Thought and money are the ticket
Brent Davis’ article, “More thought, less money on education” (Sunday’s Eagle), seemed to promise some thoughtful suggestions as to how to improve educational performance in Kansas. But first, it offers cherry-picked instances across the country where “it’s not money that matters, it’s how it’s spent.” Duh.
If teachers matter most, why did Kansas for a time eliminate step and track encouragement for teachers who continue their education beyond the minimum requirements?
How can principals, without adequate experience, training or degrees, gain respect of adequately trained and effective teachers? Much less corral unruly and undisciplined children sent to school?
If involved parents improve outcomes by choosing to home school rather than subject their children to less-desirable public school environments, where does that leave us as a country?
Where are the ideas that will shape our efforts to spend money “judiciously” on education? Should we reward students for higher grades? We already do that by attending to their self-esteem rather than their performance. Reward teachers, principals, parents for pressuring students to perform? How?
We can spend more thought, but it won’t necessarily mean less money. It might mean that the state Supreme Court will improve things for our greatest assets.
Cathie Hay, Wichita
Two cases of retirement
Sunday’s Eagle had two stories opposite each other on the page physically and opposite in life outcomes morally.
The first was about 70-year-old ex-aircraft workers still working because they lost their private pension benefits after decades of steady employment and now can’t make it on Social Security. The other was about a 49-year-old who, like many fellow federal employees, is retiring with full benefits and won’t have to work again unless he wants to do so.
My dad used to say we live in days of private squalor and public opulence. How can a government that is broke afford to pay plump pensions when a major corporate employer cannot even afford lean ones? Doesn’t the government work for the people?
I could try to explain how Washington and Wall Street have conspired with the Federal Reserve to financially loot private wages and savings worldwide (including retirees and pensioners) while filling their own pockets with the ill-gotten gains, but I would be unable to hold your attention for long. Because for Americans stories about this type of corrupt and despicable behavior are not “news.” They are accepted behavior ... for now at least. But a tipping point is not far off.
Bob Love, Wichita
Now those are some tweaks
Kansas is coming in from the cold after the repeal of Gov. Sam Brownback’s failed tax policies, but much more is needed from our Legislature, such as expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Brownback’s refusal to allow this expansion has already cost our state $1 billion, and unless our elected officials in Topeka act responsibly, that will continue to mount up.
Interestingly, Brownback allowed $147 million to be taken from the ACA in order to shore up the state’s budget in 2014, yet he still opposes expansion that will help tens of thousands needy Kansans.
And so it is without surprise that the Koch brothers’ political action group Americans for Prosperity continues to support Brownback’s tax structure in spite of the fact that the 2012 tax bill left our state government broke. And the AFP response? The budget just needed tweaking. Really? $1 billion taken from KDOT to keep the state going, and another billion in further bond debt to keep KPERS solvent, and all we needed was a bit of tweaking?
I wished my personal budget was that simple. Maybe then I could vacation in Nassau during the winter months and just drink up the good life.
Michal Betz, Wichita
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