Congress makesd aid too expensive
The Kansas Legislature opened its 2006 session with yet another report stating it isn't spending enough on education.
There isn't anything shocking in the new report from the Legislature's own post-audit division except a finding that even by the standards advocated by conservative lawmakers K-though-12 education is shortchanged by at least $316 million in direct state support to school districts. That is $26 million more than the $290 million in increases the Legislature approved last year under pressure of a Kansas Supreme Court ruling.
The $316 million shortfall represented what the post-audit division found would be necessary to provide "basic" education in reading, math and science. The report found $399 million was needed to get students to a "proficient" level required by federal No Child Left Behind legislation. Both figures grew substantially when pension and local tax increases were included.
Once again, a report from the Legislature's own department using ground rules conservatives established found education to be under funded by a minimum $319 million. That same report found that to meet the unfunded mandates of legislation ushered through Congress by a conservative president requires nearly $400 million more in state education funding.
The last points suggest No Child Left Behind is forcing the state to cut its losses as far as federal education dollars are concerned. To do otherwise would have the state spending an additional $81 million in direct funds to school districts more than needed to provide a basic education so districts can meet the standards required by the No Child Left Behind act so Kansas remains eligible for $175 million in federal funding. Moreover, the state spending will need to go up and the standards become stricter in coming years. At some point this makes no sense, especially when educators insist all public schools will eventually fail because of the impossibility of all students testing at proficient levels no matter their limitations.
Clearly, Congress needs to fund No Child Left Behind as promised, and their position should be a question asked of all congressional candidates this year.