Whats the Matter with Education in Kansas?

Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell opined an example of what could happen in 2016 if the Republicans win by featuring what is happening with education in Kansas after another $51 million in cuts. A recent letter by 17-year-old junior at Smoky Valley High School Haeli Maas to Governor Brownback cuts to the chase of it.

To Governor Sam Brownback,

I am writing you today as a concerned citizen of Kansas. I am currently sixteen years old and a junior at Smoky Valley High School, while also maintaining two jobs. In my free time I do homework, and the chances of any other free time are incredibly rare.

While in school, I maintain a 3.8 GPA, something I am very proud of. I am enrolled in honors courses and try my best to make everything I do count. I love school. I have loved school since the day I started school. I hope that in the future I will be allowed to continue my education in college, and love school just as much in my time there.

I read a few years ago some very wise words from a judge restated by principal John Tapene at Northland College. He said:

“The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again. In other words grow up, stop being a crybaby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you!”

Someday is now, sir. It is up to you to pave our way. You are the determining factor in the future of my generation’s lives. Education is important and it should never be put on the back burner to the rest of the issues. Do not write off my generation and refuse us the opportunity to educate ourselves, because we will surprise you. We are capable and ready to take on the world, and if we are put into the world without the education to make a difference, then it is you who will pay. It is you who will count on us in your age. If you wish to see this great state continue to be great, educate the future.

I will have completed my public education within the next year and a half. I will move on into the future and I will succeed because that is who I am. I have younger siblings still in school, and I fear for them. I fear that my little sister will forget her love for school, and lose the spark that makes her such a unique and beautiful person. It is up to you to keep that spark. It is up to you to fight for our future and our education, so that we may fight for you when the time comes.

This is a beautiful state. Kansas has so much to offer to so many people. We are truly capable of anything. Within our borders, we harbor the potential to be something truly great. Do not forget to put faith in your youth, and do not bypass our education in order to save face. Invest in our future, and you will inevitably be investing in your future. After all, if you forget to educate the youth, who will take care of you?

From your fellow Kansan,

Haeli Allison Maas

So far Governor Brownback has not responded to the high school student’s well written letter asking for his support of education in Kansas.

In a manner which forces cuts to be made by utilizing “block grants,” the Kansas Republican Legislature and Republican (redundant alert) Governor Brownback have placed the onus of decision making upon the local school boards and constituents abdicating their responsibility to provide for education. This comes under the guise of flexibility and local decision-making and the $51 million is in addition to cuts already enacted by the Republican administration. This is little more than a copout by the administration.

The Kansas SC has ruled the present funding is unconstitutional and has sent the case back to the district court to rule on what is adequate funding. July 1 (2014 – 2015 school year) was the deadline set by the Kansas SC to restore some of the cut funding for capital improvements and general operations of $129 million additional. This could evolve into much higher restoration of funding once through the lower courts.

Brownback insists he is leading a low tax, small government American Renaissance and GOP leaders say they may resist court orders. Meanwhile, students like Haeli Maas plead with Kansas Governor Brownback not to write off their generation.