It is inconceivable how Republican lawmakers could so vehemently protest a District Court ruling that the state has not fulfilled its constitutional obligation to fund our public schools. Do lawmakers not do their homework? Reliable research makes clear the benefits of a well-educated public both to society and to the economy. If they only choose to play politics and fail to diligently review the studies, we can kiss Kansas’ reputation as a high-quality education state goodbye.
The lament of Kansas Republicans that Kansas judges have overstepped their bounds – again – is hogwash. If Kansas lawmakers would stop violating the state constitution, Kansas judges would leave them alone.
In his speech, Brownback called on the Legislature to pass a statute clarifying what constitutes “suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state,” as called for in the state constitution, rather than leaving that call up to the courts. The Legislature should be more clear about setting standards for funding schools. But lawmakers and the governor should also bear in mind that a suitable education is a constitutional right, which is why school boards have turned to the courts for redress.
The economy was a reasonable excuse for defaulting on school-funding promises for a couple years. But that excuse didn’t fly once the Legislature and governor opted to cut income taxes severely last year rather than restore school spending. Legislators like to blame the courts and “activist” judges, but legislators only have themselves to blame for being in this position.