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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Confronted with math text, Rep. John Bradford calls math “hokey”.

Mar 19, 2016 by

House Ed Committee Sends Anti-Common Core Bill to Full Chamber

Rep. John Bradford, Lansing

Rep. John Bradford, Lansing

The House Education Committee, meeting on adjournment yesterday, radically amended HB 2292 (the bill essentially banning education in Kansas) and sent the new version out for consideration by the full House.

An amendment offered by Rep. Amanda Grosserode (R-Lenexa) gutted the bill and replaced it with language repealing the current Kansas College and Career Ready Standards while replacing them with new Kansas standards adopted with no help or ideas from outside Kansas. The amendment specifically bans any federal or common core standards.

The amendment as adopted was not available in print during the meeting and the new bill is not yet posted on the legislature’s website so we are unable to fully report on its impact at this time.

Six legislators on the committee were recorded as voting NO on both the amendment and the bill. Those voting NO were Ed Trimmer (D-Winfield), Nancy Lusk (D-Overland Park), Valdenia Winn (D-Kansas City), Jarrod Ousley (D-Merriam), Sue Boldra (R-Hays), and Chuck Smith (R-Pittsburg). These six all vocally supported the State Board and the current Kansas College and Career Ready Standards throughout the meeting.

Smith told the committee that the current standards are far better than anything he experienced and that Kansas schools have produced better educated students that ever. Ousley had brought in his daughter’s textbooks to demonstrate that there was no “hokie math instruction” as asserted by Rep. John Bradford (R-Lansing).

Another very concerning part of this bill is that it gives the legislature review of what the State Board of Education does. The bill requires the SBOE to write new standards and submit those standards prior to implementation to the legislature for review. Frankly, this very act – the legislature essentially vetoing work that rightly and constitutionally belongs to the SBOE is alarming. A very bad precedent is being set with this bill.

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