Our state government provides many vital services, but none more important than the education of our children. If we want Kansas students to succeed in tomorrow’s economy, we have to equip them with the tools that will be needed in tomorrow’s economy.
While I do not doubt that my opponents in this race care deeply for our children’s futures, I have yet to hear either of them lay out an actual plan that ensures that Kansas students will be able to compete with graduates around the world.
Saying we need to spend more money is not a plan. I know Paul Davis wants to increase spending on education, because his record as a state legislator demonstrates his dedication to our students. I know Governor Brownback is claiming he wants to spend more money on education, and we all know his record shows just the opposite.
I agree, we do need to make educating our children the number one priority in this state, but I strongly disagree that simply spending more money accomplishes this goal.
First of all, we need to make sure that the money we are spending is being managed in the most efficient manner possible. As a small business owner, I can tell you that we are spending too much money on administration. We need to redirect this money into our classrooms.
Speaking of small business, I notice that we have businesses sponsoring athletic teams. Why are we not bringing our local businesses into the academic side of education? How can we bring our business owners and local professionals into our classrooms to teach our children about the skills they are going to need to get jobs in Kansas when they graduate?
How can we work together as a community to ensure that at risk students are being given every opportunity to succeed, and not being overlooked because our teachers are being overwhelmed with large class sizes and a lack of resources?
Why do we only have school during one shift of the day? Is this the most effective way to educate our children? Could we not lower classroom sizes by holding evening classes? We are paying to heat and cool our buildings 24 hours a day, but we are only using them for 8 hours. How is this efficient?
What can we do, as a society, to guarantee that no child is coming to school without a full stomach? What can we do to ensure that our children’s health care needs are being met? These are all issues that affect our students’ performance in the classroom.
At a time when we need more choice in education, the federal government is requiring that we have less. How does this one-size-fits-all approach benefit our children? We need to remove corporate interests from our education policy. The education system does not exist to serve the billion dollar text book industry. The education system does not exist to serve teachers or their unions. The education system exists to serve our children, and to ensure their future success in tomorrow’s world.
Our policies need to reflect that.
Jennifer Winn, Wichita, is a Republican who recently announced her intentions to challenge Gov. Sam Brownback in the race for Kansas governor.