Search Results for: Key Construction

Kansas schools receive NCLB waiver

Last week Kansas received a waiver from the main provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The press release from Kansas State Department of Education reads in part: "With the approval, the accountability system for Kansas schools will shift from ensuring a prescribed percentage of students achieve proficiency on state reading and math assessments each year to ensuring schools achieve a prescribed level of improvement on at least one of several Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) established by the state. ... With the waiver in place, the state can now look to multiple measures to assess the performance of Kansas schools in helping all students achieve." One of the major criticisms of NCLB is its emphasis on high-stakes testing in reading and math, which may lead to over-emphasis on…
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Suitable education in Kansas

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SCR 1608, a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would remove the ability of courts to order the level of spending on schools. Specifically, the proposed amendment adds this language: "The financing of the educational interests of the state is exclusively a legislative power under article 2 of the constitution of the state of Kansas and as such shall be established solely by the legislature." The key sentence in the Constitution reads "The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state." Proponents of increased school spending in Kansas interpret that to mean the state guarantees Kansas children a suitable education, and the state must spend whatever it takes to accomplish that result. But that's…
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Why don’t we have these in Wichita?

Just 12 years later, economically disadvantaged students -- defined as those eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches -- in secondary charter schools are twice as likely to score at advanced or proficient levels on math and reading tests as their peers in traditional public schools, based on federally mandated national tests. Wow. That sounds like something we could use in Wichita. Charter schools, wherever they are allowed to exist, often produce results like those described above. Why? Autonomy is the linchpin of the charters' success. Independence lets charters control their own academic programs, enabling them to respond quickly and effectively to the needs of their students. It allows schools to specialize in certain subjects and to hire teachers who will do the best job for the children. This freedom…
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Kansas may again resort to government art

Kansas may be ready to restore some state funding for the arts. But for reasons economic, human, and artistic, we ought to keep Kansas government out of art. Kansas should allow people themselves to decide how to spend their own money on what they think is important to them. To implement government funding of art is to override the freedom of individual choice with political and bureaucratic decisions. It's puzzling as to why artists -- generally a group of independent minds and free spirits -- would want to reintroduce government control over the funding of their craft. Perhaps it springs from the prevailing attitude taught in our (government controlled and funded) schools and universities that government is a force for accomplishing good. While government does some good things for us,…
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Democrats dominate in top Kansas court

By Karl Peterjohn There are three numbers that everyone at the statehouse knows who follows Kansas government: 63, 21, and one. You must have 63 votes to pass a bill out of the Kansas House of Representatives, 21 votes to pass a bill out of the Kansas Senate, and the governor's signature to turn a bill into law. In the Kansas House you have 83 Republicans and 42 Democrats out of 125 elected members. In the Kansas Senate you have 30 Republicans and 10 Democrats out of 40 elected members. All 165 legislators were elected in 2004. Governor Sebelius was elected in 2002. Yet there is now a much more important number that is growing in power in Kansas government: the six appointed judges on the Kansas Supreme Court. The…
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Kansas Faces Challenges for Growth

By Alan Cobb, Americans For Prosperity Kansas State Director Many would describe that much of rural Kansas is in decline. Nearly 60 percent of the counties in Kansas have lost population just since 1990. Over half of Kansas' counties have fewer residents today than 1900. Just this week the Associated Press reported that stated Kansas is in real danger of losing a Congressional seat during the next reapportionment because of anemic population growth. Kansas population growth from 2000 to 2004 was only 1.7 percent while the nation as a whole grew 4.3 percent. Kansas' annual growth of less than one-half of one percent should startle anyone concerned about the future of our fine State. No matter how you measure growth, Kansas is struggling, particularly when compared to the other 50…
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The effectiveness of court-ordered funding of schools

As the school spending lobby in Kansas beats the drums of a new school funding lawsuit -- see Kansas school spending lawsuit possible and Kansas school funding lawsuit proposed for details -- we ought to consider whether these lawsuits have any merit. That is, have they produced positive results in the classroom? Or do these suits serve only to increase spending? In research just published by the American Enterprise Institute, researchers looked at four states (Kansas was not among them) and found disappointing results in terms of educational outcomes. What's needed is more fundamental reform. Things like differential teacher pay and charter schools, for example. These are being promoted by President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, but the existing public education bureaucracy and spending lobby are firmly opposed to…
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AFP-Kansas statement on 2013 legislative session

Americans for Prosperity-Kansas remarks on the completion of the 2013 session of the Kansas Legislature. TOPEKA, KAN. -- The Kansas chapter of the grassroots group Americans for Prosperity released the following statement in response to the close of the 2013 Legislative Session: “In the last few years, legislators have made great strides to bring the state of Kansas on a path toward fiscal responsibility,” said AFP-Kansas state director Jeff Glendening. “The budget for the next fiscal year included a slight reduction in spending that certainly was a step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done in reducing the size and scope of our state government. The budget provision that limits the growth of state spending to 2 percent per year is an important step to…
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