Walt Chappell

Kansas school spending and achievement

Following, from Dr. Walt Chappell, a discussion of Kansas school spending. Chappell served on the Kansas State Board of Education from 2009 to 2012. The truth is, Governor Brownback and most Kansas legislators have worked hard to get more money into K-12 classrooms and have increased funding to educate our children each of the last four years. Claims that funds for schools have been cut, supposedly causing test scores to drop, schools to close, class sizes to go up and college tuition to increase are totally false. Yes, there was a large reduction of $419 million to fund Kansas schools…
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Electing Kansas legislators: Education issues

By Dr. Walt Chappell Member, Kansas State Board of Education Before Kansas voters can decide who should represent them in the state Legislature, we must have accurate information. This is especially important when it comes to which candidates will make responsible decisions about how to improve our schools. Some campaign mailers and editorials claim that student achievement has improved and funding for Kansas schools has been drastically cut. Neither is true. To give the impression that more students are “proficient” in reading and math, the State Department of Education lowered cut scores in 2005. Since then, high school students only…
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Harm of NCLB to be eclipsed

By Dr. Walt Chappell, member, Kansas State Board of Education. Recent ads in Kansas newspapers have told the truth about the unacceptable level of reading and math scores for Kansas students. Yet, for Diane DeBacker, the State Education Commissioner, and education lobbyists to continue to deny these documented results from Kansas schools is a disservice to our students, their parents and taxpayers. This massive cover-up has gone on for years and needs to stop. All outside indicators of how well our schools are doing show that the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates have been a major disaster and…
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Wichita school fund balances again an issue

The issue of school fund balances in Wichita and Kansas is a serious issue that deserves discussion. At the same time, we need to make sure we don't lose sight of Kansas school issues that are even more important. But school officials need to be held accountable for their deception of the public, most notably through straw man arguments. When Dr. Walt Chappell, an elected member of the Kansas State Board of Education, used a slot on the public agenda to address the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, his shabby treatment by the board was one…
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Wichita school board: critics not welcome

A recent meeting of the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, provided insight as to the insularity of the board members and district staff, and as to how little meaningful discussion or debate takes place at board meetings. At the June 20th meeting, Dr. Walt Chappell, an elected member of the Kansas State Board of Education, used a slot on the public agenda to address the board about the upcoming budget. Chappell received a chilly reception -- to say the least -- from board president Connie Dietz. Chappell has been outspoken in his criticism of the way…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday April 14, 2011

Kansas State Board of Education vs. Walt Chappell. There is another development in the tenure of Walt Chappell, Kansas State Board of Education member. Chappell holds some opinions that differ from the rest of the board, or at least the majority of the board, and they don't like Chappell expressing his opinions in newspaper columns, etc. The board would rather have a unified front, even if the position taken is incorrect. Of particular, the issue of the unspent Kansas school fund balances has been prominent. Kansas Watchdog reports on a recent meeting of the board where the issue of Chappell…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday January 18, 2011

Education reformer to speak in Kansas. Next week the Kansas Policy Institute hosts education reform expert Dr. Matthew Ladner at several events in Kansas. In Wichita, he will speak at a free breakfast event on Tuesday January 25th. Information on that event and those in Topeka and Overland Park can be found at Kansas Policy Institute Upcoming Events. Ladner, of the Goldwater Institute, will speak on the topic "Good to Great -- Lessons for Kansas from Florida's education revolution." Florida has been at the forefront of education reform in recent years, according to a study by EducationNext. Kansas, on the…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday October 27, 2010

Kansas politics in National Review. Today Denis Boyles takes on Kansas politics in National Review Online, starting with well-deserved criticism of Thomas Frank's book What's the Matter with Kansas? He also predicts that Republicans will sweep all the statewide election contests. But the real target of this article is the Kansas Supreme Court and our state's method of judicial selection. For those wishing to rely on the Kansas Commission on Judicial Performance as a source of reliable information about judges, Boyles describes it as a "Potemkin commission" that "spends $700,000 of taxpayers’ money annually running ads in support of retention…
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Teacher tenure reform starts

The system of teacher tenure has suffered a blow that could spread to other parts of the country. Washington D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee has fired 241 teachers for poor performance, are more are on notice. This is in a school system where, according to Wall Street Journal reporting, "Ms. Rhee said Friday she took over a system in 2007 where 95% of teachers were rated excellent and none terminated for poor performance. Yet, students posted dismal test scores." The system of teacher tenure in K through 12 education deserves examination, and if we believe that schools exist for the…
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Balance Kansas budget without raising sales tax

The following article is by Dr. Walt Chappell, a member of the Kansas State Board of Education. A version appeared in the Wichita Eagle. Chappell has offered testimony to the Kansas Legislature on many ways that schools can reduce spending and fulfill their mission at the same time. See Kansas school district consolidation, reorganization testimony heard and At House Appropriations, Chappell presents Kansas school funding ideas. On Saturday, a legislative update was held in Wichita. It is clear that serious budget decisions must be made in the next two weeks by our legislators. Fortunately, existing cash reserves, cost controls and…
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What’s missing from the Dennis editorial on Kansas school funds

Today's Wichita Eagle carries an editorial by Kansas School Board member David Dennis taking issue with claims that Kansas schools have money that can be spent. At issue is the claim made by the Kansas Policy Institute and Kansas School Board member Walt Chappell that Kansas schools have hundreds of millions in funds that could be put to use to meet the current shortfall. See Districts Have Funds To Meet Projected $100 Million Shortfall for an explanation. The editorial by Dennis explains some of the major funds and their purpose, and gives their balances on July 1. But that's not…
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Kansas news digest

News from alternative media around Kansas for December 14, 2009. EPA threatens more gov regs and pushes 'global warming' (Kansas Liberty) "The Environmental Protection Agency issued a ruling today in which it determined that greenhouses gasses, such as carbon dioxide, are harmful to public health. ... Derrick Sontag, Americans for Prosperity-Kansas state director, said he disagreed with Jackson’s statement that business leaders had requested additional government regulation of their carbon emissions." Will Copenhagen global-warming fiction influence Kansas? (Kansas Liberty) "World leaders and climate experts commenced their environmental discussion at the Copenhagen climate conference today, leaving global warming skeptics to wonder…
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Kansas school spending advocates: no alternative views welcome

On Monday and Tuesday, the Kansas House Appropriations Committee held hearings, and big topics were Kansas school funding and the Kansas budget. The reaction by school spending advocates to two speakers is illustrative of the highly divisive nature of public school operation and funding in Kansas. We need to label them school spending advocates -- and government schools at that -- because it is increasingly apparent that increasing school spending (or avoiding necessary reductions in spending) at the expense of all reason is their goal. Suggestions that schools should operate more efficiently or learn to live with a little less…
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At House Appropriations, Chappell presents Kansas school funding ideas

Topeka, Kansas -- At today's meeting of the Kansas House Appropriations Committee, Walt Chappell presented ideas on increasing efficiency and reducing cost in Kansas schools. Chappell, a Democrat from Wichita, was elected to the Kansas State Board of Education last year. He has 40 years varied experience as a businessman, former science teacher, college and university faculty, administrator, and education budget director. His testimony today was presented as his own, and he traveled to Topeka to present it at his own expense. Here is a summary of the ideas he presented to the members of the committee: First, remove restrictions…
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Kansas open records examined

Here's another outstanding investigative report by Paul Soutar of the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy. I have experienced some of the same obstacles that Soutar has encountered. Last year Wichita school district board member Lynn Rogers told me that record requests are a burden. Interim superintendent Martin Libhart's attitude was similarly hostile towards legitimate citizen requests for records. Indications are that new board president Barb Fuller and new superintendent John Allison have a better attitude towards records requests, and I hope that time proves this to be the case. The spirit is willing but the law is weak Paul…
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Lack of data, oversight raises questions on Kansas school spending

In the following report, investigative reporter Paul Soutar of the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy takes a look at school spending in Kansas. Particularly troubling is the decision to abandon an audit already in progress. A recent decision by the 2010 Commission to not complete an efficiency audit of K-12 schools in Kansas may undercut the case for increased spending on schools. In its 2005 session the Kansas Legislature increased state funding for school districts by more than $145 million for the following school year. The same bill also created the 2010 Commission and charged it to, in part,…
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