School bill – Gov. Sam Brownback has put his signature on a bill trying to take away public school teachers’ right to due process. This late-night law throws down the political gauntlet against our public schools. An open battle is about to begin between those who believe in public education and those who, for whatever reason, do not believe in it. Such battles are often won by the actors with the greatest intensity.
Winfield Daily Courier
The new school-finance law authorizes noncertified individuals to become teachers, strips away due process that good teachers have been protected by for 60 years, directs public money to private schools with no demands of accountability, and cuts funding for at-risk students. Districts looking to lessen any of the financial effects will be forced to raise property taxes – and still will have trouble maintaining existing quality results.
Hays Daily News
Social media policy – The knee-jerk reaction of Kansas Board of Regents members to an alternative policy on social media prepared by a work group made up of faculty and staff representatives from all six regents universities was disappointing. Although the members of the Regents’ Governance Committee were receptive to adding some language that was included in the work group’s proposal, they flatly refused to reconsider the disciplinary aspects of the policy that are most bothersome to university faculty members concerned about protecting academic freedom. The regents’ disregard for those concerns could have a dire impact on the ability to attract and retain top faculty members at the state’s universities.
Food labels – For a nanosecond one might have thought that Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, had made a miraculous leap to reason. Here he was dissing the possibility of a “patchwork” of state laws and arguing in favor of a federal solution to a nagging issue. Well, of course there was a catch. Pompeo’s federal solution is a whitewash. Backed by the grocery industry, Pompeo would pre-empt state regulations and prohibit the Food and Drug Administration from mandating labeling unless a genetically engineered ingredient was found to present a health risk. The effects of Pompeo’s bill are to reject the concerns of a growing consumer movement, to deny real worries about environmental consequences and to allow big business to call the shots.
Kansas City Star
Sebelius – It seems fitting now to acknowledge and applaud Kathleen Sebelius’ long service to Kansas and her country, which began when she took the oath of office as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives in 1987. Regardless of what individual Kansans think of Sebelius’ politics or her stewardship of the offices she held, elected and appointed, 27 years of dedicated public service is worthy of recognition.
Topeka Capital Journal
Dole –Too many legislators today have an all-or-nothing approach – thinking that has hindered progress in Washington, D.C., and statehouses nationwide. It’s no wonder Bob Dole himself has questioned whether he would have had a future in today’s political environment. Agree or disagree with his politics, you had to admire Dole’s leadership, determination and effectiveness as a lawmaker. All Kansans – and particularly those in public service – should consider the positive example set by Dole. And more should follow his lead.
Garden City Telegram