Wednesday, August 02, 2006



School children and their parents won a tremendous victory in the Kansas primary election yesterday.

Janet Waugh, the only moderate incumbent on the state school board facing re-election, beat creationist stealth candidate Jesse Hall by a wide margin in District 1. She will retain her seat as will the three other members of the moderate minority -- Sue Gamble, Bill Wagnon, and Carol Rupe -- who were not up for election this year.

Out west, in the state's 5th School Board District, moderate Republican Sally Cauble won a narrow, hard-fought victory over far right incumbent Connie Morris. Cauble will face moderate Democrat Tim Cruz in the November general election. The victor in that race will add one more moderate voice to the state school board.

In District 9, moderate Republican Jana Shaver won a comfortable victory over right-winger Brad Patzer who sought to replace his mother-in-law, Iris Van Meter, on the school board. Shaver will face moderate Democrat Kent Runyan in the general election. The election of either Shaver or Runyan in November will give moderates a majority on the state board.

That means the intelligent design inspired science standards voted by the right-wing majority last year will not go into effect. It will prompt Education Commissioner Bob "Heckuva Job" Corkins to begin looking for work. Perhaps, Corkins won't wait to be fired. He may well decide to resign in order to spend more time with his family. That might mean the process of rebuilding the Kansas State Department of Education after a disastrous series of resignations by professional staff could begin.

Above all, it means that opponents of public education will no longer be in charge of Kansas schools.

Unfortunately, Harry McDonald, hampered by being in a three-way race did not defeat right-winger John Bacon. This is a big disappointment. However, moderate supporters of public schools and real science education have another opportunity to defeat Bacon in November.

Moderate Don Weiss, a Democrat, is running in the general election.

Likewise, Donna Viola, also caught in a three-way race was unable to defeat right-wing incumbent Ken Willard in District 7. However, moderates will get another shot at Willard in November when he goes up against Democrat Jack Wempe.

Moderates must not be fooled into sitting on the laurels in the coming months. We must not allow ourselves to be satisfied by a narrow one-vote majority on the board. We need to go out, raise money and win both elections in November.

The right-wing understands that this is a long-term fight. They didn't give up when they lost the election in 2000, and they won't give up now.

Moderates need to do everything we can to take out Bacon and Willard in November.

We will face another election in just two years when three of the current four-member moderate minority are up for re-election. The radical right will be ready with money and candidates when that day comes.

Will we?


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