Thursday, May 11, 2006
Patzer Invites (More) Ridicule
Citizens received a letter or letters from M. Brad Patzer of Neodesha asking for money and votes. Patzer is running for the State Board of Education seat that his mother-in-law, Iris VanMeter of Thayer, now holds.
The two-page letter makes it clear that Patzer would vote as she did. He supports the anti-Darwin science standards the board adopted against the advice of its own science advisory group. The action again subjected Kansas to criticism and ridicule from mainstream scientists and scientific organizations worldwide. A vote for Patzer would be a vote to continue this destructive and embarrassing policy, which uses religious criteria to determine standards for the state's public schools.
Patzer's letter also panders to conservatives opposed to spending more on schools by assuring recipients that he opposes higher taxes. The State Board of Education has no power to levy taxes. That's the Legislature's job. The board can't raise or lower the amount of money the state spends on the public schools. To suggest otherwise, as his letter does, misinforms the public and implies a promise that cannot be kept.
Fortunately, Jana Shaver of Independence will be on the primary ballot as well. The current president of the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees, Shaver has broad experience in the public schools as a teacher and a curriculum developer. She pledges to "demand excellence from the professionals charged with developing curriculum standards," which means she would respect the advice of scientists in writing standards for teaching science in Kansas classrooms.