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Open Letter to the Kansas Policy Institute
Mr. Trabert, and anyone else at the Kansas Policy Institute that’s interested,
I realized today, as I was finishing up a project(putting the last touches on the bombs) that I knew very little of what the Kansas Policy Institute really stood for. Well, other than my perception that you wanted to end the public school system. Well, “end” might be inaccurate, maybe “change beyond recognition.” More syllables, but more accurate?
Given the fact that you folks tend to make the local news from time to time, with the good Mr. Dave Trabert dropping a note here and there on the comments section of the website, I thought I’d make the effort to find out.
I loaded up your web site, looked at the blog, and skimmed over a few of the documents in your research center.
I read the document entitled “Removing Barriers to Better Public Education.” It felt like the thing to read to get a general idea of what your position on education funding was all about. It reads like the whole problem with education is that there is too much money spent on it. It’s kind of odd that the only real conclusion in a document with such a name would be less money=utopian education system.
There is an interesting point about standards being changed in weird ways at weird times, which is good to know, and something to get frustrated at. Reducing funding, by itself, isn’t going to fix that, though.
It wasn’t what I was wanting to know, anyway. I went to your site to find out what your “how to” for education was, not “how much.” Because, well, the “how to” should define the “how much.”
Most people realize that public education is expensive. Most people realize that public education is inefficient. Most people realized that public education is a politically charged topic. Most people realize that there’s rarely a 1:1 ratio between money spent and academic achievement.
Many people (I wish I could say “most”, but I’m not sure anymore) realize these things, and push for public education anyway, because they perceive the benefits to be worth the cost. There’s all kinds of reasons people give for that belief, and I’m getting crunched for time, so I’m not going into it for now.
Anyway, I kept digging around, trying to find other things, and was only able to find a couple of documents that talked about “how to” instead of “how much.”
There’s a document promoting the idea of expanding online public education, which is an idea I think should be more thoroughly explored. This isn’t really an original thought, though, and to properly implement, it’s going to cost money.
There’s a blog post extolling the virtues of charter schools. I feel it overstated charter schools a bit, but it’s been awhile since I’ve researched the subject, so I might be a bit out of date.
Other than those two bits, everything on your website was focused on how much money was/is/will be spent (and why it shouldn’t be spent).
The issue I have with all this is that while your organization obviously harbors some hostility towards public education in it’s current form, it doesn’t really make an effort to describe what it should be replaced with.
Basically, the question I’m wanting an answer to, is if the Kansas Policy Institute think tank folks could design the ideal public education system for the State of Kansas, what would it be?