Monday, December 19, 2005


How Do You Spell "Discrimination?"

In our experience, superintendents of schools and school administrators are usually quite deferential to elected school board members. The extreme nature of decisions coming out of the Kansas State Board of Education is beginning to change that equation, however. Superintendents from across the state are beginning to conclude they can no longer remain silent and deferential, as in the past. Increasingly, in Kansas they are speaking their minds.

Here's an example of this new turn of events from the Clay Center Dispatch that should be required reading for anyone trying to understand what's the matter with Kansas. At a meeting held Dec. 6 between Martin and school administrators, USD-379 Superintendent Mike Folks bluntly told Martin, "You represent your constituents. That's us. You need to understand where we are coming from."

Here's a telling exchange:

Several local officials questioned funding allocation and admission policies [if the board majority's proposals to expand charter schools and offer vouchers is approved, RSR]

"Speech therapy, occupational therapy... how will those services be provided to voucher students? How will parochial schools decide which students to accept? Can they turn away voucher students from different religions? How do you spell `discrimination'?" said Ed Koehler.

Martin could not answer.

"I'm not sitting on the state board, Kathy. You are," Ed Koehler, director of special education, said.

Martin, it seems, never bothers to read the policies -- such as intelligent design -- she votes for, but she knows what she thinks:
But Martin reiterated her position that vouchers will give parents more choice."We want to help students and parents. Not just the public schools,"Martin said.

Martin, it seems to us, should really being serving on the board or advisory committee of a private school -- not the state board of a public school system.


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