25% of Kansas Voters Set to Determine Your Future!

Oct 1, 2018 by

Cartoonist, Nick Anderson, 2014

Voting is the cornerstone of democracy. That’s why it always amazes and frustrates us that so few people eligible to vote actually cast a ballot. In 2014, the last time Kansas was electing a Governor, only 50.8% of registered voters bothered to vote. Think about that! For every two Kansans, one did not vote! Just 25% of voters (half of those that bother to vote) could decide your future.

Are you satisfied to let half of all Kansans registered to vote to decide what that future will be? Every election is important, but this year’s race for Governor offers us a particularly sharp contrast. Will the next Governor return to the Brownback tax policy or continue to move forward? Will the next Governor honor the school finance plan passed by the legislature or repeal it? Will the next Governor fund highway maintenance or steal for KDOT?

The decision is up to us. And it should be up to ALL OF US!

No matter where you sit on the broad political spectrum, please vote. Let’s find out once and for all what the MAJORITY of Kansans want, not just the half that shows up.

You can vote early by mail. You can vote early in person. You can walk into your polling place on November 6. But however you do it, please support our democracy. Please vote.

Your Source for Voting

https://www.ksvotes.org is your one-stop-shop for voting. Go there to check your registration – make sure you haven’t been purged from the voter files. Go there to register to vote if you aren’t now registered. Go there to request an advance voting ballot if you’d like to vote from home. In your pajamas.

There’s a bonus for early voting!

Campaigns run on money. And no campaign treasurer wants to spend money they don’t have to spend. That’s why, once advance voting starts, a good campaign treasurer will check the voting rolls daily to see who in that district has already voted. If your name comes up as having cast a ballot early, they take you off the mail list to save money. So you see, if you vote early, you can stop most, if not all, of the nasty campaign mail from filling your mailbox! Now that’s a deal worth voting early for!

I Vote for Public Education!

Some candidates will say they support education, and they’ll do just about anything to fool the public into thinking they mean it.  Often they’ll trot out a teacher who will say great things in support of the candidate, hoping that you and I don’t look at their record.  Take the race between Sharice Davids and Kevin Yoder for Congressional District 3 as an example.  While Yoder has found a retired teacher to appear in a commercial, Davids has the backing of educators throughout her district.  And as a KNEA/KPAC recommended candidate, Davids has been through a rigorous interview process conducted by currently licensed classroom teachers who determined that hers is a candidacy that truly represents support for public education.

Or look to the Governor’s race for another example.  Secretary of State Kobach makes splashy headlines for what sounds like a pro-education policy, but when you investigate his rhetoric you discover that his promises- like his funding to the classroom slogan- actually will result in cuts.  Why?  Because he’s not telling you that he believes that only certain very specific things qualify as necessary for “classroom instruction.”  Everything else like support services, technology, and specialists would only be funded at the local level- meaning that a child’s opportunity would depend a whole lot on their zip code.

If you would love to vote but just aren’t sure who the pro-public education candidates are, we’ve got just the thing for you!

The KNEA Political Action Committee (KPAC), made up of KNEA members from across the state, have done the hard work of interviewing and analyzing the candidates for public office. They have identified which candidates are the best on issues related to our public schools, our school employees, and our public school students.

Click here to see the list of all KNEA/KPAC recommended candidates.

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One Week from Tomorrow!

Feb 26, 2016 by

One week from tomorrow, Kansans will have the opportunity to weigh in on who they want to see as the next president of the United States.

The Kansas presidential caucuses will be held March 5, 2016 and with both parties still wide open, this is going to be a great opportunity for Kansans to have a voice.

The candidates are in; let the choosing begin!

Kansas NEA encourages everyone to attend the caucuses. We know that the caucuses are often poorly attended but when so much is on the line and when both parties are not yet settled on a choice, how can anyone who believes in the power of our democracy not want to be there?

Both parties make their own rules for how the caucuses work so we hope you will check the resources below to learn more. While our links go straight to the caucus locations, there is more information available on the Republican and Democratic Party websites.

Kansas Democratic presidential caucus

March 5, 2016 beginning at 3:00 pm.

You must be a registered Democrat and of legal voting age (18) by November 8, 2016 to participate in a caucus. All attendees must check in between 1:00-3:00 p.m. You may register to vote or change your party affiliation at the door.

Democrats caucus by state Senate districts. To find where to caucus, visit

http://www.kansasdems.org/caucus-2016/where-to-caucus/

Kansas GOP presidential caucus

March 5, 2016 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

You must be a registered Republican to participate in the caucus.

Republicans caucus by county although a number of counties have multiple locations. To find where to caucus, visit

http://www.ksgop.org/#!caucus-locations/vopsn

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Fixing? Talking. Purging!

Nov 13, 2015 by

Two down, 35,998 to go!

Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office had, until recently, a list of 36,000 Kansas who tried to register to vote and had their registration suspended by Kobach because they did not have the necessary documents to prove their citizenship on hand.

Two of those on the list filed suit and guess what? Kobach cleared them, registered them to vote, and immediately asked the court to toss out the lawsuit. They lack standing, Kobach argued, because they are now registered and suffered no harm.

According to the Lawrence Journal-World,

“one of the men’s attorneys, Will Lawrence, said Kobach appeared to be ‘playing games’ with voters’ rights.

‘Obviously we are happy that our two clients are registered to vote but it’s more than these two individuals who are being affected,’ Lawrence said. ‘If Kobach can just go in and get this done, why not do this for everyone?’”

That’s a pretty good question! Read more about it here.

K-12 Student Success Committee meets again

The second meeting of the 2015 Special Committee on K-12 Student Success was held on Tuesday and was consumed with yet more information gathering.

There were a few interesting notes:

  • In reviewing data on new construction, Sen. Masterson noted that new construction seemed to be resulting in more square footage per student.
  • During a review of superintendent salaries, Rep. Lunn wanted to know if the numbers included special annuity deals (an apparent reference to the agreement between the Blue Valley School District and former superintendent Trigg).
  • When hearing about recent declines in student assessment results, Rep. Lunn asserted that school funding was increased by $312 million but scores went down. This is proof, according to Lunn, that there is no correlation between spending and achievement. (And, yes, Lunn’s assertion about increased funding for school operations is misleading.)
  • During a presentation by Scott Frank, Director of the Legislative Post Audit Division, Sen. Hensley asked Frank to tell the committee what the LPA had discovered about the relationship between spending and achievement. Frank reported that the LPA found a very strong correlation between the two; about 90%.

All of the documents from the latest meeting can be found here. Be prepared! That’s a lot of spreadsheets!

The committee will meet again on December 9.

Is Dissent Treason?

You might remember 2012 when a group of moderate Republican Senators dared to stand up against Governor Brownback’s tax “experiment” and were subsequently purged from the Senate during the Republican primary elections by candidates supported by the Governor. The message then was clear – oppose the Governor’s agenda at your own risk!

During the 2014 legislative session, the public education agenda of the Governor and his allies was blocked by a single vote in the House Education Committee as voucher bills were defeated by one vote when moderate Republicans joined Democrats in supporting public schools. Speaker Ray Merrick took care of that in 2015 by simply removing Rep. Melissa Rooker – the most outspoken Republican advocate for public education on the committee – and sending her to the Transportation Committee.

It appears there will be yet another purging of the moderates this year.

Merrick just announced that two more moderate Republicans will lose their seats on the education committee. Rep. Diana Dierks (Salina) and John Ewy (Jetmore) will be replaced by Kasha Kelley (Arkansas City) and Becky Hutchins (Holton).

Beyond that change, moderate Republicans who have supported the expansion of Medicaid in Kansas have been removed from the House Health and Human Services Committee. Looks like Merrick and Brownback will not tolerate their advocacy either.

Since all legislation must go through the committee process before hitting the floor, these changes are monumental. Brownback and Merrick are trying to ensure that no legislation they oppose will come out of these committees. Moderates are being marginalized. They will be left with taking their advocacy to the floor of the House only, making it much more difficult for them to have an opportunity to shape legislation.

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