Today, the Kansas Supreme Court issued their ruling in the latest school funding lawsuit in Kansas, Gannon vs. State of Kansas. The Court found schools must be financed to ensure every student, regardless of the property wealth of the community in which they live, is receiving an equitable education. The Court did not determine the level of funding, as they have in past cases. Instead, the Court directed our legislative leaders to follow our Constitution. Said another way, the Court directed our leaders to do what is right and just.
Today, every parent, every teacher, every student, every citizen is reminded of the critical importance of public education. Our Supreme Court reminds us that access to quality public schools, funded equitably for all children is not only essential, but also required by the Kansas Constitution. Journalist and TV News Anchor Tom Brokaw sums it up best,
“There is a place in America to take a stand: it is public education. It is the underpinning of our cultural and political system. It is the great common ground. Public education after all is the engine that moves us as a society toward a common destiny. . . It is in public education that the American dream begins to take shape.”
I am encouraged, as well as reassured, that our determination to ensure quality schools for all 460,000 children in our state is at the very heart of who we are as Kansans. Every community in our state depends on strong and vibrant public schools to educate its citizens, and to improve the future of our state. I am hopeful that this reminder will encourage our leaders to work toward solutions. Solutions that are right, just for all citizens, and essential for our prosperity. It truly is Up to Us.