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The Future Doesn’t Look Bright for Kansas Schools

The Future Doesn’t Look Bright for Kansas Schools

We seem to have a societal soft-spot for kids. Not without reason. Individually, they can be hellish, screaming nightmares. Nevertheless, if we want to continue to have a functional society with a growing economy, you need to invest in kids.

One way to make sure children have the tools to be productive members of society is to fund all-day kindergarten. According to the National Education Association, all-day kindergarten better prepares students for the first grade, they achieve more, and it is cost effective. For every dollar invested, three dollars are saved. Facing a tough challenge from Democrat Paul Davis, Gov. Sam Brownback has been pushing an initiative to fund all-day kindergarten in Kansas. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this year.

Kansas has been having education problems recently. Earlier this month, the state supreme court ruled that the legislature had not been fairly funding Kansas schools. As a result, the state needs to find about $130 million dollars to cover the shortfall.

The money issues won’t abate any time soon. The Brownback-supported tax cuts of recent years have really done a number on revenues. Billions of dollars will be lost if the tax cuts continue.

The cuts slashed available revenue, leading to declines at a time when most states have seen revenue growth. Kansas’s revenue drop last year was second only to Alaska’s, according to one academic estimate. Revenues grew in 38 states, fueling a nationwide average of 2 percent growth. Kansas’s own nonpartisan legislative analysts estimate a revenue decline of about $5.2 billion by the end of fiscal 2018 thanks to the cuts.

Schools are definitely feeling the pinch. Brownback claims that his budget increases education spending, but in reality that increase is so small that it’s likely not going to outpace inflation. Under a current proposal, school funding would be well below pre-recession levels.

And the drop in revenue was matched by a drop in school funding, CBPP found. Last school year, 18 states raised general funding per student relative to inflation, while 29 did so this year. As general school funding rebounded in the median state, Kansas’ continues to fall — and would fall further under Brownback’s proposal, CBPP found. Should his cuts be enacted, school funding would be 17 percent below pre-recession levels, adjusted for inflation.

Clearly, money for education is going to be a big headache for state lawmakers for the foreseeable future. Which may be why Brownback’s proposal for all-day kindergarten was nixed.

But it’s not the only reason. Conservatives were also concerned that all-day kindergarten would be used as a replacement for daycare with little academic rigor.

Oh no! Kids who are old enough for kindergarten might actually go to kindergarten? The horror!

If I thought this was a short term budget problem, I might have hope for the future of education in Kansas. However, if Republican lawmakers get their way, we’ll have budget problems for the next several years, and it will be the kids and the poor that are most harmed.

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Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Flickr

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1:28PM PDT on May 3, 2014

Make English/American the language of the USA as our forefathers did and you won't be spending so much on teaching. Kansas is right along the interstate the Mexicans travel to settle in the USA and collect food stamps, coupons for cars, etc., free healthcare. Yes, they are taught to work our system in their Mexican consulates.

No Consulates for natural Americans, no privileges, etc.!

12:03PM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

Exactly right Michael. Their new world order is fascism……and in their eyes, if you arent following THEM then you are a communist or socialist or collectivist….alll words interchangable of course. Something in the country has emboldended them. Likely the fact that our government seems to be friendlier to the idea of fascism these days. So they are coming out from behind the curtians they used to hide behind. They feel safe now.

2:46PM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Of course the word "collectivists" carries with it the usual So-Shall-ist undertones they usually label people with who oppose them. It's the same old game started by Nixon when he was attempting to defeat a female Democrat running for the Senate by calling her a communist.

This game they (GOP) usually play, has been entered into Newt Gingrichs' game changer playbook for the GOP to follow using NewtSpeak to change the perception of things in the eyes of the public to reframe an issue in ways that sounds more appealing.

2:43PM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Excellent post Robert,

I discovered this article in my email yesterday. It is an excellent read and addresses the issue of how they are engaged in attempting to change America for the worse and have now given a newspeak word for those who stand against their attempts to make America adopt their legislation on state and local levels (via ALEC and their other behind the scenes activities) and are now calling them "collectivists."

Apparently their efforts are being compromised by political actions groups that are awakening people to the masks they are wearing, as well as Harry Reid's assault on them from the Senate.

Charles Koch Adds His Voice to the Growing Chorus of Whiny Billionaires
It might be time for the self-pitying super-rich to get some psychiatric help.

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/charles-koch-adds-his-voice-growing-chorus-whiny-billionaires?akid=11672.1070144.alAnUq&rd=1&src=newsletter978206&t=6

5:34AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

The future doesn't look bright for anybody.

2:53PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

THe Kich Brothers have been even more active than usual on so many fronts and are becomeing even more vocal and public about their desire to remake the country. They are getting upset about the public criticism of their involvement. Tough crap I say.

They say they are determines to make this a freer country again. Of course he wants it freer for Them and people like them…..not for US. For us he wants choices limited. He wants out thinking to be directed by their OBVIOUSLY superirior looking glass.

They have TONS of money to sped and they are determined. Things are going to get much uglier before they get better.

1:11PM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

An example from Simon’s piece:

Another Calvary Christian Academy, this one in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., describes the goal of its AP Biology course as preparing “students to have faith in Jesus in an age of science by evaluating college-level biology, chemistry and physics from a purely biblical perspective.”

Their AP Biology class is designed not to prepare students for college work, but to resist doing college work!!That support for voucher schools invokes broader cultural themes than just anti-science is shown in the following passage from Simon’s report:

But Doug Tuthill,

who runs one of the largest private school choice programs in the nation,

says
states have no right to determine what kids should learn,

beyond basic math, reading and writing.

Other topics, from the age of Earth to the reasons for the Civil War,

are just too controversial for a government mandate, he said,

even when taxpayer money is at stake.

1:09PM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

Jerry (the author of this blog) recently highlighted

( http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/teaching-creationism-is-widespread-in-u-s-public-schools/)

a similar report

(http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/01/creationism_in_texas_public_schools_undermining_the_charter_movement.single.html)

by student pro-science advocate Zack Kopplin on government subsidy of creationism, and how this support is now found in many states. Simon shows how the movement for voucher schools is spreading over the country, spending lots of money

(including from—you guessed it—

the Koch brothers),

and trying to influence both Republicans and Democrats.

One thing that struck me is that the curricula of these schools don’t just teach some sort of alternative set of claims about the world, but teach active hostility to science.

The link below shows a MUST SEE 10 image slide show of some of what the curricula are espousing and includes an image or 2 from the Missouri schools...

http://www.politico.com/gallery/2014/03/science-lessons-from-the-bible/001710-024283.html

This is INSANE! in the world of today.

1:06PM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

In a must-read special report at Politico,

(http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/education-creationism-104934.html)

Stephanie Simon examines the growth of government-funded instruction in creationism via the voucher school movement.

Voucher schools are private schools

for which the government pays full or partial tuition.

Most of them are religious (70 %, Politico),

are not held to educational standards,

and have little oversight.

Here’s the money quote:
Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies.

Now a major push to expand these voucher programs is under way from Alaska to New York, a development that seems certain to sharply increase the investment.

Public debate about science education tends to center on bills

like one in Missouri,

which would allow public school parents to pull their kids from science class whenever the topic of evolution comes up.

But the more striking shift in public policy has flown largely under the radar, as a well-funded political campaign has pushed to open the spigot for tax dollars to flow to private schools.

Among them are Bible-based schools that train students to reject and rebut the cornerstones of modern science.

12:24PM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

Keepin' the populations dumb, hm.

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