Wait a minute – Lynn Anderson didn’t have any back-up singers, let alone the Supremes. Diana Ross never, to my knowledge, sang “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden…” OK, you got me, I wasn’t talking about THOSE Supremes. I was talking about the Kansas Supremes, and in fact they DID promise us a Rose garden, but not that kind of rose.
By now you have either given up or your interest is piqued. For those of you still with me, most people know that the Kansas Supreme Court ruled on the Gannon case last March. The ruling asked for immediate relief on equity in funding, and remanded the issue of adequacy of funding back to the three-judge-panel.
In its directions to the three judge panel, the Court said the focus should not be about trying to find a specific number for adequacy, rather it should be about determining what is necessary to meet something called the Rose Standards. By its action, the court made the Rose Standards the gold standard for measuring suitable education funding in Kansas.
In an interesting twist few would have predicted, the Kansas House and Senate agreed with the Court and put the Rose Standards in HB 2506. Because of controversy surrounding other aspects of the bill, the Rose Standards got little attention. When the Governor signed the bill, media attention focused on money, due process, tax credits, and licensure. There was little mention of education standards. The fact that the Kansas Supreme Court, the Kansas House of Representatives, the Kansas Senate, and the Kansas Governor all agreed on something would seem to be newsworthy?
So what are these Rose Standards? If you attended one of the KASB Advocacy Tour meetings, you know that there are seven:
- Sufficient oral and written communication skills to enable students to function in a complex and rapidly changing civilization;
- Sufficient knowledge of economic, social, and political systems to enable the students to make informed choices;
- Sufficient understanding of governmental processes to enable the students to understand the issues that affect his or her community, state, and nation;
- Sufficient self-knowledge and knowledge of his or her mental and physical wellness;
- Sufficient grounding in the arts to enable each student to appreciate his or her cultural and historical heritage;
- Sufficient training or preparation for advanced training in either academic or vocational fields so as to enable each child to choose and pursue life work intelligently; and
- Sufficient levels of academic or vocational skills to enable public school students to compete favorably with their counterparts in surrounding states, in academics or in the job market.
School leaders are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these standards and consider what challenges exist to meeting them. Is your district meeting them now? Do they truly represent what our students need to know and be able to do? Do you have the resources necessary to provide programs to help students achieve these standards?
We have been promised the Rose Standards by the Supreme Court, the Legislature, and the Governor. We need to provide them the appropriate attention.