Kansas, once home to education equality, now lags in freedom

At one time Kansas played a leading role in education equality, as Topeka was home to the school that produced the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision by the United States Supreme Court.

Today, however, Kansas lags in educational freedom and choice. The public school lobby in Kansas does everything it can to stomp out any spark of educational freedom and choice in Kansas. The two organizations at the forefront of this effort — the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA, the teachers union) and the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) — expend huge amounts of energy and money to protect their entrenched interests. Their interests, unfortunately, run contrary to the interests of Kansas schoolchildren and their parents.

The following announcement from the Alliance for School Choice provides more information about the problem at the national level.

(Washington, D.C., May 16, 2009) — In commemoration of tomorrow’s 55th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, Alliance for School Choice Interim President John Schilling issued the following statement:

“Fifty-five years ago, citizens of all race, religion and socioeconomic status were given hope that educational equality would soon come to America. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education sent a clear message that every child is entitled to equal educational opportunities.

Unfortunately, gains towards equality have been far too slow.

Our nation’s education system today faces one of the most severe crises in American history — a crisis that impacts families, communities, and our already-suffering economy. Despite historic increases in education spending, 5 million children attend 10,000 failing schools. One child drops out of school every 26 seconds. This year’s high school dropouts will cost our country more money than the state budgets of California, Texas, and New York — combined.

Today, however, it is not discriminatory laws that prevent equality and opportunity, nor is it a lack of overall funding. Our educational crisis stems from the unwillingness of entrenched special interests and the policymakers beholden to them to put the interests of children first. This historic anniversary reminds us that now, more than ever, is the time to ensure that all options are on the table to help disadvantaged students obtain a quality education.

To ensure that American children — particularly those in low-income families — have access to high quality education, we must put the interests of special interests aside and embrace initiatives that truly provide hope and a quality education to children — especially those in low-income families. School vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs accomplish these goals by allowing parents to make the best decisions for their children’s education.

Today, 10 states and the District of Columbia offer private school choice programs. In total, 18 programs serve 171,000 children — an 89 percent increase in student participation over just five years. More Democratic legislators are joining their Republican counterparts to sponsor and approve school choice legislation than ever before, making the fight for vouchers and scholarship tax credits truly bipartisan.

School choice is one of the most researched and studied education reforms of our lifetime. The results are clear: school choice works. Allowing parents to select the best schools for their children — public or private — yields higher parental satisfaction, increased student achievement, and improvements in public schools.

So today, as the nation celebrates the promise of equal educational opportunity on the 55th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, we call on state legislators across the country to stand up and support school choice. We call on local leaders to protect and strengthen existing school voucher and scholarship tax credit programs. And we call on Congress to fully reauthorize the federally-funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.”

Monroe School 2009-01-24 04


2 thoughts on “Kansas, once home to education equality, now lags in freedom”

  1. Bob:
    Did you ever notice that the Brown v Board decision had to do with race and that your issue has to do with private v public education?

    Why should the public subsidize a private enterprise? I thought you hated the socialization of private business.

  2. Some people call school choice the most important civil rights issue of the day.

    “Three unlikely allies met with President Obama Thursday, declaring education improvements are the ‘civil rights issue of the 21st century.'” One of these was Al Sharpton.

    And you’re right about how the public shouldn’t subsidize a private business.

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