There’s a war going on in Topeka for the heart and soul of Kansas.    

Kansans have long been proud of their state and the hard work of earlier generations of Kansans who fought through all kinds of adversity, including settlement, breaking the land, surviving and recovering from tornadoes, building communities, and muscling through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. These Kansans worked to build a place where people could thrive and each succeeding generation would be lifted up. Ad Astra Per Aspera.

Every day, some members of the legislature fight for special interests. They seek to marginalize those who speak out for Kansans. They show disdain for our public schools and educators. They strip benefits from the poor and disabled. They intentionally adopted a reckless tax policy that has bankrupted our state treasury and that threatens to unravel everything Kansans hold dear. They spurn the Supreme Court, which has a duty to defend the will of the people and the Constitution. We will not sit idly by while everything we have built is dismantled. The current political war in Topeka will determine whether we continue reaching for the stars or face a new struggle.

We do not fight just to protect our great public schools. We fight to honor the legacy of those early pioneers and the men and women who built this great state from scratch. As educators, we have committed our professional lives to fighting to protect our schools and our students and to maintain the freedom to teach. We fight to preserve curricula and standards that address the challenges of life in the 21st century. We fight for activities and enrichment programs that engage and inspire our kids.

However, we also fight for our families and our hometowns. We fight for health care and our local hospitals. We fight for public services, such as police, firefighters, road repairs, and social programs that support our impoverished neighbors. We fight for good jobs that provide working Kansas with food, clothing, and shelter. We fight for those without voices. We fight for our neighbors with disabilities, our seniors, and the children who enter our classroom doors every day. This is a difficult fight.

Join us in this fight.

Demand that your legislators stop attacking local control by stripping local boards of education, city commissions, and county commissions of their authority. Demand that your legislators stop interfering with the State Board of Education’s constitutional authority to supervise public education. Demand that your legislators stop stealing from our highways and public employees to fund the deficit created by their foolish tax policy. Demand that your legislators put the needs of hardworking Kansans first rather than those of corporate profiteers.

Join us to once again put Kansas on the path to the stars.

-Kansas NEA President Mark Farr