The Senate Committee on Education is holding a hearing on House Bill 2236 on Thursday. March 9, at 1:30 p.m. This bill is a watered-down version of the “Parents Bill of Rights,” but it really still serves as a “Politicians Know Best” bill. The bill is premised on misinformation seeking to erode the public’s confidence in public schools. It creates a slippery slope of unintended consequences that will drive a wedge between parents and educators, and will ultimately hurt Kansas kids. Under this bill, it appears to be possible for some kids to complete all requirements for classes, credit, and graduation, but still lose out on activities and awards to students whose parents choose to direct their child’s education and withdrawal them from required lessons; with zero impact on their academic record or status. KNEA will be testifying in opposition to this bill.
We are anticipating action on House Substitute for Senate Bill 83 (the Frankenstein voucher bill) by the House as a whole any day now. There had been a rumor circulating it would be here on Thursday, but the calendar indicates it didn’t make the cut this time. This bill diverts public dollars to unaccountable and often for-profit private schools. Moreover, it skews heavily towards giving vouchers to wealthier families first- which contradicts the constant refrain we hear from voucher supporters that they are needed to help at-risk, students in poverty, and students in need. As expected, this bill is clearly about a push to further undermine, underfund, and starve neighborhood schools. Please continue contacting your legislators to encourage them to keep public dollars in public schools.
The House advanced a bill on Wednesday that mandates a firearms safety program sponsored by the NRA to be adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education. The House will take a final vote on House Bill 2304 today, Thursday, March 9, before it heads over to the Senate for consideration. The Senate passed its version of the bill, Senate Bill 116, before a turnaround break on a vote of 30-8. KNEA opposed both bills. Certainly, firearm education is important. However, usurping the authority of state and local boards of education to mandate a program sponsored by an organization under continuing investigation of corruption, an organization that lobbies on behalf of the firearm industry, is a conflict of interest and bad for students.
On Wednesday, March 8, we saw Day 2 of hearings where culture wars and KPERS collided. KNEA delivered opposition testimony on two bills that would’ve had devastating impacts on the KPERS Trust Fund. You can listen to the testimony of both hearings at the links below.
Pay close attention to KPERS Director Alan Conroy’s testimony of the catastrophic financial impact that would occur if they passed.
Hear KNEA’s testimony at the timestamp printed below each link.
House Financial Institutions and Pensions Committee http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00287/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20230308/-1/16473
KNEA Director of Government Relations & Coalitions, Timothy Graham Testimony 10:15:15 am
Senate Federal & State Affairs Committee http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00287/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20230308/-1/16533
KNEA Director of Government Relations & Coalitions, Timothy Graham Testimony at 11:20:23 am