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Lawmaker's misstatements on education caught on video


A northeast Kansas legislator was recorded on camera over the weekend telling constituents that Kansas has the fourth worst educational system in the country, based on student test scores, while spending more than any other state on public schools - claims that are directly contradicted by official records.

In a video posted Saturday on YouTube, Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, is shown explaining why he believes that spending on public education is not synonymous with quality of education.

"If it was, Kansas would not be fourth in the nation from the bottom," Dove said. "And we spend more money. The states that spend less dollars are at the top. And Kansas is pretty near the bottom."

Asked by audience members to explain where he got that information, Dove said: "Kansas Department of Education stats tell us that, as far as the SAT scores, ACT scores."

Dove made similar claims on the floor of the Kansas House of Representatives during the final days of the legislative session in a speech that drew loud heckling from other members.

According to results of the 2013 SAT exams, Kansas ranked 10th in the nation for average combined reading, math and writing scores. On last year's ACT exam, Kansas ranked 20th for its average composite score.

Meanwhile, the most recent Census Bureau data show Kansas ranked 29th in the nation in 2011 for total spending on K-12 public education, at $9,498 per student, well below the national average of $10,560.

The states that ranked the highest on the SAT exam, Illinois and North Dakota, as well as the states ranking highest on the ACT exam, Massachusetts and Connecticut, all reported higher per-student spending than Kansas, according to the Census Bureau.

The video was recorded by Chris Reeves, an Overland Park resident who posted it to the political website The Daily Kos under the username tmservo433.

In a telephone interview, Reeves said the remarks were made Saturday at a public meeting in De Soto at which both Dove and State Sen. Julia Lynn, R-Olathe, made remarks. He said Dove's remarks came in response to a question about why the Legislature attached major policy changes in an appropriations bill that was meant to address funding inequities between rich and poor districts, and what problems in Kansas schools were lawmakers trying to address with those changes.

Dove was also the sponsor of a bill earlier in the session that would have repealed the Common Core standards in reading and math, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards that were recently adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education.

In an taped interview with the Journal-World, Dove admitted he had not actually read the standards, but merely objected to the way they were developed and adopted. In a subsequent interview with the Wichita Eagle, he denied having made such a statement.

Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, tried to convince a DeSoto audience Saturday that Kansas has the fourth-lowest test scores in the country, a statement directly contradicted by reports of those test results.

Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, tried to convince a DeSoto audience Saturday that Kansas has the fourth-lowest test scores in the country, a statement directly contradicted by reports of those test results. by Peter Hancock


Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 1 month ago

Good article Peter. Unfortunately this is not a surprise to anyone. Facts have no place in the GOP argument to De-fund Public Education. Never have, Never will. Facts are just too darn inconvenient. All that reading and such! Oh my, how tiresome! And, the Facts just don't go with Their Narrative. It is easier to say what you have been told to say by your Superiors. You don't need to know Anything to be a Politician except "Do what You are Told by Your Biggest Campaign Contributors ". So much easier than Thinking for yourself!

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

Call it like it is LIES LIES LIES LIES LIES from the ALEC speech writers.

Just another voice in concert with Sam Brownback to dismantle public education then throw mucho tax dollars at corporate schools = profiteers laughing all the way to the bank.

All of Sam Brownback's activity is clearing the way for dismantling public education which will result in the loss of employment for thousands of teachers. Thousands of pink slips will suddenly surface.

Not only that this massive loss of employment will devastate local economies throughout Kansas.

Most certainly the housing market will take another hit with property values taking another nose dive. As a result of the massive unemployment other jobs will be lost as well.

This state cannot afford Sam Brownback and the state GOP. Supply Side Economics sucks the life out of economies at the speed of light.

How many reading this are prepared to lose jobs then maybe your home, retirement plan and medical insurance coverage?

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years, 1 month ago

He must have gotten his to from Dave Trabert and KPI

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

Same bed ……. these boys and girls share the same bedrooms no matter how crowded.

Lynn Grant 4 years, 1 month ago

I just love it when people like Willie get caught in lies and still defend their positions. Facts are facts, accept it. And Willie seems to have a problem with facts. Makes me wonder about more of his decisions and what he bases them on. Sounds like Bonner Springs deserves a more ethical representative. I also love how he throws the students in Kansas under the bus. The majority work hard to make and maintain good grades, some in the excellent category as shown by recent and past SAT scores as well as state assessments. I know that Kansas kids are receiving a better than 46 ranking in their public education. Those who say otherwise just can't be trusted. In November vote for those who support our kids, teachers and public education!

David Reber 4 years, 1 month ago

News flash: GOP Koch/ALEC puppet is a shameless liar. In other breaking news, water is wet.

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