Friday, September 16, 2005


Then, there is Bob Corkins

The Kansas Board of Education announced yesterday it will interview five candidates to fill the open position of Commissioner of Education. Four of those candidates have experience in education:

Then, there is Bob Corkins.

Yesterday, Red State Rabble reported that Connie Morris, one of six right-wingers on the board, complained that professional education expertise may have been too much weight. Well, yeah. Why give education experience any weight when selecting an Education Commissioner?

Morris thinks business, civic, and political skills have been given short shrift by the professionals at the National Association of State Boards of Education which was hired to consult on the serch.

So, who is Bob Corkins?

Corkins, the executive director of Kansas Legislative Education and Research Inc., has been described as a longtime conservative operative who provides research and policy positions for legislators.

This summer, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that in order to fulfill the Constitutional requirement of providing a suitable education for Kansas school children the state must approve $142 million in additional funding for education in the state.

While supporters of public education across the state welcomed the ruling, Corkins wrote, in a June 5 letter, available on the right-wing Kansas Taxpayers Network website:

The most troubling and challenging demand from this week's Montoy decision is not its call for another $142 million. If the court's decision is blindly carried out, Montoy would create a deeply disturbing consequence for the future of government in Kansas. This is not the sort of lawsuit that ends with the loser paying damages. It's a ruling that may never end, each year taking more rights away from all citizens... even those citizens who embrace the decision.

And, in a clue as to just what sort of advocate for education we could expect Corkins to be, he went on to write:

Once we conclude that the constitution requires a minimum quality of education outcomes, we have to conclude that our financial duty becomes whatever
it takes to achieve that quality.

Why worry about meeting minimum quality standards, when it's sooo much easier to just lower the standards?

If Corkins is, perhaps, a bit underqualified in terms of education and professional experience, at least he possesses the virtue of being refreshingly modest:

“With all humility," says Corkins of himself, "I don’t think there is a candidate better qualified.”

Oh yeah, we almost forgot, Corkins is an advocate of vouchers, too.


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