In Kansas, school reformers not wanted


Paul Soutar of Kansas Watchdog has found that some members of local school boards who ask for information face pushback and opposition as they try to exercise the type of oversight that many people want. Many people, that is, except those within the public school system. For them, board members are expected to be compliant and unquestioning.

Kansas Public School Governance: Reformers Need Not Apply

By Paul Soutar

An expert on school policy seems to have summed up what’s going on around the country, including right here in Kansas. “Even if by some miracle a dissenter can slip onto the board, there are tricks that the status quo uses to neutralize that person.”

Tim Blakenship liked using his math and science training to help out at the local high school. He also attended school board meetings and noticed that board members weren’t discussing large expenditures before voting their approval. What he saw motivated him to run for a seat on the USD232 De Soto Board of Education in 2007.

“The biggest thing I talked about during that campaign was the need to scrutinize administrative proposals and ask questions,” Blankenship said. “When I’d come to a board meeting and see that no questions were asked at all. They just voted to do it.”

Kansas Watchdog has heard similar concerns directly from other citizens and board members around the state and anecdotes reported second-hand from others, but few board members have been willing to speak on the record about their concerns.

Continue reading at Kansas Public School Governance: Reformers Need Not Apply.


4 responses to “In Kansas, school reformers not wanted”

  1. Anonymous

    A good question to ask USD 259 is why do they spend thousands of dollars renting facilities for inservice days when they have several of their own they could be using, i.e. ISC Building, auditoriums, etc.?

  2. ictator

    The perfect school board member as viewed by the KS Assoc. of School Board staff would be: A) retired educator/teacher union staffer–like Barb Fuller who was reelected to a second term on USD 259’s school board without opposition after the filing deadline this week; B) the spouse of a school district employee in upper management of an adjacent district; C) the spouse of a firm that relies upon school district funds for their business.

  3. Anonymous Mike

    Hi, My parents are both retired teachers in another state. My father was teaching when the state actually gave the teacher’s their first “in-service day”. (about 1950) They were paid for one day, to grade finals, and to calculate the grades for all 5-6 of their classes for the year. This brilliant concept lasted 1 (one) ONE year, then the superintendent noted that since all of the teachers weren’t working, they could have a meeting. Within three years, the meetings lasted all day, and the teachers had to stay late and grade finals anyway.

    This begs the question, why do USD 259 teachers need “in-service days”? How many are there per year now?

    Any USD 259 employee that isn’t teaching, is overhead, and we have to reduce overhead in all government.


  4. A Nony Moose

    I am in support of the “Kansas Education Liberty Act” being put forth by the Libertarian Party of Kansas. It is one small step toward educational reform and freedom. Check out for more details. Please contact your state representatives if you are in support of this act!

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