Oppose SB 196 (neo-charter bill)

We testified against SB 196, a “neo-charter” bill. As this piece explains, “The short list of speakers in favor of SB 196 last week included Wade Moore, Pastor of Christian Faith Centre in Wichita, and Darlene Cornfield of the Northfield School of the Liberal Arts. Pastor Moore’s church bought the former Mueller Elementary School building last summer, and plans to turn it into the Urban Preparatory Academy of Wichita – a charter school. Northfield School is a religious institution, and advertises that their students pray together. Northfield describes its science department as a place where students ‘…renew their wonder at God’s wisdom.’ . . .
Article 6(6)(c) of the Kansas Constitution reads ‘No religious sect or sects shall control any part of the public educational funds.’ SB 196, if its supporters are any indication, seems to encourage the exact opposite.
The only notable non-religious testimony in support of the bill came from the Kansas Policy Institute, a group that predictably supports anything which undermines worker’s rights and defunds public services.
Testifying against the bill were the Kansas National Education Association (a.k.a., public school teachers), Kansas Association of School Boards, Game on for Kansas Schools and the Kansas PTA (a.k.a., parents of public school students), the MainStream Coalition, the Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators, Unified School Administrators, and the school districts of Trego County USD 208, Blue Valley USD 229, KCK USD 500, Topeka USD 501, Goddard USD 265, Wichita USD 259, Bucklin USD 459, and USD 327.
Our legislature needs to listen our professional educators, elected school boards, and the parents of public school students. Our legislature needs to follow our state constitution, and keep our public schools public. Our legislature needs to put Senate Bill 196 back where it belongs – in an early grave.”

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