HB2292 Run Down with Commentary

The House Education Committee vote on HB 2292 to repeal Common Core was last Friday, March 20th. The bill did not pass out of the committee. This important topic affects more than 470,000 Kansas children and families, has a direct impact on the education budget (50% of Kansas’ overall budget), and has been a consistent issue that legislators (including the Governor) admit to hearing about often from “the people.” Tragically, your elected officials are not acting on this issue based on the VERY CLEAR message they hear from you.

Prior to Friday’s vote, proponents of HB 2292 were given exactly 45 minutes during one scheduled hearing day—45 minutes to discuss the many complexities and concerns about Common Core. The liquor licensing bill received 3 days of hearings. No questions were allowed at the hearing for HB 2292. No informational meetings were offered, as suggested by other committee chairs. That’s the best that could be done for Kansas kids??! Here’s a summary of the meeting on Friday the 20th, a meeting that was for the purpose of “discussion and possible action on HB 2292”:

The bill was reintroduced and a reviser delivered a brief summary of the bill. Without ANY discussion of HB 2292, Amanda Grosserode (R)-Lenexa, introduced an 11th hour “substitute” bill. Understand that Rep. Grosserode, who herself commented on her lengthy tenure on this committee, has never proactively put forth a bill to be fully vetted by the public and the legislature. This bill was only introduced in opposition to other proposed legislation. And, it was not even made known to the public until being introduced at this meeting. In fact, the words “Common Core” were not even in her substitute! This substitute did not even call for new standards until 2017, and even then, as pointed out by committee members, “This substitute just maintains the status quo. Why adopt it?” Ultimately, the vote on this distraction did not pass.

Here are some of Rep. Grosserode’s comments made at the meeting (our comments are in italics):
• Difficult topic and issue; have current concerns about the standards
• The “way” we have gone about this (referring to HB2292) has failed to move the needle at all
• She met with the revisors the day prior to this meeting to draft her proposed substitute bill
• Her substitute:
o Recognizes the current system in play
o New standards would be in place in 2017 (Two more years of kids under Common Core standards and the aligned curriculums and assessments. That’s her best proposal?)
o The legislature must adopt/approve the new standards (This is the only part of her proposal that we agree with. It is in HB2292. It’s interesting that Rep. Grosserode’s prior claim of this aspect being “unconstitutional,” and being subsequently rebutted by Sec. Kobach, became a part of her proposal.)
o The substitute calls for reverting to 2010 standards in 2017 if the legislature does not adopt/approve the new standards developed through the normal process. (Since the proposed substitute bill does not explicitly state that Common Core and all its alignments must be removed from Kansas, then what prevents the new standards to be approved in 2017 from being Common Core standards with another name on them? This is what has happened in other states that passed legislation. HB2292 was written to be constitutionally sound and ensure Common Core is truly gone.)
o Must take into account the Rose standards.
o There are some good things in the Common Core standards.

Comments by Rep. Bradford in support of the proposed substitute include:
• Plan to use the existing system to get rid of Common Core
• We will have “new Kansas standards” (How the existing system –under which Common Core was adopted– is supposed to remove Common Core and ensure new standards is not understood.)
• The “perfect” bill will only die in committee
• This substitute is a bill that gets the job done and gets bi-partisan support to get it out of committee

Ultimately the vote on this distraction did not pass.

Understand that while no specifics were ever offered, either at this hearing or in the two months this bill had been made public, assertions are lobbed out there to, in our opinion, cause confusion and inaction. This is a common tactic used by people to take down the opposition when they don’t want to or can’t openly discuss an issue.
These types of assertions include (and were heard at the meeting):
“The committee hasn’t heard from those affected, specifically the students.” (Again all your calls, emails and visits haven’t counted?)
“The bill won’t pass because of its flaws.”
“I don’t know too many that are more conservative than I, but I must deal with other legislators.”
“There’s a wide range of disagreement on HB2292.”
“Am going to pass ‘something’ out of committee.” (It’s easier to vote for “something” that does nothing.)

Additional comments made at the meeting:
“Coordination between the state school board members and the legislature will get Common Core gone.” (Great, agreement between the KS school board members who are staunchly pro-Common Core and a legislature that won’t take on Common Core. How exactly does that remove Common Core?)
“Want KS kids to know what kids from other states do.”
“Are we not supposed to teach kids to count to 100?”
“One size doesn’t fit all. Common Core meets that challenge. It differentiates. Teachers and schools get to decide what to do.”
“Common Core is the first time teachers have been able to teach critical thinking.”
“Kansas College and Career Ready Standards IS Kansas standards, not Common Core.”

Next, John Bradford (R)-Lansing presented two different amendments, both of which did not pass and had little to do with actually repealing Common Core or protecting our kids. After about an hour and a half, time which could have been spent discussing Common Core’s predatory nature and the merits and questions regarding HB2292, there was an abrupt call to vote on the bill (HB 2292). Someone “seconded” the motion just nanoseconds later. The obviously orchestrated plan to kill our bill– before it could be duly considered– continued. Before any real discussion, the vote was allowed to proceed. HB 2292 did not pass. The vote was 10-7 (with one abstaining).

Here’s how they voted:

J Barker (R) (Abilene) –no
T Barton (R) (Leavenworth)-yes
S Boldra (R) (Hays) –no
J Bradford (R) (Lansing) – yes
C Bridges (R) (Wichita) – no
R Bruchman (R) (Leawood) – no
D Dierks (R) (Salina) – no
W Dove (R) (Bonner Springs) – yes
J Ewy (R) (Jetmore) – no
A Grosserode (R) (Lenexa) – yes
D Hedke (R) (Wichita) – yes
J Lunn (R) (Overland Park) -yes
N Lusk (D) (Overland Park) – no
C Macheers (R) (Shawnee) – yes
M Rhoades (R) (Newton) – abstained
C Smith (R) (Pittsburg) – no
E Trimmer (R) (Winfield) – no
V Winn (D) (Kansas City) – no
Chair- Highland (R) (Wamego) – (did not vote)

Regarding the “yes” votes for HB 2292 by two members of this committee, Amanda Grosserode and John Bradford, both were approached repeatedly by this board (early and often) to seek their support for HB 2292 and to iron out any language issues, so as to secure a viable Common Core repeal bill this session to protect Kansas kids. They refused to offer any honest, substantive critiques; instead they listened to detractors who spewed false claims like, “It isn’t constitutional,” and “It will result in a lawsuit by the school board,” or “It will have a $100M fiscal note” – sensational stuff. Politics. It was, from January on: “We don’t have the votes in the house to pass this,” or “We don’t have the votes to pass this out of committee.” Our efforts to meet with them, hear their concerns, and work to favorably pass HB2292 out of committee were not met by them. Instead, they worked to not support HB2292 and offered a LAST MINUTE bill and amendments, and urged fellow committee members to join in support of these changes, to kill HB2292. They did vote “yes” to pass HB2292 out of committee, but considering everything they did prior to prevent its favorable reception and success, it’s difficult to think that it was truly a vote in favor, but rather a “cover” vote.

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We Are Fired Up. Are You? You Will Be…Read On!

ACTION ITEMS at the END

March 23, 2015
Ok, Parents.

Here’s what has happened. The long and short of it is our legislators continuously find every reason and means to NOT remove Common Core from our kids’ schools.
The TRUTH is: They CHOOSE not to act.
The TRUTH is: This is just one of many issues that may or may not get their attention, and well, maybe next year.

Although last year was an election year and the Governor didn’t want anything controversial, so it couldn’t happen then.
The TRUTH is: They all admit, including the Governor, this was the one consistent issue they hear about from the PEOPLE of this state.
But, they “Don’t have the votes”?
But, we “Can’t pass it out of committee because we don’t have the votes on the floor”?
But the thing that makes me the MOST enraged, right now..is MY KIDS having to deal with Common Core on a DAILY basis. EVERY DAY, I have to watch my kids live and breathe Common Core. EVERY DAY is one more piece of them affected by Common Core. The people in Topeka DO NOT FEEL that and most certainly DO NOT care that REAL KIDS are dealing with this EVERY DAY. My KIDS, your KIDS come behind their posturing and their un-informed minds and their personal agendas and their political tactics.

Do you know that very FEW legislators have kids in public schools?
Do you know that very FEW legislators have kids young enough to currently be in K-12 school?
Do you know that nearly all legislators with kids young enough are either homeschooling or sending their kids to non-public school institutions?

Do you know that, even on the Education Committee, legislators have not personally taken the time to find out what’s REALLY happening in classrooms all across the state? They call their sons or daughters to find out how they should vote! Or they call their religious leader connections! Or they spew “talking point” verbiage we all know isn’t true, like, “Kansas College and Career Ready Standards are named such because they were developed by Kansans”!

Do you know that legislators openly admit to “following the direction” of other legislators, so “if you want me to vote differently, you need to get with ‘the one’ I am following.” And when we attempted on MULTIPLE occasions to do just that, the “leader of the pack” wouldn’t meet?
Do you know that the “leader of the pack,” a homeschooler by the way, who believes that not all Common Core materials need to be removed from schools, therefore nearly all attempts go “too far” in removing Common Core, believes that we have to protect the state’s ability to collect personally identifiable data on children, and believes that you, the parent, should not have the right to determine the programs that are best for your children, just as she does in personally deciding what is best for hers?

Do you know that the “leader of the pack” worked to actively kill this bill
by saying things about it that are not true (thank you Sec. Kobach for your clarification),
by saying that “The votes aren’t there,” and
by introducing an 11th hour substitute bill that, as pointed out by committee members, “pretty much maintains the status quo.”

THIS ONE PARTICULARLY BURNS ME:
Do you know that, just today, a legislator said that we needed to ”Get more parents to the capitol” in order to sway legislators to change their vote?
After ALL the phone calls and ALL the emails (most of which we were told they just delete without reading) and ALL of you who DID GO TO THE CAPITOL and ALL of you who have worked tirelessly in your communities to inform others of what is happening to our kids, they have the audacity (FB prohibits me from using more appropriately strong language here) to say that?

The TRUTH is: Our legislators are not truly HEARING you and acting accordingly.
The TRUTH is: They will act according to what THEY think should happen, leaving you, the parent, at their mercy, with NO RIGHTS to control and direct YOUR CHILD’S education.

We are working on the next steps in this crusade to extract, through the legislative process, something that never had to go through a legislative process to be brought into our state.
We will not sit down or be quiet or stop. We can’t.

As a parent,
I will continue taking steps to never allow my child to take any of the assessing tests.
I will continue to not approve my child’s participation in academic technologies that track and mine data on my child.
I will continue to actively employ interventions to counter the social mind-wrangling my kids experience at school every day.
I will continue to COMMUNICATE my DISSATISFACTION with my legislator’s inaction to my legislator.
I WILL HOLD MY LEGISLATOR ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS LACK OF ACTION.

Blessings to you all in your own heart-felt wrestling and day-to-day battles with this.

I will not stop, because I cannot.

KACC

ACTION ITEMS:
1. Call the Governor’s office frequently and tell him to rid this state of Common Core. 785-296-3232
2. Call Speaker Merrick’s office frequently and tell him to rid this state of Common Core. 785-296-2302
3. Call your own representative. List here: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2015_16/chamber/house/roster/
TELL THESE PEOPLE WHAT YOU WANT AND TELL THEM FREQUENTLY! Tell them you’re tired of the baloney and that NOW is the time to take care of Kansas kids, teachers, and parents. Let them know that you are watching what they do and what they say, and in state government, the next election is always just around the corner!

Thanks, and never give up!
KACC

P.S. OPT OUT OF STATE TESTING TODAY!

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A BIG THANK YOU!

Whoops…I think we had some sort of technical glitch or maybe a gremlin or something…So, I’m re-posting this…sorry for the inconvenience!

Hi Everyone-
We are still working to bring you some information, but we want to be very sure that what we bring you is accurate. We want to bring you information about the vote itself and also any possible future action items. So, please, hold tight.
In the mean time, we want to reach out to Rep. Tony Barton of Leavenworth to say THANK YOU for his courage, his commitment, and his character! Of all the members of the House Education Committee, this past Friday, Rep. Barton was a stand-up guy. We are grateful that he believes in his convictions and that he is willing to stand by them, no matter what. We at KACC thank him and we encourage you all to do so as well.
Rep. Barton can be reached at 785.296.7522 or tony.barton@house.ks.gov. Please, take a moment to send Rep. Barton an email or make a quick call to let him know how much you appreciate him.
thank-you-flower

Getting Down to the Wire–II

Hi Everyone-

**The vote is at 10:30AM on Friday in room 112NS.** (Yes, that room is correct!)
Update: We have added a name to the list below…

We have reports that there are lots of calls and emails making it to a number of House Education Committee members. This is outstanding. Good work, troops! But, you’re not done yet. MORE, MORE, MORE are needed, so please, forward this on to every Kansan you can think of and ask them to take action…again and again!

It is getting down to the wire in committees to pass bills so that the full House has a chance to act on them. We only have one week left for this to happen. So, here’s what we need from all of you, and more!
1. Call/email the House Education Committee Chair, Ron Highland at ron.highland@house.ks.gov 785-296-7310. We are asking that you be polite, but firm (i.e. use your “mom voice”) in asking him to:

  • Make public the date for the vote.
  • Record all votes (so we all know who votes how).
  • 2292 and NO SUBSTITUTIONS!
  • 2292 is a SOLID and VETTED bill…so support it!

2. Call/email House Speaker Ray Merrick ray.merrick@house.ks.gov 785.296.2302. Please be polite, but firm. Let him know that:

  • “We the people” don’t want a substitute.
  • “We the people” do not support an 11th hour substitute.
  • “We the people” are watching our legislators closely and expect our voices to be heard and acted upon.
  • 2292 is a SOLID and VETTED bill…so support it!

3. Call/email Rep. Bradford at john.bradford@house.ks.gov 785 296-7653. Here, we are asking that you be polite, but assertive (I would say more like a firm “teacher voice”). The messages he must hear:

  • He’s been saying he’s been trying to get rid of CC for three years, and here is his perfect chance and it seems he won’t take it. Make sure to point that out.
  • HB2292 is a SOLID BILL…so support it!
  • It is not right that he’s holding back 2292.
  • Let the FULL HOUSE see the bill and let them decide what to do with it.
  • Voters who care about this are paying attention–he’s getting hundreds of calls/emails in support of HB2292 and he needs to do the will of the people. That’s his job!
  • “We the people” do not want a substitute.
  • Constituents in his own district are on board as they are signing a petition to support 2292.

4. Call/email Rep. Grosserode at amanda.grosserode@house.ks.gov 785-296-7659. Again, polite but assertive.

  • She’s been saying she’s against CC for a while and she home schools. So, now is her chance to put her money where her mouth is and SUPPORT HB2292 as it stands, no amendments.
  • Voters in her own district are overwhelmingly supporting HB2292 as it stands. Is she with her constituents or against them? Does she think her voters will remember what she does or does not doe here come election time?
  • Kansas could be a leader here. We could be marching to the beat of our own drummer. Does she want to be a leader or a follower? Let the FULL HOUSE decide this, not just her.
  • 2292 is a SOLID BILL and her constituents expect her to SUPPORT IT!

Remember, if this doesn’t make it out of committee next week, we are stuck with CC in Kansas for another year! These people MUST hear from us, over and over again. We know you guys have been working the phone lines and the emails, but we must keep pushing and pushing. Please, don’t stop now!
Thanks!
KACC
bluephone

Getting Down to the Wire

Hi Everyone-

We have reports that there are lots of calls and emails making it to a number of House Education Committee members. This is outstanding. Good work, troops! But, you’re not done yet. MORE, MORE, MORE are needed, so please, forward this on to every Kansan you can think of and ask them to take action…again and again!

It is getting down to the wire in committees to pass bills so that the full House has a chance to act on them. We only have one week left for this to happen. So, here’s what we need from all of you, and more!

1. Call/email the House Education Committee Chair, Ron Highland at ron.highland@house.ks.gov 785-296-7310. We are asking that you be polite, but firm (i.e. use your “mom voice”) in asking him to:

  •      Make public the date for the vote.
  •      Record all votes (so we all know who votes how).

2. Call/email Rep. Bradford at john.bradford@house.ks.gov 785 296-7653. Here, we are asking that you be polite, but assertive (I would say more like a firm “teacher voice”). The messages he must hear:

  •       He’s been saying he’s been trying to get rid of CC for three years, and here is his  perfect chance and it seems he won’t take it. Make sure to point that out.
  •       HB2292 is a SOLID BILL…so support it!
  •       It is not right that he’s holding back HB2292.
  •       Let the FULL HOUSE see the bill and let them decide what to do with it.
  •       Voters who care about this are paying attention–he’s getting hundreds of calls/emails in support of HB2292 and he needs to do the will of the people. That’s his job!

3. Call/email Rep. Grosserode at amanda.grosserode@house.ks.gov 785-296-7659. Again, polite but assertive.

  •      She’s been saying she’s against CC for a while and she home schools. So, now is her chance to put her money where her mouth is and SUPPORT HB2292 as it stands, no amendments.
  •      Voters in her district are overwhelmingly supporting HB2292 as it stands. Is she with her constituents or against them? Does she think her voters will remember what she does, or does not do here come election time?
  •      Kansas could be a leader here. We could be marching to the beat of our own drummer. Does she want to be a leader or a follower? Let the FULL HOUSE decide this, not just her.

Remember, if this doesn’t make it out of committee next week, we are stuck with CC in Kansas for another year! These people MUST hear from us, over and over again. We know you guys have been working the phone lines and the emails, but we must keep pushing and pushing. Please, don’t stop now!

Thanks!

KACC

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Call to Action: Sec. of State Kris Kobach Says HB2292 IS Constitutional

Legislators in Kansas have been INCORRECTLY asserting the unconstitutionality of HB2292 and there have been sabotage attempts on the bill. Some have been trying to derail the passage of this bill out of committee. This letter just received from Sec. Of State Kris Kobach is the highest confirmation that HB2292 IS CONSTITUTIONAL and these LEGISLATORS NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. Call them and tell them you expect them to PASS this bill to the full House to rectify THEIR MISREPRESENTATION of HB2292. It IS and always HAS BEEN a VIABLE, SOUND BILL!
IF you email, make sure your subject line is NOT forwarded and clearly indicates what you are emailing about. Please keep emails short and sweet. Emails are good, but calls are better–MANY of them!
Representatives
BRADFORD–District 40 LANSING, KS
785 296-7653
john.bradford@house.ks.gov
BARKER—District 70 ABILENE, KS
785 296-7674
john.barker@house.ks.gov
BRUCHMAN–District 20 LEAWOOD, KS
785 296-7644
rob.bruchman@house.ks.gov
GROSSERODE—District 16 LENEXA, KS
785 296-7659
amanda.grosserode@house.ks.gov
KrisKobachLetter315

Opting Out in Kansas

Some parents are a little concerned about opting out their kids from state testing in Kansas. The Kansans Against Common Core website did obtain a letter back in 2013 from then Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker. It is posted on our Kansans Against Common Core website under the “Opt Out” tab. As far as we know, that statement she made is all still accurate. In other words, just because we have a new commissioner does NOT mean that parental rights in Kansas have changed. We site the Kansas Constitution below, as this is the base for the 2013 DeBacker letter.

If you want to opt out your kids from state testing and administration at your school refuses your request, simply ask that person to show you the law that says you cannot opt out your kid. Guess what…there is NO LAW in Kansas that says that! Also, remind the person that you are the parent and that this is the decision you have made for your child and that you are exercising your rights under the Kansas Constitution (see below).

Honestly, normally principals are pretty good about this. I deal with three different principals. When I presented opt out forms at the beginning of the year to two of them, they signed the form on the spot, no questions asked. The third wanted to check with the superintendent, and that resulted in a letter directly from the superintendent that states that my child is opted out until I say otherwise. Translation: I don’t have to do all of that again next year because his opt out is permanent unless I choose to change it. So, it was a win-win. Most principals are good people, but sometimes, you have to stand your ground. Just remember that this is YOUR kid. YOU are responsible for your child, so don’t back down if this is something you believe in.

Parental Rights in Kansas
STATE LAW – Protected
Kansas law explicitly protects parental rights.
Kan. Stat. Ann. § 38-141
(b) It shall be the public policy of this state that parents shall retain the fundamental right to exercise primary control over the care and upbringing of their children in their charge. It is further the public policy of this state that children shall have the right to protection from abuse and neglect. (See also Kan. Stat. Ann. § 620.010

Finally, it’s NOT TOO LATE TO OPT OUT!  State testing will begin VERY soon, so time is important. You must not delay any longer. Get this done right now! Then, next year, remember to take care of it in the fall when school begins. The best time is at a back to school night or at an enrollment event. You are protecting your child. This is what good parents do. If there was a Siberian tiger in the room with your kid, you’d do something about that, right? Well, even though state tests will not literally maim your kid, they are nonetheless dangerous. I’ll save all those reasons for another post! OPT OUT NOW! 🙂