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Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
  • Kent Bush: Brownback's delay buys time

  • Governor Brownback still hasn’t signed the bill into law even though all indications are that he will
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  • There is nothing I love more than an employee who can tell me why they failed to complete a task only six months after I have had to spend every waking minute dealing with the results of their failure.
    I should really hire outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to work for me because that is what she has been doing for the past week after resigning her position.
    The fact that the Obamacare website wasn’t ready for prime time when it was supposed to be launched October 1, 2013 is the worst kept secret in the world. But Sebelius’ comments about that were shocking.
    "Clearly, the estimate that it was ready to go Oct. 1 was just flat-out wrong," she said. Whose estimate was it? Shouldn’t the HHS Secretary have known in advance?
    I’m sure the President would have loved a little notice so he could have avoided the most embarrassing few months of his tenure on the most important legislation of his presidency.
    Sebelius could be a long lost relative of Masters runner-up Jordan Spieth if awkward quotes are any indication.
    After missing his shot to win the Masters in his first attempt as a pro, the 20-year old Spieth had the funniest quote ever.
    “It stings right now,” he said. “I’ve waited my whole life to lead on Sunday at the Masters?”
    His whole life? He only learned to walk about 18 years ago. I still own and wear t-shirts that are more than 20 years old.
    It is a real testimony to his patience and perseverance that he stayed with it for more than 12 weeks before actually finishing as the runner-up at a major tournament.
    The kid is a good golfer, but I don’t think I would ask him to give me perspective on historical events.
    Speaking of perspective, I can’t believe it has only been a week since the Kansas Republicans passed a bill to remove due process rights for public school teachers.
    Governor Sam Brownback still hasn’t signed the bill into law even though all indications are that he will. Brownback skipped this year’s annual one-shot turkey hunt in El Dorado and, even though he has a line-item veto that could leave the school finance bill in place without removing teacher due process, there has been no indication that he will change anything. At least Brownback, unlike State Senators and Representatives who used late night meeting to add the measure to the school funding bill, is reading and trying to understand the bill and its amendments before he supports it.
    It is funny to watch the Speaker of the State House come to the realization that he was sold a bill he didn’t understand. After a week of misleading – also known as lying – to the entire state about the content and effects of the controversial bill, Speaker Ray Merrick of Stillwell recently told the Wichita Eagle, “Since the April 9 release of the education talking points, it has come to our attention that due to a miscommunication with the Office of Revisor of Statutes, a few of the talking points on teacher due process should be clarified.”
    Page 2 of 2 - It needs to be clarified to say that everything they said about the bill was wrong. The huge increase in funding is offset by enough cuts to other school programs that any positive impact will be minimal.
    And as the teachers had feared during the passage of the bill, anytime an administrator, superintendent or school board chooses to, they can be fired with no cause and no explanation.
    That may work in the private sector. But if you think you have job security with about 100 kids passing through your classroom each day and any one of them can have parents who have friends on the school board, you are not fit to teach.
    If teachers do decide to teach in Kansas, I bet they rent their homes. We will lose hundreds of better teachers to states who value public education.
    Merrick is right. Those points need to be clarified. The conservative think tank that wrote the measure knew that. It is too bad the legislators duped or incentivized into voting for it didn’t.
    Hopefully Brownback’s delay with his pen is really to give him time to read and then repair this poorly conceived, poorly achieved bill.
    If Brownback decides to go over the cliff with the rest of the lemmings, he will certainly feel the effects in November.
     
    Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com

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