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sunflower-voter (Kate Rogge)

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Brownback calls to repeal school finance formula in State of the State address

Arne Duncan [U.S. Education Secretary]: Improving American education is not optional:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinion...

"The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) stands as a statement that a high-quality education for every single child is a national interest and a civil right. The law has boosted funding for schools in low-income neighborhoods, put books in libraries and helped ensure that minorities, students with disabilities, those learning English, those living in poverty and others who have struggled would not slip through the cracks.

Since then, and especially over the past 15 years, amid bipartisan agreement to focus strongly on students’ learning, progress has been significant. ... These are meaningful steps toward the day when every child in this country — whether he or she lives in a homeless shelter, migrant laborers’ camp or leafy suburb — has access to a solid education.

Yet, this week, Republicans in Congress released a discussion draft of the bill that should worry anyone who believes the entire nation has an interest in the quality of children’s education.

On Monday, I laid out core ideas for a law that would ensure real opportunity, one that must expand support and funding for schools and teachers. It must expand access to quality preschool. It must help to modernize teaching, through improved supports and preparation. And it must continue to enable parents, educators and communities to know how much progress students are making — and ensure that where students are falling behind, and where schools fail students year after year, action will be taken.... Great teaching, not test prep, is what engages students and leads to higher achievement. ... These steps would help accelerate the progress America’s students are making, strengthen opportunity for all students and ensure greater economic security for our young people.

Unfortunately, the Republican discussion draft goes in a different direction. While there are some areas where we agree, the Republican plan would make optional too many things we should be able to promise to our young people:

* Statewide indicators of what progress all students are making each year, as the nation’s chief state school officers and a dozen-plus civil rights organizations have asked? [GOP- "It’s optional"]
* Should funds intended for the highest-poverty schools actually go to those schools? [GOP- "It’s optional"]
* Should we do more to ensure that all families have access to quality preschool? [GOP- "It’s optional"]

We cannot afford to replace “the fierce urgency of now” with the soft bigotry of “it’s optional.” In making choices for our children’s future, we will decide who we are as a nation. For the sake of our children, our communities and our country, let’s make the right choice."

January 18, 2015 at 5:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback calls to repeal school finance formula in State of the State address

What's the matter with Kansas schools?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/opi...

"Kansans rightfully take pride in their strong public school system. But as Kansas goes, so may go the nation. The Kansas Constitution, like those in other states, demands that every child be given the educational opportunity to meet his or her promise. This requires, at a minimum, adequate and suitable school funding. Governor Brownback and legislators must meet the constitutional command and, by so doing, advance the core American value of equal opportunity for all."

This from January, 2014. Pretty prescient, wasn't it? The Republicans control how many states? And how many of them want to break teachers' unions and replace public schools with tax-funded private schools? Separate and unequal once again. Poor Kansas. We've become a Koch experimental theme park after all.

January 17, 2015 at 12:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback budget cuts K-12 education, holds higher education funding flat

Percentage of Poor Students in Public Schools Rises

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/us/...

48% of Kansas K-12 students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches according to the Southern Education Foundation's recent analysis of Federal data (subsidized meals are available for children from low-income families at about 185% of Federal poverty level). The national average is 51%. Kansas is higher than Colorado (42%), Nebraska (44%), and Missouri (45%), but poor Oklahoma is 61% (and Texas is 60%).

"The Obama administration has indicated that it plans to request an additional $1 billion in 2016 for the program that funnels money to schools with high percentages of poor students.
"Now more than ever, it is critical that we as a country ensure schools have the resources and support necessary to prepare every student — no matter his or her ZIP code — for college, careers and life,” said Dorie Nolt, a spokeswoman for the federal Education Department."

January 16, 2015 at 10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback calls to repeal school finance formula in State of the State address

@Andy: I think we trail other nations because we do not have longer school days, longer school terms, smaller classes, and better pay for better teachers. The teachers union isn't the problem. We should identify why others are doing a better job and implement those differences here.

January 16, 2015 at 10:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback calls to repeal school finance formula in State of the State address

Stop debating what Brownback says, and pay attention to what he does. He doesn't want to save publically-funded education; he wants to end it.

January 16, 2015 at 9:57 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback expected to outline plan for closing budget gaps

From a comment posted today for "Conservatives in Name Only" in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/15/opi...

Comment by RLS, Virginia: "The Koch Brothers idea of "liberty" is paying workers $3 or $4 dollars an hour and passing the cost of polluting onto taxpayers. David Koch was the vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in 1980. The party platform:

* We urge the repeal of Federal campaign finance laws.
* We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.
* We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.
* We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service.
* We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.
* We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.
* We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.
* We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and 'aid to the poor' programs.
* We support the repeal of all state usury laws.

The platform called for the abolition of the EPA, FDA, FEC, Departments of Energy and Transportation, Consumer Priduct Safety Commission, FAA, and the repeal of OSHA. For more on the platform, go to sanders.senate.gov and recent business: "The Koch Brothers Are Winning" (4/12/14)."

Sound familiar to anyone else? Brownback and Co. aren't Republicans as we remember Republicans. They're the Kochs' own brand of Libertarians, and their aim is to destroy government and remove all restraints upon those with money to do whatever they damn well wish to do.

January 15, 2015 at 7:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kobach seeks straight-party voting, prosecutorial power

Can anyone remember a worse Kansas Secretary of State? Sure, give Kobach all the power he wants; next up is dispensing with elections altogether. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/w...

January 15, 2015 at 5:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Pipeline critic

Thank you. Who'd have thought I'd be allied with OPEC on this?

January 15, 2015 at 1:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Pipeline critic

Very interesting. Thank you, Andy.

January 15, 2015 at 11:48 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Conservatives hold significant power as 2015 session begins

G.O.P. Governors Face Test in Shift on Ideological Agendas
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/12/us/...

Too bad Governor Brownback believes addressing our plummeting tax revenues and "crisis of the family" is to double-down on the destruction of Kansas government and its public services.

January 12, 2015 at 4:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )