Anti-Common Core Bill First Up Tomorrow!

Mar 21, 2016 by

Anti-standards Bill First Up for Debate in House Tomorrow

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Anti-Standards bill as amended by Rep. Amanda Grosserode on House Floor for debate tomorrow.

Anti-Standards bill as amended by Rep. Amanda Grosserode will be on House Floor for debate tomorrow.

House Bill 2292, the newly minted anti-common core bill, will be the first bill up for debate on the House floor tomorrow.

While the bill is not nearly as offensive as the original Bradford version that would have banned AP, IB, SAT, ACT, and most everything schools are using in Kansas today, it still reverses all the hard work educators have done since 2010 to implement the Kansas College and Career Ready standards. The bill would still prohibit new standards from being aligned in any way to the common core or to any other “federal” standards.

Additionally, this bill appears to strip some authority for educational standards from the State Board of Education by requiring legislative review of any new standards prior to implementation.

The State Board of Education is charged with oversight of public education in Kansas. The legislature should not have veto power over the actions of the SBOE.

Contact your Representative tonight and urge a NO vote on HB 2292. Click here to send a message.

Plowing Through Bills

The House and Senate both had full agendas of bills to debate today but serious work had to wait until after a ceremony honoring the Kansas City Royals as baseball’s world champions.

On the agenda of the House today were five bills of interest:

  • SB 168, A KPERS working after retirement bill, which was advanced on a voice vote,
  • SB 2724, a KPERS bill dealing with 409A and 457(f) plans as related to final average salary was amended to include some data gathering on accrued leaves and advanced on a vote of 75-34,
  • SB 388, requiring a consistent Regents policy on the awarding of CLEP exam credits was advanced on a voice vote,
  • SB 323, the Jason Flatt Act requiring suicide prevention training for educators was amended by adding the seclusion and restraint bill, HB 2534 and advanced on a voice vote, and
  • HB 2483, a postsecondary career technical education performance-based funding bill was passed on a voice vote.

On the Senate side there were two bills of interest to KNEA:

  • HB 2441 establishing a language assessment program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing was advanced on a voice vote, and
  • SB 512, Sen. Masterson’s funding equity bill that sweeps the extraordinary needs fund and takes 1.45% of funding from all school districts to be redistributed to meet the equity requirement of the Supreme Court. At the end of a relatively short debate, this bill was sent back to Committee.

Joint Meeting to Grill Folks on What to Do

Senator Masterson compares Supreme Court equity ruling to "holding a gun" to the head of KS children.

Senator Masterson compares Supreme Court equity ruling to “holding a gun” to the head of KS children.

During a recess of both chambers, a joint committee convened to grill folks on what to do about the equity decision.

Questions were directed primarily to Toby Crouse, the attorney hired by the legislature to represent their interests, and Commissioner Randy Watkins. Much of the questioning seemed to center on who should be responsible for the distribution of school funding. Masterson asked why the legislature should not simply give the money to the State Department and allow the Department to distribute it in such a way as to be both equitable and adequate. Watson said the Department did not have the capacity to do that to which Masterson responded that it was not a question of capacity but of the appropriate place to make such decisions.

There is beginning to be some speculation in the press that the way things are going under the dome, it looks like they may have to extend the session (the regular session is supposed to end by this Friday) or convene a special session. Of course, during an election year, it would be difficult to schedule a special session. After all, legislators would rather be on the campaign trail than sitting in special session.

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Transparency (n.) – when Kansas extremist legislators admit to open attacks on public education.

Mar 10, 2016 by

silentHouse Ed Returns to Their Extremist Agenda Tomorrow; Plans Include Stripping Due Process Rights from Higher Ed Instructors!

House Education Committee Chairman Ron Highland (R-Wamego) announced publicly today that he will bring SB 136 back into committee for a hearing tomorrow. This made many of us curious given that SB 136 contains only current law on collective bargaining – it is the bill that contained the education community’s PNA proposal that passed in another bill.

Now why would a committee have a hearing on a bill that already passed, albeit under a different number? The only reason is that one intends a “gut and go.” Highland, under questioning from Rep. Valdenia Winn (D-Kansas City), admitted that he intended to gut SB 136 and insert the contents of HB 2531, the anti-due process bill. So this bill will be coming out of the House Education Committee yet again tomorrow.

But in addition, we’ve just learned that he will also bring back HB 2292, the bill repealing Kansas learning standards! Look for amendments to this bill and then sending it back to the floor.

CLICK HERE to Keep the Pressure On! Don’t be silenced!


True to Her Word, Senator Lynn Pushes Anti-teacher Bill out of Committee

Waging her war on Kansas teachers, Senator Julia Lynn (R-Olathe) railroaded Senator Jeff Melcher’s (R-Leawood) anti-teacher bill designed to stop collective bargaining for teachers in Kansas out of committee this morning. She had to cut off a Democratic senator from trying to make an amendment; she had to cut off KNEA General Counsel David Schauner’s response to a committee member’s question, but she got her way.

Senate Bill 469 would require the recertification of all teacher representative organizations every three years. This would be done via elections run by the Kansas Department of Labor.

Among the provisions specifically written to diminish teacher rights to representation are:

  • The Department of Labor would be required to conduct nearly 300 representation elections. If the department were unable to conduct all of these elections due to manpower constraints, those districts in which elections were not held would automatically be decertified. Teachers would be statutorily denied a representative for at least 12 months and lose their contract protections.
  • SB 469 mandates elections through the Department of Labor but requires the teachers to pay the Department for those elections – a classic “unfunded mandate.” Even if there was no challenge in the election, teachers would be billed by the Department of Labor for an unnecessary election.
  • Under this bill, representation would be denied unless one organization received more than 50% of the votes of all eligible voters. If people chose not to vote, it would essentially be counted as a vote for no representation. If the Senators on the Commerce Committee were held to the same super majority standard in their elections, not one would be serving in the Senate today – even the two who were unopposed in their last election! Those Senate seats would remain vacant until the next election, denying representation to all the voters in those districts.

Make no mistake about this bill. Its sole purpose is to deny teachers representation and ensure that collective bargaining cannot take place. The only proponents for the bill (other than Lynn, Melcher, and other anti-union, anti-teacher legislators) were the Kansas Policy Institute’s Dave Trabert, the Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity, and the Association of American Educators, an alleged teacher organization funded primarily by right wing foundations for the purpose of ending collective bargaining.

The Kansas AAE has successfully de-certified a few KNEA locals using the process currently in law and then left those teachers to fend for themselves at the bargaining table. Passage of SB 469 would assist KPI, AFP, and AAE in eliminating collective bargaining for nearly all teachers without having to do any work whatsoever.

Opposition to the bill came from all Kansas education organizations (KASB, KNEA, USA, KSSA), a number of private citizens, and other labor organizations.

The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration sometime next week.

Sen. Masterson Pulls SB 311 in Response to Overwhelming Public Criticism

Citing public outcry and bad press, Senator Ty Masterson (R-Andover) abruptly cancelled the hearing on SB 311 which would transfer education funding from the Department of Education to the Department of Administration. Masterson said it was impossible to have a rational discussion of the issue given the level of negative press. The hearing drew a large number of opponents ready to testify. There is enormous suspicion about the motives behind a bill that would take school funding out of the department controlled by the State Board of Education and shifting it to a department controlled by the Governor.

This should not be surprising given the number of attacks launched on schools, school administrators and board members, and teachers by this legislature.

This year we’ve seen serious consideration of HB 2457 transferring millions of dollars into unaccredited private schools via tax credits, SB 469 intended to destroy teacher organizations, HB 2292 eliminating Kansas education standards, and HB 2531 denying due process to community and technical college instructors.

And it’s not over.



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CONTACT YOUR SENATOR! VOTE NO ON HB 2096! Common Core Bill Voted Down

Mar 20, 2015 by

HB 2096 – the anti-public service bill – goes to the full Senate next week

Keep contacting those Senators!

The Senate Commerce Committee gutted House Bill 2096 and inserted into it the contents of SB 179, ending the Public Employee Relations Board and enacting severe limitations on collective bargaining rights for state and municipal employees, and Senate Bill 212, prohibiting all public employees from paying association or union dues via payroll deduction.

By putting these two anti-worker bills into the House bill, they successfully stop the House from any ability to have the bills heard in committee or ended. The House can only vote up or down on the bill on a motion to concur in the Senate changes. This end run around the legislative process is commonly known as railroading or ramrodding. It was used to pass the school finance bill that ends the current formula and cuts funding for most school districts.

This bill is the latest in the war on public employees being waged by conservatives in the Legislature. So far they have prohibited public employees from using payroll deduction for PAC contributions, ended fair dismissal rights for teachers, attempted to repeal the professional negotiations act, reclassified state employees to end fair dismissal rights, and now voted to dismantled protections in PEERA (bargaining for state and municipal employees) and ban payroll deduction for dues.

This bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration. If it passes the Senate, it will go to the House. We are almost out of time for consideration so the votes are likely to happen in the next couple days.

Make yourself heard!

Click here for a roster of Senators with phones and emails!

Phone them and leave a message. THEY MUST HEAR FROM KANSANS EVERYWHERE!

Once you have phoned, send an email.

Click here to access the KNEA Legislative email portal!

Talking points you might use:

  • I do not need big government to protect me from my own decisions. I work hard for my pay and I should get to decide for myself how to manage it.
  • HB 2096, as passed out of the Commerce Committee, prohibits me from making voluntary payroll deductions. How can government restrictions on my choices possibly be good policy?
  • Local communities and local governments should be free to make their own decisions about how to manage employee relations and payroll systems. HB 2096 undermines local control.
  • This bill is mean-spirited and unjustifiable. I ask you to stand up for the people who police our streets, fight fires, teach our children, and serve our state and community. VOTE NO on HB 2096.

House Committee Kills Common Core Repeal Bill

The House Education Committee met today to work HB 2292, the bill that would have immediately repealed all curriculum standards, end participation in the AP and IB programs and jeopardize Kansas participation in many other programs including the SAT’s National Merit Scholarships.

Rep. Amanda Grosserode (R-Lenexa) offered an amendment that would let the current standards stand until the State Board developed new ones in 2017 as part of the regular standards review process. The Grosserode amendment would also require that before any new standards were implemented they would need to be approved by both chambers of the Kansas Legislature.

Grosserode’s amendment was rejected by both those who support the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards and those demanding an immediate repeal of the standards.

Subsequent amendments by Rep. John Bradford (R-Lansing) were similar to the Grosserode amendment but without legislative approval. Those amendments failed as well.

Proponents of standards repeal repeatedly acknowledged that they did not have enough votes in the House for outright repeal tried repeatedly to soften the bill in an attempt to gain support.

After dispatching with the last Bradford amendment, the question was called on the underlying bill. The bill was defeated in committee.

Second turnaround approaches

For the most part, today marks the end of regular committee meetings. Next week, both chambers will be working to clear the backlog of bills that have come out of committee in anticipation of Wednesday, the day by which bills must have be acted upon by the second chamber.

They will likely adjourn on Wednesday leaving a couple of days for conference committees to hammer out differences until the full Legislature returns on March 30. They will be in session from then through potentially April 3, the “drop dead day” for bill consideration.

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Keep Those Notes Coming! Or Visit the Capitol Tomorrow!

Mar 18, 2015 by

Anti-Public Employee Bills Up Tomorrow Morning

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Julia Lynn had planned to work both SB 179, the bill gutting collective bargaining under PEERA, and SB 212, the bill banning the use of payroll deduction for public employee association or union dues.

This morning, in a committee room packed with public employee representatives and teachers in red shirts, Lynn chose only to work SB 179. And after a motion was made to pass the bill out of committee, Lynn announced they would take a “pause” and wait until tomorrow to vote and work SB 212.

The committee will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8:30 in room 548-N. At that time they will consider both bills.  There is some thought that they may be considering rolling both bills into one mega anti-public employee bill.

Can you think of a more patriotic way to spend a day of spring break than visiting the Capitol to hold legislators accountable? There were more than 25 teachers in the committee room this morning.

And if you can’t be at the Capitol, be sure to email the Committee.

Click here to send a message on HB 212.

House Ed Hears Fingerprinting/Background Check Expansion

The House Education Committee held a hearing on SB 70, a bill that would require all teachers to be fingerprinted and go through a KBI background check upon every license renewal and all other school employees to do so every five years.

Since 2002, all new teachers have been fingerprinted and subject to a background check in order to get a license. Current law also requires teachers licensed prior to 2002 to be fingerprinted and checked upon their next license renewal. Very few teachers, if any, have not completed this requirement.

While KNEA has no objection to background checks, we believe that repeating this every five years with fingerprinting is not necessary. The KBI Rap Back program is sufficient for notice to districts of licensed employees who subsequently are convicted of a crime. This bill would simply at $50 to the cost of a license renewal every five years. Interestingly, the “innovative school districts” are required to pay the cost under the bill while all other teachers must bear the cost personally.

The bill has passed the Senate and will likely be worked in the House Education Committee tomorrow.

Still to Come

The Senate Commerce Committee will be working SB 212 and SB 179 tomorrow morning. Both bills are harmful to public employees and opposed by KNEA.

The House Education Committee will work HB 2139, repealing in-state tuition for the children of undocumented aliens, tomorrow. On Friday they will meet at 10:30 am (pre-KU basketball) to work HB 2292, the bill that would end use of the common core standards, AP tests, and the International Baccalaureate.




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It’s Turnaround! What’s gone? What’s Where?

Mar 2, 2015 by

KNEA has been following, testifying on, and reporting here on a number of bills in the first half of the session. While generally speaking, if a bill has not passed its chamber of origin by Turnaround, it is considered dead for the year. There are some exceptions to this however.

Bills that were introduced in or referred to the House and Senate Federal and State Affairs, Senate Ways and Means, Senate Assessment and Taxation, House committees on Calendar and Printing, Appropriations, or Taxation are exempt from timelines. A common practice at Turnaround is “blessing” a bill. A bill that is in a non-exempt committee and has not been acted upon can be referred to an exempt committee and so kept alive into the second half of the session.

Here then is the status of a number of bills we have been tracking.

House Bills:

HB 2139, repealing in-state tuition for the children of undocumented aliens. KNEA opposes this bill. It still awaits action in the House.

HB 2034, Dave Trabert’s “minority report” bill changing collective bargaining. KNEA opposes this bill. It has been killed.

HB 2199, mandating opt-in for human sexuality education. KNEA opposes this bill. It awaits action in the House.

HB 2292, repealing the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, ending use of AP and International Baccalaureate programs. KNEA opposes this bill. It awaits action in the House.

HB 2257, the education community consensus collective bargaining bill. KNEA supports this bill. It was amended into HB 2326.

HB 2236, the bill ending exclusive bargaining rights. KNEA opposed this bill as introduced. It now contains the education community’s consensus collective bargaining bill. It passed the full House and now goes to the Senate. KNEA now supports the bill.

HB 2220, restoring teacher due process. KNEA supports this bill. It awaits action in the House.

HB 2031, school district plans addressing child sexual abuse. KNEA supports this bill. It awaits action in the House.

HB 2232, personal financial literacy course as a graduation requirement. KNEA opposes this bill. It awaits action in the House.

HB 2234, prohibiting post-secondary institution employees from using their titles when writing in the newspaper. KNEA opposes this bill. It awaits action in the House.

HB 2028, creating a legislative committee to write education standards. KNEA opposes this bill. It awaits action in the House.

Senate Bills:

SB 2, authorizing school districts to offer multi-year contracts to teachers. KNEA is neutral on this bill. It awaits action in the Senate.

SB 60, participation by homeschool and private school students in KSHSAA activities. KNEA opposed this bill as introduced. It was significantly amended and has been passed by the Senate. The bill is now in the House. KNEA is neutral on the bill as amended.

SB 70, background checks and fingerprinting of teachers every five years. KNEA opposes this bill. It has passed the Senate and is now in the House.

SB 71, changing the LOB calculation creating a cut in supplemental general state aid in the current year. KNEA opposes this bill. It awaits action in the Senate.

SB 56, Removing the affirmative defense from K-12 public, private, or parochial school teachers. KNEA opposes this bill. It has passed the Senate and is now in the House.

SB 67, Common Core repeal (see HB 2292). KNEA opposes this bill. It awaits action in the Senate.

SB 212, prohibiting the use of payroll deduction for dues collection. KNEA opposes this bill. It awaits action in the Senate.

SB 179, modifying the Public Employer Employee Relations Act (PEERA) limiting negotiations and eliminating the Public Employees Relations Board. KNEA opposes this bill. It awaits action in the Senate.

For information on other bills we’ve been tracking this session, click on the “Bill Quick Look” link to the right.

For information on the status of collective bargaining, see our post below.

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