Fact Check - Brownback

Fact Check - Brownback

 

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Fact Check – PAC Ads for Brownback 

Ads appearing on television and Facebook to promote the re-election of Sam Brownback claim he is responsible for either “600+ new certified teachers in our classrooms” or 680 new teachers, including 281 special education teachers state-wide. I queried Kelly Arnold of the Kansas Republican Party about the ads. I was thankful for a courteous, prompt answer in which he replied, “I might not be the best source on this as the ad is from a PAC and not from the party.  I look at this as 600+ new teacher positions have been created in Kansas and classrooms would be K-12 public schools.”Therefore, without contacting the PACs, I decided to use the Kansas State Department of Education web site to fact check the claims in the ads.

 

Kansas Certified Teachers –  K-12 Schools

 

 

 

School Year

2010/2011

2013/2014

 

Category

F.T.E.

F.T.E.

Increase/Decrease

                 Practical Arts

1,271.3

1,378.6

107.3

           Special Education

3,841.4

4,121.9

280.5

            Pre-Kindergarten

514.8

504.3

-10.5

                 Kindergarten

2,511.7

1,827.4

-684.3

             All Other

26,074.0

26,116.2

41.4

 

 

 

 

State-wide Totals

34,214.0

33,948.4

-265.6

 

 

Note: F.T.E. = Full Time Equivalency

The above table of KSDE K-12 school data verifies an increase of 281 special education teachers from the school year in which Brownback was elected as Governor to the last full school year during his term of office. There is however no explanation in either the ad or the KSDE table as to the reason for the increase. There are several possible explanations: an increase in the number of special education students: the number of such students with an Individual Education Plan requiring a lower teacher/student ratio, i.e. autism spectrum students; teacher aides and others attaining special education certification and special education certified teachers transferring from the All Other category into Special Education. Since a great deal of the funding for special education comes from federal funds, it is likely that Brownback’s involvement was in connection with acceptance of the federal grant on behalf of the state.

The above table does not support the claim of 400 more certified teachers in addition to the 281 more special education teachers. Actually, the table shows that 149 more teachers in the categories of Practical Arts and All Other are more than offset by 695 fewer Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten teachers for a net decrease in these categories of 546 teachers. Overall, the net decrease in all categories is 265 certified teachers. Where the Brownback ads come up with the number of roughly 400 additional teachers is suspect, certainly it is not from the creation of new teacher positions as reflected in the above KSDE table.

It is interesting that Brownback’s Roadmap 2.0 makes no mention of expanding kindergarten availability and affordability in a manner similar to his proposal prior to the 2014 Session of the Kansas Legislature. It is especially telling that a concern for education is lacking as witnessed by the devastating loss of kindergarten teachers. In this regards, as in many other ways, Kansas public educational resources are going backward. It will be up to Kansas voters to rectify the situation this coming November 4th.

David Warren, Co-Founder of the Moderate Party of Kansas PAC

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