Kansas, Politics

Schmidt said in a statement that the decision “could effectively and immediately shut off all funding for the judicial branch.” [emphasis mine] Kansas attorney general says judge’s ruling may jeopardize funding for courts, The Wichita Eagle

Please tell me there comes a point where we as citizens recognize how incredibly corrupt and undemocratic this posturing by Brownback’s administration is and demand better. I would genuinely like to see someone defend the principle they’ve decided to deploy to coerce the judiciary into compliance with their plans.

Hat tip to:

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Issues, Kansas

That exercise isn’t in the official process for how the state hands out “extraordinary need” funds. Districts make such requests when enrollment jumps or property tax revenues are affected by falling property tax assessments.

Still, being efficient with tax funds is a good thing, so this request just forced the schools to comply and send a list. So how often did the GOP leaders use those reported efficiencies on Monday to determine whether a district got more money?

Never once. Gov. Sam Brownback’s battle with educators damages Kansas schools again, The Kansas City Star

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Kansas, Politics

We’ve written many times before on the strange and damaging policy decisions being made regarding education in the state. So, it was no surprise when the following two articles passed by in the course of a day. I’m trying to decide if we just feign surprise over this or prepare yet one more “I told you” rant. First, from KSHB:

According to data released by Kansas State Department of Education, at least 3,720 Kansas teachers have left the state, retired or taken jobs outside of education after this past school year, a huge jump from the 2,150 who did so just a couple of years ago. Over 3,700 teachers in Kansas have retired or left the state during the summer, KSHB

That was yesterday. Then first thing this morning we get this next piece from The Joplin Globe. It has some more viewpoints on the damage to teaching and education that Kansas is seeing. Again, none of this is surprising to anyone with common sense. And the worst part is it’s much easier to damage than it is to repair. It’s not just students today that will suffer, but the ones that enter school a decade from now. Even if we fix issues and correct policy, we now have a stigma that will take much longer to shake thanks to Brownback.

Pittsburg State University College of Education Dean Howard Smith said enrollment in teacher education, which has trended downward in the past few years, supports that.

“Based on informal data, it’s true. I talk to students when they’re coming in and when they’re graduating,” Smith said. “It appears to be due to a lot of variables: shrinking budgets, additional requirements, and they’re reading that stuff. The posts on Facebook — they see that.” Kansas sees shrinking pool of teachers; Missouri shows gains in out-of-state hires, The Joplin Globe

I think one of the most telling things is that at this time of the year, schools still have around 500 open teaching jobs at a time when there’d only be about 100. In an era where we talk so much about how hard it is to find jobs, especially ones in more specialized areas, it’s a scary bellwether when you see a trend like that where we can’t hardly beg teachers to fill the openings.

Here are plenty more articles:

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Current Events, Kansas, Politics

In an act of defiance of the recent same-sex marriage ruling, many Kansas counties are refusing to (or at least haven’t) issue marriage certificates still. This isn’t at all surprising, actually. It is, however, very sad. First, agree or disagree, the courts are beholden to the SCOTUS decision. There is a process in place if they disagree, but actively defying supremacy in the matter isn’t one of them (this absent a discussion of state nullification or if SCOTUS is guilty of overreach, which is something we could talk about, but doesn’t change what should happen short-term). While the argument over the matter continues, the courts are obligated to operate as instructed in the matter unless further change is made.

But the second issue is the most important: How exactly are we supposed to afford the cost of the lawsuits that will inevitably be filed that the state will absolutely lose? To prove… what? Exactly?

Marriage-Licenses-by-County-6-26-2015b

*NOTE: Chautauqua and Montgomery counties are now issuing marriage certificates as well.

http://eqks.org/meanwhile-in-kansas-the-struggle-continues/

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Issues, Kansas

Flight of Fancy

Kansas was once again in the news for its recent introduction to the top ten list of states with outbound population according to the latest United Van Lines survey. Naturally, this is spun as bad news for the state’s administration, which is already facing income shortfalls, even after downward revisions of expectations. It’s also shown as proof that Brownback’s efforts are failing. Which might be true. This news shouldn’t, however, come as a surprise to anyone. The downward population trend was also reflected in recent census data which showed us at a net loss.

For the sake of responsibility, we should acknowledge that the UVL study does have some limitations. Obviously, it’s only datasource were people that chose to use one of their moving services, leaving out everyone that used a competitor or did it themselves. The hope is that their sample size was large enough that such limitations don’t outweigh the overall trend, which should show through the noise. All that said, I don’t find a lot of reason to otherwise doubt their results. UVL has been doing this survey since the 70s, if my memory recalls correctly. And there’s never been any significant criticism of their findings or methodology that I know of. (Do you know something I don’t? Be sure to mention it down below in the comments and link the source so I can take a look.)

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Our state senators went out, dug a grave, bought a casket, picked out a headstone, and now they’re cruising to the hospital with the top down to unplug us. Share to support your frustration with the unparalleled, unprecedented failure of the #ksleg113‬ day session.

Current Events, Kansas

SB270 Passes 21-19

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Brownback, Then and Now

Current Events, Kansas, Politics

Brownback, Then and Now

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Kansas, Politics

You know how everyone’s talking about this law Brownback signed that puts judiciary funding in jeopardy based on how they decide to rule? You know how pretty much everyone talking about it says it’s a bad idea (since, obviously, it is)?

Imagine for one second the name “Brownback” was replaced with “Obama” in that discussion. Could you imagine the pitchforks and torches conservatives would be marching into DC with? The ink wouldn’t even be dry on the paper.

So why is it okay for Brownback to do it here?

A Matter of Perspective

Aside