TAKE ACTION nOW!
Kansas students need you to do 2 things right now!
- CALL: Elected officials get lots of emails, but DIRECT PHONE CALLS make the strongest impact. Use the contact information below and call the members of the Senate Ed Committee. Use your voice, perspective, and language to convey the key points we’ve outlined on this page.
- EMAIL & SOCIAL: Follow-up your phone call with an email. Carbon Copy others within your social networks so they can read your perspective and so that they can all see what educators think, especially when elected officials claim, “we haven’t heard from anybody on this issue.” Then, post the content of your message on your social media networks.
Key Points- Senate Education Committee Members Need to Hear from YOU!
About the Bill:
Senate Bill 61 takes state money and uses it to send Kansas students to private schools and does not require those schools to report any student performance.
The tuition tax credit scholarship program’s original intent was to help at-risk students leave low performing schools for private schools.
Key Points- why this bill is wrong for students and schools:
Senate Bill 61 allows students from any public school to get a ‘scholarship’ (voucher) while currently, only students in low-performing elementary schools are eligible.
It also expands eligibility from just free lunch eligible students to free and reduced lunch eligible students.
These two changes mean the program does not focus on students who are struggling or at-risk.
These changes will encourage private schools to seek out and recruit high performing, low-income students or exceptional athletes from any K-12 public school in Kansas.
There is no accountability for student performance in the program – there is no required reporting of student success in the private school versus the public school.
Private schools are not required to be a state-accredited private school. Without a requirement that the private school participate in the state accreditation system, there is no ability to even compare the private school performance overall to the public school. We may be sending students to failing private schools with state money.
Because there are no accountability measures, voucher schemes like this one make it easy for private and for-profit schools to pick and choose students who appear to benefit the school through academic or athletic performance and then “transition away” students if and when their benefit to the school has expired.
Only the state’s accreditation system considers student performance. Other ‘alternative’ accreditation programs lack rigor and only monitor for teacher qualifications, not student achievement.
If legislators want a program that helps at-risk students in struggling schools then they need to limit the program to
1. the lowest-performing elementary schools,
2. change eligibility from lunch status to participation in an approved at-risk program,
3. and restrict school eligibility to private schools that are state-accredited.
The $10 million earmarked for this program would be better spent with investments in early childhood education or after-school tutoring programs that help all at-risk students.
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE CONTACTS
- Chair, Senator Molly Baumgardner (R-Louisberg); Molly.Baumgardner@senate.ks.gov; 785-296-7368
- Vice Chair, Senator Renee Erickson (R-Wichita); Renee.Erickson@senate.ks.gov; 785-296-7476
- Ranking Minority Member, Senator Dinah Sykes (D-Lenexa); Dinah.Sykes@senate.ks.gov; 785-296-3245
- Senator Brenda Dietrich (R-Topeka); Brenda.Dietrich@senate.ks.gov; 785-296-7648
- Senator Beverly Gossage (R-Eudora); Beverly.Gossage@senate.ks.gov; 785-296-7382
- Senator Rick Kloos (R-Berryton); Rick.Kloos@senate.ks.gov; 785-296-7645
- Senator Kristen O’Shea (R-Topeka); Kristen.O’Shea@senate.ks.gov; 785-296-7656
- Senator Pat Pettey (D-Kansas City); Pat.Pettey@senate.ks.gov; 785-296-7375
- Senator Alicia Straub (R-Ellinwood); Alicia.Straub@senate.ks.gov; 785-296-7682