Local Columns

Opinion: Race theory and free speech politics

From Washington, D.C., to Kansas, culture war issues are topping the conservative agenda. Many conservatives are advocating restricting speech in schools to ban something called “critical race theory” (CRT). CRT isn’t a theory like, say, the theory of gravity that has clear rules and ...

Opinion: The elephants in the Medicaid room

“My Republican colleagues will not talk about Medicaid expansion. They just won’t. I don’t understand it.” So said first-term Rep. Christina Haswood this past week during a discussion of the 2021 legislative session, responding to a question about what had surprised her at the ...

Opinion: Commuting is not the same as college

Even in today’s bitterly divided politics, certain trends still get bipartisan support. A case in point is “2+2” college education. Advocates believe that most students should enter the university having already completed the first two years at high school or community college, speeding ...

Opinion: A falsetto GOP chorus still singing Trump’s praises

It is not often that an obituary of a deceased politician captures the character of a living one. Journalist H. L. Mencken’s farewell to William Jennings Bryan, the religious firebrand and defense attorney in the 1925 anti-evolution Scopes “Monkey Trial” in Dayton, Tenn., is a stunning ...

Opinion: Deals temporarily halt K-12 battle

On May 7, the atmosphere at the Statehouse felt like one of those unforeseen pivotal moments — where things fraught with controversy just seem to come together. It happened through a surprisingly broad collaboration on education policy and finance. After months of argumentative debate ...

Opinion: The question of democratic legitimacy

Recent events across our region — a local disagreement in Wichita, a statewide argument in Missouri, a veto override in Topeka with national implications — push me to reflect upon a seemingly straightforward but actually complicated idea: “democratic legitimacy.” This is one of those ...