Though there are many things I love about Kansas, it’s the Sunflower State’s record of defying federal imposition that gives me the greatest pride in my home state. Earlier this month, Governor Sam Brownback penned a much-publicized letter stating that the people of Kansas have a right to express their “sovereign will.” I’m optimistic, then, that Kansan legislators will move to defund Common Core and its one-size-fits-all approach to education.
Like any state, Kansas and its communities have needs that are distinct. My Kansan neighbors are far more likely to share my daily experiences than a central body of public officials in Washington. Yet the Common Core initiative seeks to saddle educators from coast to coast with uniform goals and expectations. A centralized curriculum will make education less relevant to Kansan students by ignoring diversity of every kind.
Common Core casts aside social studies and science – allocating only 15 minutes a day to both subjects combined. Social studies and science were the best parts of my education as a Kansan public school student. It was my teachers in these subjects who most inspired me to study – and got me excited about coming to class again the next day.
Moreover, they often did so by appealing to Kansas’ rich environment and history. The Sunflower State’s identity is grounded in both its natural beauty and profound past – it is one of only a few states that emerged specifically from a socio-political struggle: the fight against slavery. If we wish to protect these wonderful aspects of Kansas’ heritage, it’s imperative that our legislators in Topeka act to keep Kansan education in the hands of Kansans.