Daily Archives: Dec. 16, 2012

Kansas Senate’s new conservative look

Kansans got a picture last week of what the new Kansas Senate will look like, as hard-line conservatives were assigned to chair key committees. In the past, the Senate has served as a buffer to the extremes of the Kansas House. Will that no longer be the case? Will it be smooth sailing in the Legislature for nearly any far-right idea? Agenda 21, here we come?

It makes no sense to take outdated tests

David Dennis of Wichita, the outgoing chairman of the Kansas State Board of Education, expressed understandable frustration last week that the state must give assessment tests over standards that it no longer uses. “We’re giving, as I recall, a couple hundred thousand assessments in reading and a couple hundred thousand assessments in math each year, and that’s some big dollars when we’re going to use it for nothing,” Dennis complained, noting that the tests cost between $10 and $15 per test per student. The state has received a waiver for the No Child Left Behind law and already adopted new Common Core state standards in reading and math. But because the new assessments won’t be implemented until the 2014-15 school year, the federal government still requires the state to give the old tests. In addition to wasting money, this puts school districts in a bind: Do they focus on the new standards (as they are supposed to)? Or do they continue to emphasize the old standards (because they may be criticized if their assessment scores drop)?

So they said

“My name is Michael O’Donnell.… You may know me better as the villain I play in The Wichita Eagle.” – the Wichita City Council member and state senator-elect (in photo), opening his controversial remarks to the Sedgwick County Commission about the proposed Bowllagio tax-increment financing district
“In our state, Republicans vote together 98 percent of the time. If you are not with them a 100 percent of the time, you’re gone.” – outgoing Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, in the Huffington Post
“Tim Huelskamp for Speaker!” – headline on a post by conservative Arizona blogger David Hall
“That’s why we get the big bucks. Let’s do our job.” – Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, telling Politico he’s ready to work through Christmas because of the fiscal cliff