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Feb 1, 2017 by

Full Senate to vote soon on Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education.

Senator Jerry Moran has indicated that he will vote for confirmation of Betsy DeVos.  Before he does, call him or email him and tell him the following:

  • Republican Senate colleagues like Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski have indicated that Betsy DeVos will be BAD FOR RURAL SCHOOLS.  Kansas is a largely rural state.
  • Betsy DeVos is unqualified, facing accusations of plagiarism and has misstepped on basic issues like Special Education.
  • Having Betsy DeVos run the U.S. Department of Education would be like appointing a former official from PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) to run the Kansas Livestock Association.  Her experience and personal agenda are incongruous with the position she is seeking.

Tell Senator Moran to stand with Kansas public schools and to vote NO on Betsy DeVos!

CLICK HERE to contact Senator Moran now! ALSO, call him and leave a message at one of his offices.

Phone: (202) 224-6521  Washington D.C. Office

Phone: (785) 628-6401 Hays, KS

Phone: (785) 539-8973 Manhattan, KS

Phone: (620) 232-2286 Pittsburg, KS

Phone: (316) 631-1410 Wichita, KS

Phone: (913) 393-0711 Olathe, KS

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Licensure, Purchasing, DUE PROCESS, and DeVos

Feb 1, 2017 by

Post Highlights

  • SB 76 seeks to create fee caps and require reciprocity with other states.
  • Of greatest concern for KNEA is blanket reciprocity with other states where requirements and standards for obtaining a teaching license are far lower than in Kansas.
  • KNEA believes that the agency best equipped for ensuring licensing requirements is the State Board of Education.
  • HB 2148 seeks to centralize procurement through the State Department of Administration.
  • Bi-Partisan support growing for bill (HB 2179) to restore due process rights for teachers.

Betsy DeVos

CALL SENATORS MORAN AND ROBERTS AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO STAND WITH KANSAS PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

1-855-882-6229

Senate Committee Considers Changes to All State Licenses

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee today held a hearing on Senate Bill 76 which would cap fees collected for all occupational licenses, waive those fees for certain people, and require automatic reciprocity of licenses with other states and units of government.

Supporters of the bill generally expressed their support for the provisions waiving licensure fees for low-income and military persons without addressing the other aspects of the bill.

KNEA joined a long list of opponents including the State Board of Education, the College of Education at Emporia State University, USA/Kansas, the Kansas School Superintendents Association, the Board of Healing Arts, The Pharmacy Board, and the Board of Cosmetology.

All the opponents expressed concern about the fee caps and fee waivers. Fee waivers had some support but only if there was funding provided by the state to ensure that licensing agencies can efficiently do the work necessary to make sure candidates qualify for licensure. Fee caps were opposed often because in some professions higher fees are used to fund continuing education programs.

Of greatest concern was the requirement that licensing agencies would have to accept a license from another state or municipality without regard to the actual standards applied by the other state. In education, state standards for a teaching license vary widely around the country. Kansas has held license applicants to very high standards and would not be well-served if forced to license anyone who held a license regardless of where that license was issued.

Further, this legislation usurps the authority of the State Board of Education to manage the licensure of the education profession.

Committee member Sen. Rob Olson (R-Olathe) suggested that the bill be sent to a subcommittee so that it could be more thoroughly examined. Chairman Jacob LaTurner seemed to agree and announced that the committee would not rush this issue and instead take their time for fully examine all the ramifications.


Hearing on Procurement Consolidation

The House K-12 Education Budget Committee held a hearing today on HB 2148, a bill that would require all school districts to handle procurement of goods through a centralized service in the State Department of Administration. Generally, the Department looks at what items are to be purchased and then negotiates agreements with vendors to provide those items.

The Alvarez and Marsal Efficiency study suggested that this had the potential to save money on school expenditures, however, the study also suggested that a number of changes would need to be made in the Department to handle the additional work that would come from such consolidation.

There are other considerations to take into account. For example, local school districts seek to be good partners with the local community and often buy locally. Local businesses will often try to beat the price available through the state system. Central procurement could have the unintended consequence of harming local businesses.


Bipartisan Bill to Restore Teacher Due Process!

House Bill 2179 is not a committee bill. It is a sponsored bill meaning legislators sign on as co-sponsors and their names are listed on the bill.

House Bill 2179, which would restore the teacher due process law that was repealed at 4:00 am without ever having a hearing in 2014, has been introduced and co-sponsored by 45 Representatives: Crum, Stogsdill, Alcala, Arnberger, Ballard, Bishop, Burroughs, Carlin, Carmichael, Curtis, Deere, Elliott, Ellis, Finney, Frownfelter, Gartner, Good, Henderson, Highberger, Hodge, Holscher, Kessinger, Koesten, Kuether, Lusk, Lusker, Murnan, Neighbor, Ohaebosim, Ousley, Parker, Phelps, Pittman, Ruiz, Sawyer, A. Smith, Tarwater, Terrell, Trimmer, Victors, Ward, Weigel, Whipple, Winn and Wolfe Moore.

Is your Representative on the list of co-sponsors? If yes, please take the time to send a message of thanks.

Now we wait for a hearing in the House Education Committee.


DeVos Nomination on the Razor’s Edge: Where’s Jerry Moran?

While Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education has been moved out of committee on a 12-11 vote, she is now subject to a vote of the full Senate for confirmation. Two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have announced that they will not support the DeVos nomination. Along with 48 Democrats, that puts the numbers at 50-50; breaking ties goes to the Vice President, Mike Pence.

That means we need more Republicans to put schools ahead of Trump’s agenda. We wonder where Jerry Moran will be when that vote takes place.

And that’s your job right now! Jerry Moran needs to know that DeVos is bad for Kansas schools. Call Moran’s office and tell him to put Kansas ahead of partisanship and vote NO on Betsy DeVos. Let Jerry Moran know that Betsy DeVos is bad for rural communities and wrong for special education!

CALL SENATORS MORAN AND ROBERTS AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO STAND WITH KANSAS PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

1-855-882-6229

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Take Action on Betsy DeVos Confirmation

Jan 27, 2017 by

It’s working. You’ve sent more than 800,000 emails to senators, and called their offices more than 32,000 times, demanding that they reject Betsy DeVos’ nomination to be secretary of education.

Now the Senate Education Committee has delayed their vote. Senators are being inundated with your emails and calls, and they’re looking more closely at DeVos’ clear and demonstrated lack of knowledge of public education, and at her concerning ethics disclosures.

If you haven’t taken action yet, now is the time. If you’ve already contacted your senators, it’s time to contact them again. Here’s the plan:

Step 1: Email your senators. Keep up the drumbeat that DeVos is completely unqualified to be put in charge of our nation’s schools.

Step 2: Call your senators at 1-855-882-6229. Make sure they feel the pressure in Washington and in their district offices.

Step 3: Share this post on Facebook. Spread the word that you don’t want DeVos to be confirmed, and ask your friends to contact their senators, too.

CLICK HERE to read more.

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4 Reasons to Oppose Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education

Jan 13, 2017 by

 

by Brian Washington

Take Action ›

Tell Your Senators: Vote NO on Betsy DeVos for Ed Secretary (Remember to use private contact information and email addresses NOT school district, state or government issued email) Tell your KS Senator to VOTE NO on Betsy Devos

Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, will get a hearing before senators this week (Wednesday, January 17th).

Let’s take a closer look at this surprising pick—a lobbyist and political donor with no education experience. DeVos has never served as a teacher, a school administrator, or a school board member.

DeVos’ track record of using millions of her own money to support for-profit charters and private-school voucher programs that divert taxpayer dollars away from public schools signals to parents and educators that they need to be on guard.

DeVos has been described as a “four-star general in the privatization movement.” Below are four reasons why.

1. DeVos has spent millions to promote school vouchers

DeVos and her husband, a member of the family that made its fortune selling Amway products, contributed millions of dollars to voucher campaigns across the country. In 2000, in their home state of Michigan, they spent $5 million on an unsuccessful bid to remove the state’s constitutional ban on vouchers. Sixty-eight percent of voters rejected the DeVos’ voucher scheme.

2. DeVos designed Detroit’s failed charter-school system

DeVos has been described as “one of the architects of Detroit’s charter school system”—a system that even pro-charter forces describe as “one of the biggest school reform disasters in the country.” Charter schools are privately managed, taxpayer-funded schools exempted from some rules applicable to all other taxpayer-funded schools.

The unchecked growth of Detroit’s charters has outpaced the student population and is failing the city’s kids, who are among the poorest in the nation. According to a recent report, 8 in 10 charters had academic achievement below the state average in both reading and math.

The city’s glut of charters has also created a situation where the competition to recruit students—and the public dollars that follow them—is extremely intense. Charter companies have resorted to offering cash bonuses, laptops, and iPads to families to get students to enroll. Educators say the competition and the limited amount of resources available have created an environment where very few students can thrive.

3. DeVos supported legislation allowing failing charters to expand

In 2011, the DeVos family successfully lobbied to lift Detroit’s cap on charter schools and managed to kill off a provision that would have prevented failing charters from expanding. After the cap was lifted, several charter companies opened up new schools even though they already operated schools deemed to be failing.

4. DeVos opposes oversight for charters

In 2016, the Great Lakes Education Project, which is founded and funded by the DeVos family, was described as being instrumental in getting state politicians to kill a plan to create a citywide commission in Detroit to regulate the opening and closing of charter schools. City leaders said the commission would have provided oversight, set standards on how to open charters and close the bad ones.

TAKE ACTION: 

Contact your U.S. Senators and tell them to reject the DeVos nomination. Tell lawmakers that educators believe all students have the right to a public education that helps them reach their full potential, and their opportunity to succeed should not depend on winning a charter-school lottery, getting into a private school, or living in the right zip code. Our kids deserve the best America has to offer—including an education secretary who understands that all students deserve a quality public education.

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