News Columns & Blogs

Does it matter if state lawmakers went to college?

The governor, Kansas House speaker and Kansas Senate president have five college degrees between them. But according to a study by the Chronicle of Higher Education, just 68.6 percent of Kansas state legislators have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 74.7 percent of state lawmakers nationally, 87.3 percent in next-door Nebraska and 86.2 percent in Texas. Ideally, the educational makeup of the Kansas Legislature should reflect that of Kansans. But the statistic may help explain why the percentage of state support for higher education has slid so dramatically in Kansas over recent decades, including by 13.4 percent in the past three years. California tops the list for educated lawmakers, with 89.9 percent holding bachelor's degrees or higher.