Monday, November 06, 2006
Wichita Eagle Endorses Wempe
From The Wichita Eagle: "Jack Wempe of Lyons has our strong endorsement for the board seat in this district, which covers much of central Kansas, including Harvey, Reno and McPherson counties and extending south to Kingman, Pratt and Harper counties."
Wempe, who describes himself as a "conservative Democrat," is a dream candidate for this position. He is almost overqualified, having amassed a long and impressive record as a teacher, principal, superintendent, state legislator and chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents.
He knows education inside and out -- but still recently crisscrossed the state, visiting dozens of school districts to get a feel for what's actually going on in schools.
Wempe, a pragmatic consensus builder, is just the grown-up, steady presence the board needs right now. He pledged to rebuild the state board's tattered credibility and said he would work to bring members together and "make a strong effort to be bipartisan."
Wempe would also reopen the lines of communication with school districts and encourage innovation and experimentation with "best practices" in learning.
Incumbent Republican Ken Willard of Hutchinson does not deserve re-election. He has been a key swing vote in the evolution wars, which made Kansas' education standards a laughingstock in the nation. Willard has pursued some laudable goals in office, such as working to free up legislative funds for all-day kindergarten.
But he can't begin to match Wempe's qualifications and knowledge.
Voters wanting to return the state board to commonsense priorities should elect Wempe.