Thursday, October 05, 2006


Oh, oh!

Well, it seems the Kansas Board of Education was so utterly absorbed in writing creationist doubts about evolution into the science curriculum that they forgot to pay attention to one eensy weensy little thing.

They forgot to keep an eye on Adequate Yearly Progress tests required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. As a result, the Johnson County Sun reports that AYP "scores nose dived in Kansas this year."

At a League of Women Voters political forum at Johnson County Community College on Sept. 7, John Bacon, a leader of the right-wing majority faction that that dropped the ball, didn't want to talk about how many districts failed.

"What we're trying to do is make sense out of the information that we get and not overreact," Bacon said.

Many Kansans have been hoping against hope for nearly two years now that something the board did would make sense, but it doesn't seem to have happened yet.

Don Weiss, a moderate who is running against Bacon in the 3rd District wasn't so reticent. He said up to a third of Kansas school districts may fail to meet federal expectations and, according to the Sun, laid the failure on Bacon's doorstep.

"I find it hard to believe that a change of this magnitude could occur in a vacuum," Weiss said.

To be fair to the right-wing majority, of which Bacon is a leader, they didn't spend all their time writing their fundamentalist religious beliefs into the science standards. They also tried, but failed, to implement a voucher plan -- they like to call them scholarships. Likewise, they tried to privatize public schools by taking the power to approve charter schools from local districts, where it resides now, and giving it to themselves.

They did succeed in making it harder for children to get into sex education classes by adopting an "opt in" system.

Oh yeah, they also hired Bob "Heckuva Job" Corkins as Education Commissioner even though he had no training or experience other than being a anti-tax lobbyist. That hiring convinced Dr. Alexa Posny, then acting Commissioner of Education and a candidate for the appointment, to leave the Department of Education for another job.

Had Dr. Posny, a nationally recognized expert in No Child Left Behind, been hired as commissioner instead of Corkins, we might not be facing this crisis now.


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