Kansas state senator Jean Schodorf, a Republican from northwest Wichita, is testing the waters in the race for the Republican nomination for Kansas’ fourth congressional district.
It appears that she’ll use her public education experience and advocacy as a selling point. As reported in today’s Wichita Eagle:
She has served in the Senate since 2001 and is chairwoman of the Education Committee, where she has developed a reputation for fighting in favor of schools and school funding.
At her Monday news conference, Schodorf was introduced by former state Board of Education member Carol Rupe, who served with her on the Wichita school board and was one of several current and former USD 259 officials in attendance.
When judging Schodorf’s record on education, we should keep in mind that when considering educational freedom, Kansas is one of the very worst states in the nation. Kansas has no charter schools to speak of. Any hope of a voucher or tax credit program is a faint and distant goal. This is all well and good, according to Schodorf, and she has a fair degree of influence over education in Kansas stemming from her role as the chair of the senate education committee.
Instead, the Kansas public school spending lobby seems to pretty much control the legislature and the governor’s chair. Yes, Kansas had to scale back on school spending this year. But schools fared much better than did other state agencies and spending lobbies. It’s a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans that allow this to happen. Schodof is one of these moderate Republicans, with several Democrats in the Senate possessing a more taxpayer-friendly voting record.
If Schodorf starts to talk about the many years of rising Kansas test scores, I hope she calls for an independent audit of those scores. This is needed so that Kansans can see for themselves whether these scores are a valid and reliable measure of student achievement. This is important because the results on the federal NAEP scores don’t support the rapid rise shown on the Kansas tests. See Are Kansas school test scores believable? for background.
Also, the public school monopoly and its supporters in Kansas — Schodorf being in this group — continue to dismiss a way to save Kansas a lot of money and improve educational freedom and results at the same time. As shown in my post School choice would save, not cost, Kansas, we can save money by implementing school choice programs.
Let’s ask presumptive candidate Schodorf some of these questions, and then judge the validity of her purported care and concern for the education of Kansas schoolchildren.