Kansas progressives in both major political parties who want larger state government are promoting themselves as “reasonable.” Another email from an official of Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) asking union members to switch their voter registration in order to vote in Republican primaries provides additional insight into the true motivations of the union, and a look at who is reasonable.
The email, printed in its entirety below, is from Tony White, Director of UniServ Southeast. UniServs are regional offices that provide services to teachers union members.
In this email, White mentions students, writing “Stand up for yourself, for your profession, and Yes, for your students.” Mention of students was absent from a previous email White sent.
White also uses words that we see progressives — including progressive Republicans — commonly use: “reasonable people” and “ideologues.” The mantra these days is that the Kansas Senate is the last bastion of a reasonable approach to government, and that hard-right ideologues have occupied the House of Representatives and the governor’s mansion.
Kansans, however, ought to take a look at what “reasonable” has meant for Kansas schools, since that is purportedly the concern of White and the teachers union.
While the Kansas school establishment touts rising test scores, this improved performance is only on tests managed by that very same establishment. On the national NAEP tests that Kansas school officials don’t control, Kansas scores are unchanged or falling. Despite this, Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker says scores on Kansas tests are rising — “jumping,” in her own words. See Kansas school test scores.
Compare Kansas with Texas, a state that Kansas school spending boosters like to deride as a state with low-performing schools. In Kansas 69 percent of students are white, while in Texas that number is 33 percent. So it’s not surprising that overall, Kansas outperforms Texas (with one tie) when considering all students in four important areas: fourth and eighth grade reading, and fourth and eighth grade math.
But looking at Hispanic students only, Texas beats or ties Kansas in these four areas. For black students, Texas bests Kansas in all four. Texas does this with much less spending per pupil than Kansas.
We also know that when compared to other states, Kansas has low standards. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has analyzed state standards, and we can see that Kansas has standards that are below most states. The table of figures is available at Estimated NAEP scale equivalent scores for state proficiency standards, for reading and mathematics in 2009, by grade and state. An analysis of these tables by the Kansas Policy Institute shows that few states have standards below the Kansas standards. See Despite superintendents’ claim, Kansas schools have low standards.
White and his education spending establishment allies want more spending on schools, and they claim that school spending has been dramatically cut in recent years. Their focus on base state aid contains a grain of truth about school spending. But despite that figure having been cut, total spending on schools in Kansas this year is likely to set a record high. See Base state aid is wrong focus for Kansas school spending and Wichita school spending: The grain of truth.
The teachers union and school establishment are opposed to, and generally successful in opposing other reforms that would help Kansas schools, such as improving teacher quality and implementing school choice. See In Kansas, school reform not on the plate.
Kansas is falling behind other states in implementing meaningful reforms. That’s the way the teachers union likes it. Kansas students and taxpayers suffer for their benefit.
This ought to cause us to reconsider who is reasonable.
Following is the email from White:
One last time, just for the procrastinators out there (which I will admit includes Member #1 – I think she’s resisting just to mess with me). Just like you, she’ll come through.
So I’m sending this to all KNEA members in UniServ Southeast, even though many of you have told me you have your registration all squared away. You can feel quietly superior and totally prepared while I go on.
Here’s the online link to register/switch to the important Republican party: https://www.kdor.org/voterregistration/Default.aspx
THIS MUST BE DONE BY NEXT TUESDAY, JULY 17TH IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY REGISTERED AS A DEMOCRAT.
If you have a valid driver’s license, you can do it online. However, make sure it “went through” (sorry for the tech talk J).
You should get a wallet size voting card back from your county clerk, or at least that’s how it worked for me in Crawford County. It took about 10 calendar days and it shows my updated registration, including the polling place. Now I’m ready if there are any hiccups at the polls when I go to vote.
If you do not receive a confirmation, you should check with your county clerk’s office to see if the change was received. There have been some instances where the clerk had no record of the update. You don’t want that when you go to vote.
Finally, it seems my emails to you all have created a bit of a stir among the radical conservatives. They have been forwarded some of them, I guess. In turn, I have received several offensive emails lambasting me for encouraging you all to register and to vote, to have a say in the type of state in which we live and the quality of school system in which we work.
They have blathered about it and me on the internet as well and in some news articles. They are greatly outraged, I tell you.
Called me lots of names. Demanded I stop asking you to register and to vote, and that I apologize for doing so.
Ain’t a gonna happen.
Their reaction does demonstrate they are worried, worried that reasonable people are exerting their own right to vote.
Maybe they know that less than 20% of the registered voters in SEK voted in the primary 2 years ago. That’s typical.
Maybe they understand how every vote counts, and that goes double for a primary with low turnout.
Maybe they want only the ideologues like them to make these decisions that will affect all of us so profoundly.
Well, we also know those numbers, and we know the ideologues will turn out to vote 100%.
The rest is up to you. Stand up for yourself, for your profession, and Yes, for your students. There are more of us than them, if we’ll do it.
Get registered, and influence any like-minded person to do likewise. And then vote on August 7.
Want to do more? For the primary:
· Yards signs – and even highway signs if you have a good location. Let me know.
· Walking as teacher/KNEA members to leaflet. We will just go to the doors of registered Republicans and hand out campaign pieces. It’s easy and fun, and the candidates love local teachers helping out. Nothing gives them more credibility than teachers helping in their own town. Help as little or as much as you can. Let me know – we’re quickly organizing things.
· We have helped walk Erie and have Independence, Baxter Springs, and Columbus set for this Saturday. Parsons, Chanute, and the rest will soon follow.
· In Cherokee, Crawford, and Bourbon counties, Bob Marshall needs you.
· In Montgomery, Labette, and Neosho counties, it’s Dwayne Umbarger. (and Rich Proehl and Ed Bideau, too.)
Thanks for reading this far. I really wouldn’t be such a pest if it wasn’t this important. We are fighting for the future of our state and the quality of life we enjoy. So I’ll risk being annoying.
Thanks for everything you do for your students and for your colleagues. See you at the polls.