‘School choice’ is culture-war focus for Kansas lawmakers


Instead of a Florida-style “don’t say gay” bill, Kansas Republicans are trying. To help parents pull their kids out of public schools for a “sexual awakening agenda.”
Instead of pursuing a version of what critics say are Florida’s “don’t say gay” laws. Top Republican lawmakers in Kansas are focusing on getting conservative parents to remove. Their children from public schools for what critics say. They teach about gender and sexuality.

'School choice' is culture-war focus for Kansas lawmakers

A proposal to allow parents to use state tax dollars for private. Or home schooling was available online Tuesday. A day after a committee on K-12 spending introduced the measure in the House.

The role comes as funding and lesson planning for public schools have. Become hot button issues for conservative politicians nationwide. Lawmakers in Iowa approved a similar law last week. And at least a dozen states are considering similar legislation.

The funneling of public funds towards private schools is not a new concept. But it has gained new steam after the outbreak. Of the coronavirus pandemic due to parental concerns. About masks and vaccines. The issue has also been fueled by opposition. To how some schools handle lessons about topics such as gender. Sexuality and race.

Critics of the bill say it takes much-needed money away from public schools.

When Kansas’ Republican-controlled legislature began its annual session earlier this month. GOP leaders planned to tackle what Senate President Ty Masterson called. A “sexual awakening agenda” in how public schools discuss sexuality and gender identity.

Masterson, a Wichita-area Republican, said he wanted to pursue a measure. That would limit what schools can teach or discuss in these subjects by grade level. Much like the Florida law passed last year.

But when asked about such a measure last week, Masterson appeared to change direction. “We’re talking about school choice.” He told The Associated Press on Monday: “Maybe ultimately. The only way to manage this is to, well, make choices for parents.”

The House proposal is the brainchild of state Rep. Krist Williams. Another Wichita-area Republican, who chairs the K-12 Appropriations Committee. He expects the hearing to be held next week.

His bill would allow parents to apply to set up a state-sponsored. Education savings account for each of their children. Setting aside the current amount of state aid per student for state public schools. That’s $5,103 for the 2023-24 school year, an amount that will increase as state aid increases. Parents will receive 95% and the state will use the rest to cover administrative costs.

Kansas already grants income tax credits for donations to scholarship funds. So academically at-risk students can attend private schools. A program Republican lawmakers want to expand. But across the United States. Conservative lawmakers argue that tax dollars should be tied to students, not “systems.”

Williams called her plan the “perfect answer” to parents frustrated with. What public schools teach about the effects of gender, sexuality or racism in U.S. history. Currently, he said, parents can’t change schools if they can’t afford the extra costs.

“But with choice, it gives freedom to choose the best and most appropriate education. The best and most appropriate environment,” he said. Public education groups and Democratic lawmakers argue. That such proposals would take money away from state K-12. Schools for private and home school facilities. They reject Masterson’s characterization of public. Schools as “factories for a radical social agenda.” And argue that GOP conservatives are trying to destroy public education.

State Rep. Jarrod Ousley, a Kansas City-area. Democrat whose wife serves on the local school board. Said public schools help build communities.

“It’s the fabric of our nation,” Owsley said.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly strongly opposes a plan introduced. In the House His major education initiative resulted. In a 61% five-year increase in spending on public K-12 programs for students with special needs.

Republicans have legislative power that would allow them to override Kelly’s veto. Though GOP leaders have found it difficult to keep Republicans united on education.

Meanwhile, advocates of private and home schooling argue that parents want more choice. Because they are unhappy with remote schooling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fallon Love, a Wichita resident who manages finances for restaurants in many states. enrolled her 7-year-old son as a second-grader at Urban Preparatory Academy. Run by the non-denominational Christian Faith Center in Wichita.

Love said he was “intimate” with the academy.

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