Call To Action–Where’s The Honor?

Where’s The Honor?

If you really want Common Core stopped in Kansas, then this is the week for you to fight like the dickens for what you want. All House leadership, House Education Committee Republicans, and YOUR representative need to hear (and read) your frustration with these shenanigans. This bill can still be saved, but it will take you and your best and continued efforts to get this done. You are the grass roots. Make your voices heard! At the bottom of this message is what we need you to ask for as well as a list of names and numbers.

Speaker Merrick purportedly sent HB2292 back to committee, after it had been passed favorably out on February 17th, to have language added clarifying AP. Representative Barton had already met with the revisor to draft that language, and had it ready for the meeting.

To start the meeting on March 18th, Chairman Highland called on Representative Grosserode who, after bringing up the same points she has brought up in previous years, had the revisors hand out and “idea – being conceptual in nature” to adopt as a substitute for the current language of HB2292.

Representatives Trimmer and Lusk were the first to be called on by the Chair. Multiple representatives were called upon to speak. Notably, Representative Trimmer spoke multiple times. Included in the discussion of the committee were multiple language changes. It was observed that Representative Barton even had his hand raised many times and was never called upon by the Chair.

By the end of the hour-long meeting, the committee asked for a couple of readings of the language of the substitute bill based on changes made per the comments of committee members. The members voted on a final reading of the language. It went from an idea/concept on paper to an oral reading of new language to passing within an hour. The language was never made available for public information or response. It was a complete Nancy Pelosi moment—“We have to pass it so we can find out what’s inside.”

The following were noted to have raised their hands in support of the substitution language: Grosserode, K. Jones, Hutchins, Rhoades, Hedke, Macheers, Lunn, Bruchman, and Bradford. Then, the same members voted the bill favorably out of committee.

On Friday, March 18th, 2016, the House Education Committee gutted a five-page bill and action that you have supported and elected people to vote for for multiple years, and substituted it with a PARAGRAPH that was not seen prior to Friday’s committee meeting, was written within an hour, and passed favorably based on an oral reading. It is clear that legislators are not serious about removing Washington D.C. education from Kansas. It was clear that the members were going to vote favorably for whatever motion Amanda Grosserode brought.

The Education Establishment (lobbyists, teacher union members and administrators being paid by YOUR tax dollars) has been putting in overtime, flooding your legislators with calls, cards, and emails. Even the PTA is promoting Common Core! We know you have been calling, as well. But, as you will see below, your legislators—especially the Republicans you elected to bring conservative principles—are only responding to the Establishment. Take note of the legislators’ actions from Friday, and unless they act to reverse their mis-informed actions, remember it this coming November. Make sure your dissatisfaction is heard at the voting booth.

Briefly, the new bill language does not address Kansas College and Career Ready Standards and all its alignments and entanglements, including assessments and data. THE NEW BILL LANGUAGE IN NO WAY AFFIRMS PARENTAL RIGHTS TO DIRECT THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATION.

It is noteworthy that while Amanda Grosserode sports a libertarian label and is “known” for her high ratings on the Freedom Index (as several fellow legislators like to bring up), she has never proactively brought any legislation since being elected to office to remove Common Core and all its entanglements and aliases from the state of Kansas. She has repeatedly, and during every legislative session with pending Common Core legislation, bemoaned the difficulty of the Common Core issue and how there just isn’t any perfect way to address it and how there are never “the votes” to do anything about it.

Her talking points have never changed. Representative Grosserode has consistently brought amendments to the committee at the eleventh hour. These are never available for public review prior to their presentation, and are always effectively used to kill legislation that would actually remove Common Core and all its entanglements from Kansas.

As well, she has stayed far away from addressing anything in regard to the massive and intrusive data collecting and profiles being amassed on kids at the state level. This data collection is required as one of the four assurances agreed to when Governor Parkinson agreed to bring Common Core into Kansas. Not surprisingly, Representative Grosserode homeschools her kids. From her desk in Topeka, she has been able to protect her kids from the things public school kids have no protection from. Does she view the protections she desires for her own children differently than those she desires for other parents’ children? She has never brought any anti-Common Core legislation at the beginning of the session; she only brings eleventh hour legislation to kill other legislation.

While many members of the legislature espouse their dislike of Common Core and their commitment to having it removed, as you can see, when it comes to actually doing it, they can only coalesce around killing legislation or passing essentially do-nothing legislation.

HB2292 was drafted over several months of work by a committee that specifically crafted the legislation to be in accordance with the Kansas Constitution. In recent weeks, THOUSANDS of Kansans have SIGNED PETITIONS in favor or HB2292. This is in addition to years of the public telling the legislature (through phone calls, emails, rallies at the capitol, statements made at campaign events, testimony submitted in support of anti-Common Core legislation, previous petitions signed, etc.) to end Common Core and all its entanglements in Kansas. The actions of legislators are contrary to what Kansans elected them to do and continue asking them to do.

THE ONLY VIABLE ACTION AT THIS TIME IS FOR THE LANGUAGE PASSED ON 3/18 TO BE REMOVED AND THE PREVIOUS BILL LANGUAGE BE RE-INSERTED. CONSTITUENTS MUST DEMAND THIS OF THEIR LEGISLATORS AND THEN LEGISLATORS NEED TO BE OVERT IN DEMANDING THIS HAPPEN, AND INSIST THEIR VOTE BE PUBLISHED. ONLY THEN WILL CONSTITUENTS KNOW FOR SURE HOW TO EVALUATE THEIR LEGISLATOR ON THIS ISSUE FOR THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS.

+Speaker Ray Merrick
785-296-2302
ray.merrick@house.ks.gov
+Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast
785-291-3500
peggy.mast@house.ks.gov
+Majority Leader Jene Vickrey
785-296-7662
jene.vickrey@house.ks.gov
+Assistant Majority Leader Mario Goico
785 296-7663
mario.goico@house.ks.gov
+Majority Whip Willie Dove
785 296-7677
willie.dove@house.ks.gov
+Education Committee Chair Ron Highland
785-296-7310
ron.highland@house.ks.gov
+Rep. Tony Barton
785-296-7522
tony.barton@house.ks.gov
+Rep. John Bradford
785 296-7653
john.bradford@house.ks.gov
+Rep. Dennis Hedke
785 296-7699
dennis.hedke@house.ks.gov
+Rep. Becky Hutchins
785-296-3971
becky.hutchins@house.ks.gov
+Rep. Kevin Jones
785 296-6287
kevin.jones@house.ks.gov
+Rep. Kasha Kelley
785 296-7671
kasha.kelley@house.ks.gov
+Rep. Jerry Lunn
785 296-7675
jerry.lunn@house.ks.gov
+Rep. Charles Macheers
785 296-7675
charles.macheers@house.ks.gov
+Rep. Marc Rhoades
785 296-7671
marc.rhoades@house.ks.gov

Find your representative HERE.

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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