Thursday, July 07, 2005

 

Letter to Kansas Legislators

I returned from vacation to find the state of Kansas public education worse than ever. Below is the text of an e-mail I sent to several legislators. Oddly enough, at least 12 of them had turned off their e-mail. I have since received several sketchy e-mails from many of them, assuring me they voted for funding and omitting any references to the Constitutional amendment they attempted to pass.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

The failure of the legislature to adequately fund public schools can only be interpreted as an attack on our system of public education.

The legislature should not need to be reminded that public schools, but not private schools, serve the democratic ideals of this nation. The great leaders of our past knew that a public system would provide for an educated citizenry, which they regarded as essential to the proper functioning of a democracy. A public system also helps to knit together people of many different backgrounds into one culture, one way of life, the American way.

The failure of the legislature to fund schools as provided by the state constitution slaps the faces of our founding fathers. Moreover, it feeds the paranoia of people who believe the Republican party is bent on dismantling all government services not related to defense. But worst of all, it hurts the children.

Those same children will be the doctors and nurses who will care for the current members of the legislature in their old age. You may think they will be glad of an extended summer vacation. But when they are grown, and realize the true costs of your mistakes, they might resent your inability to resolve this crises. They may wonder why you sacrificed the future for short term political gain.

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