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SPOTLIGHT
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Getting a closer look at charter schools

Published on -2/13/2013, 8:12 AM

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On Friday, members of the Senate and House Education committees embarked on a field trip. As a classroom teacher for many years, field trips were always great adventures in learning.

We visited Walton Rural Life Center in Walton and Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City to get a firsthand look at charter and technical schools. Early learning models and post-secondary technical education have been an important issue for the administration.

Francis Tuttle Technical Center features half-day programs in which students can choose to specialize in many different skills including the culinary arts, auto and mechanical work, nursing, or computer science.

These half-day programs allow students to spread their time evenly between core education requirements and post-high school education. We learned students participating in these programs have a 7 percent dropout rate, which is significantly lower than the average.

Walton Rural Life Center is a charter school within the Newton Public School district that focuses on project based learning. Students are encouraged to have ownership in their education through projects such as raising chickens and selling the eggs. It is a farm with chickens, lambs and a greenhouse for grades K to 4. The students are able to score highly on state assessments by engaging in hands-on learning raising their animals and selling their produce.

* * *

I continue in the role of state coordinator for the "We the People" program in Kansas. "We the People" is the most extensive nationwide program dedicated to teaching young people the principles and history of the United States Constitution. Questions range from "What implications does the decision in Marbury V. Madison have for judicial review in the United States?" to "How does the Fourteenth Amendment limit the federal government?"

The state competition Monday will determine which school competes nationally in Washington. Many of you will remember I served as the coach for five teams from Hays High School that competed. I am convinced this program changes lives and inspires citizenship. (I even had the honor of leading the House in the Pledge of Allegiance last week.)

* * *

I recently had the honor to co-sponsor HB2199. In 2006, Kansas passed its first concealed-carry bill. Since then, more than 55,000 law-abiding Kansans have applied and been granted the constitutional right to protect themselves. In Kansas, owning a firearm is much more than concealed carry. We hunt, we target shoot, we exercise our Second Amendment guarantee in numerous ways.

HB2199 will protect the rights of all Kansans by making any federal law that attempts to restrict gun rights unenforceable in the state of Kansas.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions. I enjoy hearing from you on the topics we are debating here in the Statehouse, and your feedback is crucial to me. The best legislation involves a collaborative effort between the people and their representatives. Please feel free to call me at (785) 296-4683 or email me at sue.boldra@house.ks.gov. Thank you for the honor of serving you.

Rep. Sue Boldra, R-Hays, represents the 111th District in the Kansas House. sue.boldra@house.ks.gov

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