Governor Brownback’s response to lower test scores was “real education reform” is needed. We’ve had five years of Brownback education reform. Those reforms have been massive cuts to school budgets resulting in four day weeks, larger class sizes, and the elimination of summer school for our most vulnerable students.
The Brownback mantra of doing more with less simply is not working. Look at our children’s test scores. When resources were increased to the classrooms after the Montoy decision in 2005, achievement noticeably increased. In 2005 68.6% of our children scored proficient on state math assessments. By 2011, after the Montoy moneys had impacted the classroom, 85.4% were proficient. Money makes a difference.
Additional resources allowed more of our children to achieve proficiency… almost 17% more kids making the grade. This is over 75,000 more Kansas children with brighter futures. Recent test scores have begun to show the effect of the Brownback assault on our schools. Withdrawing resources from classrooms causes achievement to go down. This should not be a surprise.
Regardless of how loudly the Brownback administration yells that they have provided more money to the schools, the facts show otherwise. Additional funding to the state retirement system at the expense of our classrooms is not good for our kids. We are now leaving even more kids behind. The future trend will accelerate in a downward spiral. Doing more with less is simply not realistic. If we want what the constitution guarantees our children, the state must live up to its constitutional duty and adequately fund the schools. Our children are entitled to no less.