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Not all bills are worth passing
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To the editor:

We need common-sense, moderate, independent thinking candidates. 

Please type Kansas Senate Education Committee 02/17/2022 into the search window and watch the six-minute segment of the hearing on so-called parental rights bills beginning at timestamp 46:00. It is a good insight into the workings of our state Legislature. 

The bills would have required our schools to post and maintain listings of all instructional materials used by all teachers in all classes throughout the entire school year, listings of all teacher professional development materials and the procedure used to document, review and approve instructional materials and activities. Any school failing to fully comply by the required date would have educational funds withheld. 

In the video, Senator Alicia Straub said the bills were justified because she was requested to provide a list of past classes and test scores when she enrolled her own home-schooled student in a public virtual school. Straub said that she did not want to provide all of the requested information, so she did not. 

Senator Dinah Sykes, asked for concrete examples of Kansas parents who were unable to receive this information. She said that she just retrieved online this same information from her child’s school. Mike O’Neal from the Kansas Policy Institute had no concrete examples, but said the KPI was working to reduce the perception that the information was not available. Sykes held up KPI’s propaganda sheet that promoted the perception that the information was not available by using misleading data. O’Neal said that Sykes revealing this sheet (somehow) made his point for him. Matt Beienburg from the Goldwater Institute said he had an example from Rhode Island. When Sykes reminded him that she had asked for Kansas examples, he stopped talking. 

Schools cannot award diplomas to transfer students without verifying their previous credits. Straub’s use of transfer student records to justify a mandate that our 35,000 teachers must work to ensure our 1,368 schools post and maintain a list of every instructional material they used makes no sense. It is condescending for her to say she knows these bills would benefit teachers when teachers themselves say they would not. 

If the KPI truly worked to show schools do not withhold information, that is what their documents would state. At Sykes showed, they instead publish documents that use deceive-by-omission data to imply the opposite. O’Neil stating this made his point makes no sense. 

Beienburg trying to justify the bills by referring to a non-Kansas example when he was specifically asked for a Kansas example makes no sense. 

These bills and others were the start of the first “we propose outlandish so that we eventually get simply bad” process that resulted in the watered-down Senate Bill 58. On Apr. 28, the house voted to sustain its veto. 

O’Neal said, “It is a virtual certainty that these issues will play a major role in upcoming primary and general election races across the country and in Kansas.” Because our schools are the largest expense of the state general fund, they are the biggest target of they-are-so-wrong-and-so-bad political propaganda platform messaging. 

Our local legislators sincerely care for our schools. But when it comes to supporting our teachers and schools, every one of them voted with the political party bosses and dark money propaganda platforms. 

In the 2022 Kansas Educator Engagement and Retention Survey, teachers rated society’s view of the teaching profession as the most negative challenge they face. The propaganda platforms are succeeding and our local legislators are helping them do so. 

There is nothing conservative about these votes. They are senseless extremism. Watch the video. We need to vote for common sense, moderate, independent thinking candidates. Otherwise, our vote is just one more vote against our schools.


John Sturn