Kansas National Education Association

School choice in Kansas: The haves and have-nots

School choice in Kansas: The haves and have-nots

Kansas non-profit executives work to deny low-income families the school choice opportunities that executive salaries can afford. Kansas Association of School Boards Executives and annual salaries [1. Source: IRS Form 990 for 2013] John Heim, Executive Director $158,809 Donna Whiteman, Assistant Executive Director $105,872 Can afford to send their children to any school. Kansas National Education Association Political Action Committee Executives and annual salaries [2. Source: IRS Form 990 for 2013] Karen Godfrey, President $98,234 Claudette Johns, Executive Director $125,052 Kevin Riemann, Associate Executive Director $123,143 David Schnauer, General Counsel $114,886 Marjorie Blaufuss, Staff Counsel $116,731 Mark Desetti, Director of…
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Survey finds Kansans with little knowledge of school spending

Survey finds Kansans with little knowledge of school spending

As in years past, a survey finds that when Kansans are asked questions about the level of school spending, few have the correct information. From Kansas Policy Institute. Survey Finds Kansans Misled on School Spending December 14, 2015 -- Wichita -- Kansas Policy Institute released a new Survey USA Poll of 509 registered voters in Kansas showing a significant disconnect between voters' perception of Kansas school spending and true expenditures. The survey found 47% of Kansans believe per-pupil funding has dropped more than 5% in the last 5 years. Another 15% believe it has dropped less than 5%. In fact,…
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What are opinions of the level of Kansas school spending?

What are opinions of the level of Kansas school spending?

Part of the difficulty in understanding and debating school spending in Kansas is the starting point, that is, the lack of factual information. From 2012, a look at a survey that revealed the level of knowledge of school spending by Kansans. When asked about the level of spending on public schools in Kansas, citizens are generally uninformed or misinformed. They also incorrectly thought that spending has declined in recent years. These are some of the findings of a survey commissioned by Kansas Policy Institute and conducted by SurveyUSA, a national opinion research firm. In a press release, KPI president Dave…
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Kansas teachers earn pension credit while working for union

Kansas teachers earn pension credit while working for union

An audit finds that a handful of Kansas teachers have accumulated KPERS service credits while working for teachers unions. Should Kansas schoolteachers who take time off to work for teachers unions accumulate state pension benefits credits at the same time? An audit from Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit finds this has been happening. The audit is titled "KPERS: Evaluating Controls to Detect and Prevent Fraud and Abuse." The full audit report is here, and highlights are here. In summary, the audit found this: There were teachers who weren't teaching, but who were working for an "education association." Each school…
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Kansas school employees, the trend

Kansas school employees, the trend

The trend in Kansas public school employment and teacher/pupil ratios may surprise you, given the narrative presented by public schools. "More students, but fewer teachers -- Since 2009, Kansas schools have gained more than 19,000 students but have 665 fewer teachers." (Quality at Risk: Impact of Education Cuts, Kansas Center for Economic Growth) "Class sizes have increased, teachers and staff members have been laid off." (What’s the Matter With Kansas’ Schools?, New York Times) This is typical of the sentiment in Kansas -- that there are fewer teachers since Sam Brownback became governor, and that class sizes have exploded. Below…
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Kansas school test scores, an untold story

Kansas school test scores, an untold story

If the Kansas public school establishment wants to present an accurate assessment of Kansas schools, it should start with its presentation of NAEP scores. Kansas public school leaders are proud of Kansas schools, partly because of scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as "The Nation's Report Card." Kansas ranks high among the states on this test. It's important, however, to examine the results from a few different angles to make sure we understand the entire situation. I've gathered scores from the 2013 administration of the test, which is the most recent data available. I present data…
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For McGinn, a liberal voting record is a tradition

Based on votes made in the Kansas Senate, the advertising claims of Sedgwick County Commission candidate Carolyn McGinn don't match her record. In a radio advertisement, Carolyn McGinn says she is conservative. In a mailer, she touts her "fiscal conservative leadership" in the Kansas Senate. But voting records don't match these claims. Several voting scorecards in recent years show Senator McGinn ranking low in terms of voting for economic freedom issues. These issues generally concern taxation, wasteful spending, and unnecessary regulation. In recent years, a freedom index has been produced by Kansas Policy Institute. In 2012 the Kansas Economic Freedom…
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Kansas school finance reporting and opinion

There's a range of opinion, that's for sure. Republicans concede bill would let teachers be fired without cause (Wichita Eagle) "Statehouse Republicans are having to abandon a key talking point in their effort to defuse teacher anger over an anti-tenure bill the Legislature passed a week ago, conceding the bill would allow school districts to fire veteran teachers without having to give a reason why. If Gov. Sam Brownback signs the bill into law, teachers would essentially be at-will employees of their school districts and able to challenge termination only if they allege the firing violates their constitutional rights." Click…
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In Kansas, education is all about money and politics for UMEEA

In Kansas, education is all about money and politics for UMEEA

From Kansas Policy Institute. Education is all about money and politics for UMEEA By Dave Trabert Media reaction to the school finance legislation has been pretty predictable. It focuses almost exclusively on institutions and ignores the impact on students. As usual, it's all about money and politics. Unions, media and their allies in the education establishment (UMEEA) oppose tax credit scholarships for low income students. They rail against taxpayer money going to private schools and how that might mean a little less money for public institutions but ignore the very real purpose and need for the program. (FYI, the scholarship…
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In Kansas, the Blob is worked up

In Kansas, the Blob is worked up

"Education reformers have a name for the resistance: the education 'Blob.' The Blob includes the teachers unions, but also janitors and principals unions, school boards, PTA bureaucrats, local politicians and so on." (John Stossel, The Blob That Ate Children.) In Kansas, we're seeing the Blob at full activation, vigorously protecting its interests. The source of the Blob's consternation is a bill in the Kansas Legislature that would add charter schools and tax credit scholarships to the educational landscape in Kansas. (Kansas does have charter schools at present, but the law is so stacked in favor of the Blob's interests that…
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Kansas school finance lawsuit reaction

Kansas school finance lawsuit reaction

Following is news coverage and reaction to the Kansas school finance lawsuit Luke Gannon, et al v. State of Kansas. Press release from Kansas Supreme Court The court declared certain school funding laws fail to provide equity in public education as required by the Kansas Constitution and returned the case to Shawnee County District Court to enforce the court's holdings. The court further ordered the three-judge panel that presided over the trial of the case to reconsider whether school funding laws provide adequacy in public education -- as also required by the constitution. ... The court set a July 1,…
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We can predict the loser in the Kansas school lawsuit

We can predict the loser in the Kansas school lawsuit

No matter which side wins the Kansas school finance lawsuit, we already know who loses: Kansas schoolchildren. The last time schools won a suit, the state lowered its standards for schools. Talking about school spending is easy, even though most Kansas public school spending advocates refuse to acknowledge the totality of spending. (Or if they acknowledge the total level, they may make excuses for the spending not being effective.) Advocating for more spending is easy. It's easy because the Kansas Constitution says the state must spend on schools. Parents want more spending, and so do teachers, public employee unions, and…
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WichitaLiberty.TV February 23, 2014

WichitaLiberty.TV February 23, 2014

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: There are efforts to have the Kansas Legislature expand the open records law to include the spending records of several taxpayer-funded agencies, but the City of Wichita wants to keep the records secret. Then, did you know the Kansas teachers union has a media response team? Finally, Arthur Brooks makes the moral case for free enterprise. Episode 32, broadcast February 23, 2014. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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Our Kansas grassroots teachers union

Our Kansas grassroots teachers union

Letters to the editor in your hometown newspaper may have the air of being written by a concerned parent of Kansas schoolchildren, but they might not be what they seem. It's fashionable for school advocacy groups to bash their critics as mere lackeys of a top-down driven power structure. It is the advocates for school spending -- teachers, parents, children, school principals -- that are the true grassroots, they say. So it might be surprising to learn that Kansas' largest teachers union has a plan and mechanism for distributing its message. It's called the KNEA Media Response Team, and it…
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Kansas school test scores, in perspective

When comparing Kansas school test scores to those of other states, it's important to consider disaggregated data. Otherwise we may -- figuratively speaking -- let the forest obscure the trees. Kansas school leaders are proud of Kansas schools, partly because of scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as "The Nation's Report Card." Kansas ranks pretty high among the states on this test. It's important, however, to examine the results from a few different angles to make sure we understand the entire situation. An illustrative video is available here, or at the end of this article. Data…
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KNEA: supporting institutions at children’s expense

From Kansas Policy Institute. KNEA: supporting institutions at children’s expense By Dave Trabert The Kansas National Education Association’s slogan is “Making public schools great for every child.”  It may be a coincidence that their slogan seems to emphasize institutions over students, but many of their actions quite deliberately put institutional interests first.  My belief has nothing to do with individual teachers.  Kansas is blessed with thousands of dedicated teachers who get up every morning thinking of ways to help students and they deserve citizens’ gratitude and support for everything they do.  My comments are not directed at teachers, but at…
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Why are Kansas school standards so low?

At a time when Kansas was spending more on schools due to an order from the Kansas Supreme Court, the state lowered its already low standards for schools. This is the conclusion of the National Center for Education Statistics, based on the most recent version of Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto the NAEP Scales. NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations, and is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. The mapping project establishes a relationship between the tests each state…
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Kansas teachers reject union representation in one district

Rejection of Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) by teachers in a small Kansas school district could start a trend. From Heritage Foundation's The Foundry. By James Sherk and Michael Cirrotti. Teachers in Deerfield, Kansas, just did something unusual -- they voted to decertify their union. The Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) no longer represents them. Teachers disliking their union representation do not make news, but teachers actually leaving their union do: The law makes it very difficult for teachers to remove unwanted unions. Unlike most public officials, unions do not stand for re-election, so their members cannot regularly hold them…
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Teachers union members to be proud of

Critics of public schools usually explain that they're not faulting individual teachers. Instead, they target their criticism at the teachers union, bureaucratic school administration, or "the system" in general. So when we observe the actions of teachers, we're correct to wonder if they're acting as citizens, or as teachers representing their school districts, or as union members, or in some other role. This issue is important when we take notice of the actions of teachers at a recent meeting of the South-Central Kansas Legislative Delegation in Wichita. Here's a message tweeted during that meeting from Judy Loganbill, a Wichita school…
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