Don’t Confuse Means of Education for Its End

The other day, I noted that conversations about whether Kansas should have fewer school districts would inevitably focus on the wrong thing, such as whether consolidating districts would lead to the end of mascots (athletic teams), two rival towns having to send their kids to the same schools, or school employees losing their jobs.

For example, you’ll find these comments attached to a recent news article on the subject:

school consolidation only good on paper but it could effect small towns that depends on the schools for employment if they are consolidated, if this is the only way to save money let the community vote if they want to have thier local schools consolidated before its done by the state. I think that there is other ways to save money than consolidate schools.

Consolidating districts isn’t the only possible solution, and if the districts get too big, any cost savings might evaporate. On the other hand, the value of a discussion on consolidation is that it reminds us that as important as education is, running school districts as we have them now is a costly endeavor.

Providing children a chance to learn is the goal. We should be open to changing the means by which we do that as demographics, the economic climate, advances in technology and changes in preferences dictate.

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  • Charma Craven  On February 25, 2010 at 10:01 am

    We should have the right to vote. At our school, the board shoved us off into another district and the patrons did NOT get to vote. This is not right.

  • kansaseducation  On February 25, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Good point, generally, but what is it that you want to vote on? What do you mean by “shoved us off into another district?” Did your entire district consolidate with another? Were a specific group of students (say, those who attended a specific school) shuffled off to another district?

    In theory, you already have a voice in that the school board is elected. But clearly they can do what they want, which is why, as far as it is practical, I think parents and students ought to have the right to “vote” the dollars that are being expended on their account, whether at privately owned or publicly owned schools.

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