KNEA's Vision for Kansas Public Schools
Our vision begins with the fundamental belief that great public schools are not only a right for every Kansas child, but are the foundation of economic development for the state and economic success for its citizens. A lack of education leads not only to economic difficulties for the individual, but for our society as well.
A decision to reduce or radically limit investments in our children's education has the result of driving up other costs to state government - from the costs of medical care and poverty to costs to the justice system. Based on what we've seen thus far, our concern is that Governor Brownback’s school funding scheme takes Kansas in that direction. The Governor’s plan disequalizes school funding and pushes the responsibility for school finance back to the local school districts. Why go back to a 1992 funding scheme when the intent is to educate our students for the 21st century?
A quality education is a sound economic development investment. The quality of our workforce is a direct result of the quality of our state's education system. As Kansas seeks to attract bio-science and other high-tech industries, those industries will be examining the state's commitment to providing a quality education.
This brings us to our fundamental belief. Have the investments Kansas has made in schools led to a better prepared workforce? The answer is a resounding YES. Will recent reductions in school funding, if maintained for the long-term, compromise our ability to prepare a quality workforce? Again, the answer is YES.
As educators, we envision each and every public school in Kansas is a safe and caring teaching and learning environment, with all the supplies needed to engage and motivate students to master the knowledge and skills they would need for success in life and career.
We envision a school system in which the educators have ample plan time; to review student work, provide substantive feedback, collaborate with colleagues, design compelling learning experiences, collaborate with students to meet their individual needs and interests, conference with parents and enlist them as part of a team. All of these, plus the caring commitment of teachers, prepares a quality workforce. More importantly, every child receives a quality education so they succeed and our state can grow and prosper.
Financially, KNEA's vision is a balanced approach to taxation that is equitable across income levels and across the state. No students should face a shortage of opportunities based on wealth or zip code. A comprehensive, high-quality education for every Kansan is the responsibility of the state.
Looking at the students in our classrooms, we see the next Steve Hawley, Amelia Earhart, Dwight D. Eisenhower or Velma Wallace. All children should have the opportunity to succeed. We are committed to making public schools great for every child. Moving back to 1992 funding makes his impossible. We call on schools, districts, policy-makers and the public to recognize that public education is an investment and to honor commitments to students ad to the professionals who work in our schools.