The Future of Public Education in Kansas

The Future of Education in Kansas

Public education has a long tradition in the U.S., having first germinated in Thomas Jefferson’s early advocacy. From its very beginnings the objective of free and universal public education went beyond mere learning to include social efficiency, civic virtue, and development of character. And in the formative days of Kansas “The Territorial Legislature believed education was key to the state’s growth and development, since a literate and skilled citizenry could help build business and industry.”

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Court Ruling on School Finance

Don Hineman Visits with Press Corps Folling Court Decision on Funding Education

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled last week that the current method of funding public schools is unconstitutional, which I had predicted when the block grant funding mechanism was enacted during the 2015 legislative session. The court gave the legislature until June 30 to replace the faulty system with another which will ensure relatively equal educational opportunity for all Kansas school children.

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Redefining Public Education in Kansas

Governor Brownback and others want to revise the formula, calling it too complicated and unworkable. I believe the formula is complex because what it is designed to accomplish is complex. The authors of the school funding formula may not have had the Rose Standards in mind back in 1992 as they crafted and later refined the formula, but I believe the formula is in fact in harmony with the objective of the Rose Standards.

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Court Decision Regarding School Funding

The decision is the second part of a two-part decision arising out of a lawsuit filed five years ago, claiming that the state was not living up to its constitutional requirement of “suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state”. The first part of the legal challenge dealt with the question of equity, or whether all school children had equal educational opportunity.

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