Will Kansas Slip Back Into the Past?

With everything else going on this election season, little notice is being paid to the Kansas school board whose 5 out of 10 seats are up for grabs. Currently there is a 6-4 moderate/liberal majority. Two of the staunchly conservative seats will be voted on and are expected to remain conservative. But there is concern over the other 3 which are mod/lib. Based on preceding elections, the conservatives lose out to public outcry, but in the intervening years, apathy sets in.

Evolution and the yo-yo effect

Voters took exception and the board changed hands after the 2000 election, sending Gamble to her first term. By 2002, however, apathy had set in and the moderates lost a seat, resulting in a 5-5 deadlock. Then two years later, conservatives gained a majority, and soon the board was sponsoring widely publicized hearings on evolution.

Abstinence-only sex ed was also on the agenda, and the conservative majority hired a commissioner of education with zero qualifications for the job but a warm feeling for school vouchers.

Voter outrage ensued and, once again, the balance shifted in 2006.

But as Gamble mentioned, nothing is ever “fixed” with the state board for longer than one election, and control could yo-yo again. Added to the equation above is the expectation that conservatives are expected to hang onto their four seats, including the two up for a vote this year. Both incumbents – Republicans Steve Abrams and Kathy Martin -- are running.

So, Kansas, are you going to get your act together or would you rather Intelligent Design rule the classrooms?

Vote, dammit!

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