Thursday, November 09, 2006


Limping Forward

A reader, SC, who has been a leader of the fight to defend science education in Kansas had this reaction to RSR's optimistic take on the election. He makes a number of important points. Here's what he had to say:

I think that I disagree – one thing that is clearly wrong with Kansas is still how we handle education. We need to temper our celebrations today with the knowledge that there is absolutely nothing to stop the bizarre swings in the State Board of Education from continuing to occur. Before 1999, there were years of gridlock, when the State Board was divided 5 – 5 between the moderates and the conservatives. At this time most of the citizens of Kansas could not tell you who was on the State Board. After the international fiasco of the young earth inspired creationist science standards in 1999, we hand an election (2000) in which the moderates regain a majority and yet somehow in 2004 and 2005 the State Board was able to engage in wide ranging ludicrous activities (opt-in education, unqualified leadership and micromanaging a variety of curriculum standards) that resulted in the pseudo scientific hearings on evolution and intelligent designed inspired curriculum standards. That range of activities has made the work of the State Board seem irrelevant to the citizens of Kansas.

Anyone who has attended Board meetings knows that John Bacon's performance as a board member has been utterly inadequate, frequently bordering on incompetent. Don Wiess, his opponent, is highly qualified with demonstrated competence and yet we cannot seem to get him elected to the board. Ken Willard, a supposed education leader, regularly makes fun of individuals with advanced degrees (particularly from Kansas institutions) sending a clear message about Kansas education and life long learning. Jack Wempe is highly qualified with demonstrated competence and yet we cannot seem to get him elected to the board.

As we limp forward with a six to four moderate majority on a ten member Board, it is clear that this system is broken; perhaps broken beyond repair. We need to look at systemic change that will open the system up to highly competent people who are supported in their work to improve education at all levels, for all students. These changes must be accomplished within the next year so that we do not continue in this endless, non progressive, vicious cycle, sacrificing the education of a full generation of children.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?