State of the State puts students, citizens first

Dave TrabertEducation, Tax & Spending

Governor Brownback’s State of the State address notably emphasized that students and citizens should come first, not government.  That sentiment created a great deal of heartburn for the many legislators and special interests who prefer big tax increases, upwards of $1 billion more in spending and no accountability for schools to improve outcomes but it was welcomed by those who … 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

Highland Park students’ Florida trip is a reminder of the need for school choice

David DorseyEducation

Imagine you’re a low-income, but academically high achieving student stuck in an inner-city poor performing high school. You think your only post-secondary option is community college. But along comes the district superintendent who takes you to a national conference in Florida, showing you what a big world is out there. That’s what happened to four seniors at Topeka’s Highland Park … 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

Lessons from Europe Means Trusting Families?

James FrankoEducation

Turns out, maybe Kansas has something to learn from Europe. Should we be taking the advice of Kansas Democratic Caucus winner Bernie Sanders and emulating more of what Europe offers us in the way of public policy solutions? Doubtful, that Sen. Sanders wants to pull the same examples from Europe that I would. But, sometimes it can be important to … Read More

Innovative School Districts – falling short of expectations

David DorseyEducation

In April of 2013, Governor Brownback signed into law the Coalition of Innovative Districts Act. When originally passed, the law allowed up to ten percent of the state’s school districts (29) to become an innovative district, the purpose of which is to allow them to “opt out of most state laws and rules and regulations in order to improve student … Read More

Kansans want efficiency, no new taxes for schools

Dave TrabertEducation

Results of our March 2016 SurveyUSA Market Research Study include some very clear messages for legislators on a number of education issues, which will force them to choose between citizens and the institutional demands of special interests.  Local school boards and unions vehemently oppose efforts to make school districts operate efficiently, with efficiency defined as providing the same or better … Read More

Reaction to Los Angeles Charter School Study Misses Bigger, Fundamental Point

David DorseyEducation

A wide-ranging study comparing the performance of students attending charter schools in Los Angeles to those attending traditional public schools (TPS) in L.A. was released last month by a group from the University of California, Berkeley. The researchers (the full report can be accessed here) tracked 66,000 students from 2007 through 2011, using state test data and information about students … Read More

Universal pre-school is not a solution

David DorseyEducation

In a somewhat meandering August 21 opinion piece in the Garden City Telegram, Manhattan-Ogden school board vice-president Aaron Estabrook expresses his frustration at Governor Brownback for failing to pursue universal pre-school for Kansas 4 year-olds. Mr. Estabrook, an Afghanistan war veteran whom I laud for his service to the country and commitment to assisting other veterans, makes a persuasive case … Read More

States’ education reforms strengthen school choice, support teachers

David DorseyEducation

Now that most 2015 legislative sessions across the country are in the books, it’s time to look at meaningful education reform efforts in the form of new laws or strengthening existing efforts. School choice reforms led the way, with no less than eight states passing one or more pieces of legislation giving parents more control of where and how their … Read More