Parents Getting Organized to Fight for Education in Kansas

A Letter to the Editor of the Lawrence Journal World from Judith Deedy, executive director, Game On for Kansas Schools, Mission HillsJanuary 27, 2014

To the editor:

In a recent column, Dolph C. Simons Jr. asked who is fighting for public education. As he noted, educators have been doing so for years, though their advocacy is labeled self-interest. There are also some true pro-education legislators in the trenches.

But there is a growing movement of parents and other concerned citizens. Game On for Kansas Schools is a nonpartisan effort to increase participation in education funding and policy issues. Kansas PTA, Kansas Families for Education, Schools for Fair Funding, Save Olathe Schools, Andover Parents Legislative Council, and Defend the American Dream — Kansas Public Schools are other active groups. Parents in Goddard, Derby, Lawrence and other cities are also getting organized.

The Kansas Association of School Boards and its members are working to ensure Kansas maintains its strong public schools. Other groups include education among their core issues, including MainStream Coalition, True Blue Women, Reroute the Roadmap, and League of Women Voters. The Kansas Health Institute and Kansas Center for Economic Growth provide education policy analyses. These groups are alarmed by cuts to operating budgets and increasing demographic and outcomes demands on our schools (which contrast with some politicians’ reports of education spending and failure to acknowledge cuts).

So the answer, Mr. Simons, is many people. We face obstacles, but we’re here, and we’re getting organized and louder. We’re advocating for our children and our neighbors’ children because we understand the essential nature of a strong public education system. Please listen to us and join us.