Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Reader Report: The Hays "Take Back Kansas" Rally

A reader sends this report from the Hays "Take Back Kansas" Rally this past Wednesday:

Once again, Hays was the site of organized protest against the current state board of education majority. In contrast to last November’s chilly reception of Connie Morris and Bob Corkins on their state-funded western Kansas Roadshow, Wednesday’s gathering at the “Take Back Kansas” rally was warm and welcoming to the Kansas Alliance for Education and its affiliates.

The Hays High School lecture hall hosted a panel of speakers led by Sue Gamble, a moderate Republican member of the Kansas State Board of Education. Ms. Gamble noted that the current state board of education has lost its focus on core issues facing Kansas education such as the need for a massive upgrade in reading skills for our world’s quickly changing economy, and the necessity of abstract, analytical thought that extends far beyond rote memorization and calculation. Instead, the state board has focused on narrow ideological wedge issues such as intelligent design, sex education, vouchers, and pornography.

Don Hineman of the Kansas Alliance for Education was proud to announce his group’s endorsement of Sally Cauble (R ) and Tim Cruz (D) for the District 5 State Board of Education for the upcoming August 1 primary elections. He spoke of the need for massive amounts of fund raising for these candidates due to the fact that these Kansas school board elections are of great interest to right-wing groups across the country. The bi-partisan KAE is unique among other Kansas political organizations in that it exists solely to focus on state school board races.

Although Boo Tyson’s sentiments were expressed in her softly-southern voice, they resonated well with an audience that seeks to restore some sanity to our state board of education. Boo spoke of the grass-roots history of the MAINstream, how it grew from a neighborhood of concerned women to a movement to be reckoned with in Kansas politics

Kathy Cook of Kansas Families United for Public Education minced no words at all in declaring the hiring of Bob Corkins to be the most dangerous move made by our radical state board majority, and that Corkins’ ideology mirrors that of the majority of the board. The hemorrhaging of top-level personnel from the KSDE is a clear signal that there are serious issues with the KSDE leadership. Ms. Cook spoke of the fair funding lawsuit for which KFUPE submitted two amica curiae, as well as of the need for state legislators to do their job.

Craig Grant of the KAE emphasized that all of us must be involved in the process, as volunteers and contributors, in order for success in these elections.

Most of the crowd stuck around after the rally ended to discuss other issues with the speakers and candidates, and to make those interpersonal connections that will provide a scaffold for building a highly effective organization.

This rally wouldn’t have happened without the local volunteers. Hays is truly blessed to have the talents & energies of these committed individuals, and their time, talent, and organizational skills will be invaluable in the months to come!


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