First Bell

Ohio teacher's firing may be a cautionary tale for Kansas

Peter Hancock

The [Ohio Supreme Court][1] ruled this week in favor of a school district that fired an eighth grade science teacher for injecting too much religion into his classrooms, thus bringing to an end a long, drawn-out legal battle that appeared to contain every element of the culture wars surrounding public ...

Maybe you can write a novel in 30 days, but should you?

Peter Hancock

One of the legends of modern American fiction is that of Jack Kerouac and the writing of his great novel, “On the Road.” According to the legend, Kerouac loaded his Underwood typewriter one day in 1951 with a long scroll of teletype paper and, [over the course of three weeks][1] ...

Brownback fires back at New York Times

Peter Hancock

Journal-World readers may have noticed a letter to the editor today [by Gov. Sam Brownback][1], firing back at the New York Times for an editorial they ran Oct. 13 criticizing his record on education funding. Brownback's office sent it to Kansas newspapers because, officials said, the Times declined to publish ...

Schmidt asked to defend state board in science lawsuit

Peter Hancock

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is being asked to defend the State Board of Education in a lawsuit that challenges the Next Generation Science Standards that were [adopted in June][1]. The board met in executive session for about 30 minutes Tuesday and again for 15 minutes Wednesday to discuss legal ...

State board shies away from "progressive" label

Peter Hancock

The Kansas State Board of Education plans to launch a postcard campaign next year to impress legislators with the successes that are happening in state schools. But in an effort to remain "non-political" in their messaging with the most political of bodies, they agreed today to be careful about using ...

Chaplains not affected by shutdown, Seabury teacher says

Peter Hancock

Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp has issued several statements in recent days alleging that Catholic priests in the military are being barred from celebrating mass on military bases due to the partial shutdown of the federal government. But Christopher Bryan, the [Bishop Seabury Academy science teacher who was recently called up][1] ...

In court, standing is fundamental

Peter Hancock

Another headline for this post could have been, "Who the heck is Luke Gannon?" Because that, surprising as it was to many people in the Supreme Court chambers yesterday, turned out to be one of the more important questions. There's a basic principle of law that says you can't just ...

Lawyers stretch their vocabulary in final Supreme Court briefs

Peter Hancock

Lawyers in the pending Kansas school finance case [Gannon vs. Kansas][1] may be testing the limits of their own vocabulary — not to mention everyone else's — in making their final written arguments to the Kansas Supreme Court. As you may recall, the case turns on whether the Legislature has ...

U.S. Education Department goes on pre-shutdown spending spree

Peter Hancock

There were [national news reports][1] that this happened in several federal agencies, and maybe it's not unusual as any fiscal year draws to a close, but one couldn't help but be amazed at the flurry of press releases coming out of the U.S. Department of Education in the days — ...

KSDE seeks disciplined message on Common Core

Peter Hancock

The Kansas State Department of Education is tired of losing the messaging war when it comes to talking about the Common Core Standards. And so now they're fighting back. On Wednesday we reported that Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker soon will respond in writing to a recent Kansas Republican Party resolution ...

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