What Is the true state of public education in Kansas?

On a web page that is part of the National Education Association website, we can read some good news about Kansas schools. Here are some of the headlines to be found on that page:

Math Scores Are Among the Nation’s Best
Math Scores Are Up
Among the Best in the Nation in Students Going on to College
College Entrance Exams Are Among the Nation’s Best
Among the Best Gains in the Nation in Students Going to College
ACT Scores Are Rising
More Students Are Taking ACTs
Public School Students Outperform Private School Students on AP Exams
AP Scores Are Among the Nation’s Best
More Public Schools Offer AP Courses
Public School Students Outperform Private School Students on AP Exams
Among the Best in the Nation in Students Receiving a High Score on AP Calculus Exams

You can read the entire story here: Good News about Public Schools in Kansas.

These headlines stand in contrast to what the Kansas Supreme Court has said, and to what we were told this summer during the Kansas Legislature’s special session. We were told that Kansas schools were in grave danger, that Kansas schools were not adequately funded, and that if the legislature didn’t do its job and adequately fund schools, then Kansas schoolchildren were in danger of being outperformed by children in all other states.

But here we have the teachers union citing much evidence that Kansas schools are among the nation’s best.

So what is the true state of public education in Kansas? There are many studies and statistics available. Many contradict the conclusions made by others. Constituencies such as the teachers unions and the education establishment tell us they have only the welfare of the children as their concern, but many times they act otherwise. Who is qualified to decide what to do?

The answer is simple. Ultimately, parents have the responsibility for educating their children. They are the ones in the best position to know what is best for their children. We need to empower parents to be in control of education. The way to do that is to give parents a choice as to where to send their children to school. For most people, that choice doesn’t exist in a meaningful way. School choice through vouchers can give them that choice.

The teachers union and education establishment say that competition and school choice through vouchers will ruin public education. But if they’re doing as good a job as the headlines above indicate, they should fare well under competition.


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