Thursday, December 18, 2014

TYSON: New legislative session begins

By CARYN TYSON, Kansas State Senator | 1/20/2014

As the 2014 session begins, the ruling on the school funding lawsuit could be announced any day.

A Jan. 16 Wall Street Journal article makes some excellent points, noting, “If there’s one certain conclusion from the last 30 years of education reform, it is that more money doesn’t yield better student results. But you wouldn’t know it from the debate in Kansas, where activists are trying to get the state Supreme Court to overrule the legislature and spend at least $500 million more a year on schools.

As the 2014 session begins, the ruling on the school funding lawsuit could be announced any day.

A Jan. 16 Wall Street Journal article makes some excellent points, noting, “If there’s one certain conclusion from the last 30 years of education reform, it is that more money doesn’t yield better student results. But you wouldn’t know it from the debate in Kansas, where activists are trying to get the state Supreme Court to overrule the legislature and spend at least $500 million more a year on schools.

“This is a test of democracy with national resonance. The Kansas Constitution requires that ‘the legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.’ In 2005 the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in a similar challenge that state aid to local school districts was insufficient and must rise to $4,400 per student. This is in addition to the $3,000 state aid per student for special education and other programs and on top of what local school districts spend.

“Eight years later, spending has risen but test scores are flat ... Apart from the [Obama] stimulus, which was never meant to be permanent, Kansas school appropriations have risen slowly but steadily every year.”

Drone use

Last year, I introduced a bill that would restrict the use of drones to monitor and/or record without a land owner’s permission. The senator who chairs the Natural Resource committee has agreed to have a hearing on the bill. We all have been hearing and reading what records the federal government is collecting through the National Security Administration. One of the Republican senators in Washington recently said that to secure our safety we might need to give up a little of our freedom. That reminds me of something one of our nation’s founders, Benjamin Franklin said: “If you trade freedom for security, you deserve neither and will lose both.”

I am doing my best to protect your freedom on the state level. I don’t care to be politically correct, but I am working to be constitutionally correct.

 

Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, represents Franklin County and the 12th District in the Kansas Senate. Email her at Caryn.Tyson@senate.ks.gov or call (785) 296-6838.

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