It turns out that the revolution on the Kansas State Board of Education really did happen in August. Two incumbent conservatives, Ken Willard (in photo) of Hutchinson and John Bacon of Olathe, won re-election Tuesday. That denied moderates a chance at anything larger than the six-vote majority they secured in the GOP primary by ousting incumbent Connie Morris of St. Francis and favoring moderate Republican Jan Shaver of Independence for an open seat.
A board with six moderates (four Republicans and two Democrats) and the two remaining conservatives can be expected to revisit the 2005 decisions to adopt science standards that are at odds with mainstream science and to hire an education commissioner who lacked education or management experience. Such actions should bring more common sense to the board table. Still, it’s a shame that Jack Wempe of Lyons couldn’t unseat Willard. Wempe’s experience — as teacher, principal, superintendent, state legislator and chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents — would have served Kansans well on the troublesome state board, whatever its ideological makeup.
Posted by Rhonda Holman
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