"Since when did public education and public school boards become the enemy?"This is a question that gets to the heart of the argument. Vouchers are ways of getting kids and money out of public schools, beyond the influence of elected leaders and into unaccountable hands.
After hearing this and other complaints (such as the likelihood that vouchers would violate the state constitution), Kathy Martin said she didn't understand why school superintendents were opposed to "such minimal changes." (Martin once said that intelligent design creationism has more evidence for it than evolution, and that theology should be taught in public schools. She may operate on a permanent opposite day.)
I guess enough Board members figured out that there was some basis for the opposition, so they
… voted Wednesday to appoint a committee of superintendents to come up with other proposals to improve schools.Morton described vouchers as "an old answer to an old question."
… board member Ken Willard, R-Hutchinson, proposed having Newton Supt. John Morton lead a committee of superintendents to recommend more ideas to “reduce barriers in public schools.”
Now call me crazy, but if they wanted to know what education professionals thought about things, why not hire an education professional as (for instance) the Commissioner of Education. Now we're wasting time on bad ideas, wasting time and money on a transition team of professional educators to back up a the incompetent hack hired to run the school system, and other professionals are having to clean up his mess.
The Wichita Eagle's blog is right to point out this exchange:
Janet Waugh … asked Corkins whether he would change his proposal to make it so that private schools would have to accept every eligible student and would be required to comply with the same standards as public schools.Like editor Brownlee, I have to say "If private schools accept tax dollars, shouldn’t they have to play by the same rules?"
Corkins answered that he wouldn’t. She asked him why, and he said because no private school would participate under those conditions.
No Board reportage is complete without an example of Connie Morris nuttery, so here we go.
Janet Waugh objected to voting on a the committee of superintendents, a proposal that wasn't on the agenda, and that when she was chairwoman, other members criticized her for considering items not on the agenda.
Connie Morris, R-St. Francis, replied, “I’m tired of inaccurate statements. Janet, what you said is just not true.”Meow!
Morris started talking about a board action from last year, but Chairman Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, interrupted: “Connie, I’m not sure this is germane to this discussion. The last board we had a year ago is immaterial.”