just average and excersise the "May life just lead you where it ought to" kind of philosophy. Myself at about 18, did very poorly in high school, and did not get to attend all the special camps, and have a private math tutor from agencies like Sylvan learning centers. Anyways.... once fearing advanced knowlege and thought, thinking it was for the Einsteins of the world in my early twenties, I awoke one day to discover a passion for knowlege and couldnt get my hands on enough classic literature, science books. science mags and computer books. After a few years of heavy reading, and dabbling, I attended college and many of the classes were a breeze because of Border's, Barnes and Noble and other special interests. Thanks Corporate America!

My point is parental involvement is the key factor to the majority of childhood success and future success in an ever competetive world. Money seems to be the key factor in all of this. Granted... I found out later in life that I was an A and B student, but would have probably found out alot sooner if Mommie and Daddy had did all the things is described above and shoved me off to Harvard or wherever. Am I a little jealous? Maybe. Who cares.

I dont think you can ever spend enough money on education. Perhaps I will call for an across the board 2 cent sales tax to raise an extra 20 million for Lawrence schools every year. That might to the trick!

Also the Kid (school-child) has to care (to learn) first. Unfortunately many children couldnt care less about school. What about that big apple LeRoy!

Savage 13 years, 9 months ago

Hey!!! Prozac Nation!!!!

Wake Up! (you too Lulu)

No one will argue, fight, fuss or disagree with you, anyone, or anything if your all doped up on ritalin, right?

Welcome to Zombie Nation!!!

Savage 13 years, 9 months ago

jonas, your last comment is pretty cool.. It kind of freaks me out too.

jonas 13 years, 9 months ago

Savage: I'm hoping you're referring to the Lulu theory, and not the more nudity less dialog one. No need to be freaked out by nudity.

We should take a poll. Maybe I'll try that tomorrow.

Larry 13 years, 9 months ago

Cairo - Bush wasn't responsible for the people who were moved on without passing grades. It was the school districts who were trying to cheat because they couldn't get their kids to the mandated level. Jonas - Good point! Adam - try looking at the number of district wide administrators that USD 497 has employed. More than Shawnee Mission, more than Blue Valley and more than Olathe. All three of these schools have many more students than Lawrence. There, my friend, is where the money is located. In addition, schools can only spend what the state allocates them. I wonder what the state has done with the federal money. BigCat - don't forget that one of the reason we are dumbing down our curriculum is because of the liberal view that we MUST have all participate and achieve success, otherwise it might hurt their little self esteems. Remember the liberal philosophy - NO competition. Look at Jonas comment. We could pour millions of dollars into the classroom and those kids you speak of would not change until the PARENTS get serious. Money is not the answer and I come from a family of teachers and administrators.

Savage - it is definitely a parent and kid CARING issue. You didn't have money but you finally found the urge to learn and look what you accomplished. I was extremely poor growing up. My Dad was an educator and my Mom stayed at home. On one teachers salary, we qualified for free or reduced lunch. I was an average student because I was the youngest of six siblings and my parents weren't as consistent with establishing study times for me as they were with my elder siblings. Just as you state, I found the light later on and now have two master's degrees. Money was the issue growing up, it was desire!!!!

Larry 13 years, 9 months ago


I haven't taken Lulu's comments serious for a long time. I think Lulu is a LJWorld employee who is paid to make statements that get people fired up. No sane person could possibly be that far out in left field.

Brian Sandefur 13 years, 9 months ago

Lulu's post was the ultimate (pardon the word choice) bumper sticker regurgitation. The bake sale comment - HA! I saw that on a bumper sticker like 15 years ago. How profound.

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