Thursday, June 01, 2006
Take Back Kansas
A large, enthusiastic crowd turned out last night at the Shawnee Civic Center in Johnson County for a rally to take back Kansas. Perhaps more important, many in the crowd signed up to volunteer to work on campaigns to replace the right-wing zealots who currently control the State School Board's majority with moderate candidates who reflect the values of most Kansans.
Moderate school board member Sue Gamble listed the board actions that outraged and energised so many of those who attended the rally -- the attacks on evolution, opt-in sex education, charter schools, vouchers, and the appointment of Bob Corkins as Education Commissioner.
"We must turn our outrage, and our anger, into action," said Gamble.
Public education and church state separation, which really means religious liberty, said Boo Tyson of the MAINstream Coalition are the key issues in state school board races where four of the six-member far right school board majority that has so embarrassed Kansas are up for election.
Gary Brunk of Kansas Action for Children said that great nations make public investments that favor the common good. He noted the important contributions to the strength of the country from such public investments as land grant universities, the GI Bill, and the interstate highway system.
Dick Morrisey of the Kansas Alliance for Education said his group plans to raise $250 thousand dollars to support moderate candidates in the upcoming school board election.
Kathy Cook, from Kansas Families United for Public Education, and Lori Messinger, a KU professor of Social Welfare, also lent their support to efforts to wrest control of the State School Board from the hands of religious fundamentalists who are out of step with the majority of Kansans.
After recounting the story of how current board president Steve Abrams, the leader of the right wing faction, told an audience that people must ultimately choose between belief in evolution and the Bible, moderator Mary O'Halloran, a former nun, spoke for many in the audience when she said, "How dare they tell us what to believe. The last time I checked, the grace of God was free, and available to everyone.