The dangerous education bill being forced down the throats of Kansans didn't just write itself. The people demanded a clean bill, one meant to improve public ed, but instead the Senate and House built an ideological Trojan horse. The law rewards the wishes of Brownback's largest corporate sponsors instead of meeting the needs of students, teachers, or parents.
Here is the ransom note from the Koch brothers to Kansas legislators PRIOR to the vote on the education bill.
Although the education CCR spends more than necessary, the policy benefits outweigh the cost. The restoration of virtual school funding, removal of teacher tenure, the at-risk scholarships and the property tax credit for parents who choose to educate their children outside of the public school system are tremendous first steps in needed education reform. We appreciate your thoughtful support of this CCR. -AFP
Notice how nothing in that letter is asked for by the Supreme Court, or recommended by educators, nor was any of it asked for by students, parents, or teachers. Yet all made it into the final bill.
This uniquely Kansas disaster is described in excellent detail by Jason Probst at Hutchnews.com
What we have is a Wealthocracy, run by and for special interest groups that hand-pick their lawmakers, support them financially and control them with threat of defeat. This system doesn’t begin with the interests of Kansans, but with the interests of those groups. Key issues - energy, taxes, regulation, tort reform, infrastructure, education, and social programs - are debated in a world where lobbyists dominate the conversation. And few lobbyists dominate like the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and the Kansas Policy Institute.
Take for example the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. Call me crazy but shouldn't our legislators be getting advice from educators, not the staunch defenders tax breaks and corporate welfare? Here is their sugary sweet educational demands to legislators.
Kansas Chamber president and former Speaker of the House Mike O’Neal wrote in an email. “...More money alone is not the answer. More important is how educational resources are delivered, and by whom, and several of the policy provisions in the CCR are reasonably calculated to achieve a better educational outcome for our children and their families.”
Does anyone really believe Mike O'Neal cares about "how educational resources are delivered"? Or is he more concerned with "by whom" and protecting tax breaks for the Koch brothers?
More from Wealthocracy...
There’s good reason to co-opt the Chamber’s message, and for moderates to take threats to heart. In 2012, those same groups and Gov. Sam Brownback exorcised moderates from Topeka. Money flowed to senate districts carrying a deliberately misleading message about moderate lawmakers. If those lawmakers develop a sense of independence, they are reminded of the price of disobedience, and the power of lobbyists' scorecards. Lobbying has its purpose, but when lawmakers feel subordinate to lobbyists, democracy has been subjugated.
We couldn't agree more. Brownback and the Legislature are not turning to Kansans for solutions, they are looking for campaign dollars. Of course, you could always visit Brownback's Ministry of Truth if you need to hear his side of the story.