Friday, July 21, 2006
Common Sense Kansans
"Forget the headlines around the country from wacko Fred Phelps and his funeral-protesting church group, and the headlines made when the Global Flyer garnered worldwide attention from its base in Salina," writes Ann Charles, editor and publisher of The Parsons Sun, in southeast Kansas. "Kansas made more ears perk up on the world stage during the past couple of years because of the policy fiascoes from its Board of Education."
Think creationism, intelligent design or anti-evolution. Toss in a hefty dose of the board's opposition to sex education and no other headlines concerning Kansas brought about a bigger flood of criticism, ridicule and commentary.
Kansans are tired of it, too. With five of the board's 10 seats up for election, this once little-known position in politics is a hot seat in the Aug. 1 primary. And because four of the five positions are held by social conservatives, voter interest can effect a much-needed change.
Brad Patzer is the social conservative vying for the Southeast Kansas seat. He is also the son-in-law of Iris Van Meter, our board member who rubber-stamped everything that spewed from the mouth of board radical Connie Morris. The fact that Patzer moved to Kansas just a year ago, and his mother-in-law decided to not run for reelection shortly after, is surely more than just coincidence.
So where does he stand on the issues? A written statement on science reads, "Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs ..."
The phrases "against common sense" and "patent absurdity" are why there are so many people willing to put their names on the ballot in this race. The majority of Kansans do not agree and are up in arms.
Patzer also totally ignores the dramatic progress in bringing down teen pregnancy rates, which are the lowest since records were first kept in the 1940s. Instead of further building on that he wants to take sex education out of the classroom so parents can deal with it. The problem is thattoo many parents weren't dealing with it. And as for teaching abstinence, already 75 percent of Kansas school districts do that.
The Kansas BOE has made enough negative news around the world. The members' focus should be on education, not religion. It is up to "common sense" Kansans to make sure that happens.