Most Kansas legislators won’t declare their principles

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Lots of declarations are made on the campaign trail and town hall meetings, but when asked to declare their principles on key state budget and education issues, most Kansas legislators wouldn’t respond. Kansas Policy Institute asked all 165 Kansas legislators to respond to a 6-question multiple choice online survey between January 13 and January 30 but only 34 responded; some … Read More

Innovative schools doing nothing all districts couldn’t do with no evidence of increased student achievement

David DorseyEducation

Q. Is there anything innovative schools are doing that all other non-innovative schools couldn’t also be doing? A. No. Although not a direct quote, that was part of a Q & A discussion between members of the House Education Committee and Coalition of Innovative School District (CISD) chairman Bill Mullins during CISD’s annual report to the Legislature. Members from both … Read More

What Trump’s Education Secretary could mean for Kansas school choice

David DorseyEducation

It appears president-elect Trump will not jettison the U.S. Department of Education. Too bad. However, the news is not all discouraging because Mr. Trump has tapped Michigan’s Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. Ms. DeVos has a strong record in the area of school choice, having led the charge in her home state’s first school choice program in the 1990s. This … Read More

Blue Ribbon task force on teacher supply and retention – an exercise in missed opportunities

David DorseyEducation

A state-wide task force charged to study teacher vacancies and a looming supply shortage in Kansas presented its report to the State Board of Education earlier this month. What could have been an opportunity to raise probing and difficult questions was wasted on a report full of fragmented recommendations that appear to be more self-serving than dealing with the underlying … Read More

Political indoctrination at taxpayer-funded Johnson County Community College

Dave TrabertEducation

The adjacent course description from page 46 of the Johnson County Community College Summer Catalog is an egregious example of political indoctrination at taxpayer-funded institutions of higher education.  With phrases like “Why the Right-Wing holds on so fiercely” and referring to “right-wing institutions” JCCC effectively endorses the contention that so-called ‘right-wingers’ prevent ‘authentic dialogue as well as patriotism.’ Are they … Read More

Students and Taxpayers Bear the Costs of Generous Pay Packages at Johnson County Community College

Patrick ParkesEducation, Tax & Spending

This post has been updated to correct a typo and clarify a calculation made within the body of the post. Johnson County Community College (JCCC) payroll records—now available on KansasOpenGov.Org for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years —may raise eyebrows among students and taxpayers alike, as some JCCC staff members earn salaries that appear to be well above market averages. … Read More

The system is not the solution – “Kansans Can” Part 2

David DorseyEducation

Note: This is the second installment analyzing the new State Board of Education/Kansas State Department of Education initiative called “Kansans Can.” Click here for the first article. Until the breakup of the Bell system in the 1980’s, AT&T had a monopoly on phone service; people had no choice. In order to reassure customers that they were in good hands, one … Read More

Innovative School Districts – good intentions, potential gone unrealized

David DorseyEducation

In this previous blog an overview of the Coalition of Innovative Districts Act was presented with the conclusion that the opportunities provided by the act have gone largely unnoticed and unrealized. This installment on the innovative schools will show that the six member districts are little more than a club with scarcely any innovation to show for their activities. As … Read More

“Kansans Can” –rearranging deck chairs in the name of reform – Part 1

David DorseyEducation

The Kansas State Board of Education (BOE) in conjunction with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) has a new direction for Kansas public schools, complete with a catchy moniker called Kansans Can. It is summarized in print in the form of Kansans Can Talking Points, which provides a capsulized overview of the initiative. It appears to be a bold … Read More

Presidential politics and public education – where the candidates stand

David DorseyEducation

As the presidential season plods along, among the round-the-clock reportage of accusations and insults, occasionally an actual issue question pops up. At some point, each of the five candidates still standing (as of this writing) has been asked “What are you going to do about education?” That seems a reasonable inquiry given the increased intrusion by the federal government, even … Read More