My response to a column our local right wing representative wrote in the Ottawa Herald June 7:
I would like to respond to Representative Kevin Jones’ article on June 7, 2016, Herald Opinion Page. Representative Jones asserts it is the parent’s responsibility to educate their children. He is correct. The majority of parents in Kansas, and for that matter the nation, have elected to have their children educated within a public education system, where those who can afford to pay for an education and those who cannot afford to pay have equal opportunity to quality education paid for with public tax dollars. In Kansas our Constitution states that education should be financed in a fair and equitable way. Meaning rich and densely populated school districts and poor and sparsely populated areas shall have access to same or similar education regardless of where they live. This results in some of the wealthier districts paying some of the poorer districts costs of public education.
The argument at the Legislature going on with the Supreme Court concerns what is fair and equitable as well as what is adequate funding. In the courts’ opinion, the amount allocated to the schools is not being fairly distributed. They will rule on the amount which should be distributed in a separate opinion later this year. The right wing of the Republican Party is upset that the court disagrees with their approach to funding public education.
The conservatives in our legislature are waging war on public education. However education is not the only thing they are waging war on. The poor, elderly, and the mentally ill will all be left to fend for themselves but that is for another time and another column.
The Constitution has spoken. The Supreme Court interprets the Constitution. Fortunately, the United States government is a representative government, made up of three equal but separate branches. They monitor each other and are all guided by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has no political agenda, they are only responsible to the Constitution for making sure the administrative/executive branch and the legislative branch adhere to the Constitution. Elected officials such as Kevin Jones take an oath to uphold the laws and the Constitution when they are sworn into office. They should not have influence or unusual powers over a fair and impartial court system. They are not above the law.
Mr. Jones and his ilk, following the governors’ lead do not like anyone to disagree with their main contention that government is bad and paying for government is really bad. There are those of us who think it necessary that education be shared with equal opportunity to all no matter their station in life. What would we devolve into if we did not all have access to a suitable education? The rich would have an advantage over the poor in gaining a basic education which would eventually lead to almost a caste system. Mr. Jones should take a basic civics class to better understand the limits of power built into our representative government. It sickens me that a person of his basic lack of respect for our great system can rise to represent our region as well as be elected to his local school board. Fox watching the chickens? It is good that we have a choice come election time.
Tom Weigand – interested citizen and believer in a government of laws not people.