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SPOTLIGHT
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Useless pursuits

Published on -9/18/2013, 9:52 AM

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It might be difficult to find a more futile political exercise than the U.S. House of Representatives' repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but Kansas Republicans are trying.

The state party's central committee adopted a resolution last week denouncing Common Core, the standards adopted by Kansas and 44 other states to set reasonable benchmarks for K-12 public schools. Such a resolution eventually will become part of the GOP's platform, which means the next legislative session will take on the topic again.

There were multiple attempts to repeal Common Core in the last session, including a last-minute desperate pitch to derail the budget compromise. Democrats simply don't have the numbers in Topeka to thwart such legislative nonsense; it took reasonable minds within the Republican Party to stop the anti-Common Core constituency.

Who comprises this persistent bloc? Certainly not teachers, administrators or anybody else in the field of education. They helped craft the standards. The Kansas State Board of Education approved Common Core in 2010 and it currently is being phased in statewide.

We would offer those opposed to Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards include the same group of individuals that historically has advocated equating creationism and Intelligent Design with science. The group has become larger with the addition of tea party supporters who are against anything supported by President Barack Obama.

Kansas GOP state chairman Kelly Arnold said: "The biggest objection to it is we lose control over what we're about to teach our students in Kansas."

The resolution also claims the state BOE adopted the standards "without meaningful input from or even effective notice to Kansas parents, teachers and other taxpayers."

Neither is true, unless you believe the Kansas Legislature should decide what the Kansas Constitution grants the state board of education.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out next year. Perhaps the next wave of Republicans to get targeted by the governor and the state party will be those who believe public school students need to be taught facts. The party's resolution doesn't call for any replacement ideology, it simply doesn't want Common Core. Or science standards that include evolution as a proven theory.

In the meantime, local boards of education will be approving curriculum changes and textbook purchases that fall in line with Common Core. If ultra-conservatives keep up the attempt to derail or defund the standards, they'll be seen in the same light as their national counterparts who keep voting against Obamacare.

Kansas voters will have the final say on how long they'll tolerate such nonsense.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

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