House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, raised eyebrows – and a lot of cynicism – by appointing two lobbyists to a new K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission. Merrick tapped Dave Trabert, president of the Kansas Policy Institute, and Mike O’Neal, president of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. Both men are critics of public education and have pushed for private alternatives. “Merrick’s appointments suggest the commission will be agenda-driven, not an objective panel,” wrote Barbara Shelly of the Kansas City Star. “Instead of hearing testimony from lobbyists, the panel will consist of lobbyists. It’s hard to think of a better fox-in-the-chicken-coop scenario.”
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