Its Not Complicated, Local is Better… (Apologies to AT&T and karate ninja’s.)

Its Not Complicated, Local is Better… (Apologies to AT&T and karate ninja’s.)

“A Phi Delta
Kappa/Gallup Poll reported that nationwide, 64 percent of respondents wanted
more local government influence on schools, while only 24 percent
said there should be less.” 
For a student at the
University of Kansas, being from Hutchinson was considered being from “western
Kansas,” or as we referred to it “God’s country.”  I got closer to learning the truth about the
westernmost meridians when I taught government and history at Bazine Jr.-Sr.
High School.  But it wasn’t until I moved
to Leoti as superintendent that I really knew how far west Kansas goes.  At the time, Leoti had the westernmost Kansas
stoplight on highway 96. 
Teaching government
and history, I thought I knew something about politics, but Leoti taught me the
real meaning of Tip O’Neil’s famous statement that “all politics is
local.”  Being superintendent one sees
the pride of community and begins to really understand the Kansas value of
local control.  I remember our
Representative (a Democrat) and Senator (a Republican) talking to me about
solving problems at the lowest level.  It
made sense then, and it continuous to stick with me. State interference isn’t needed
in local matters. Local control is a Kansas value.
Kansas has a history
of rugged individualism.  We stepped up
and fought against slavery. We formed communities to help us be more
efficacious in tough times.  Those
communities grew strength from hard-times in the depression, the dust bowl,
WWII, and the divisive 60’s.  Every
community did this in their own way. 
Every community set their own standards and solved problems in a unique
manner.  The state helps with resources,
but making decision has always been best when done at the local level.
Our system of local governance is being challenged now by
some members of the state legislature. 
Through HB 2227 and SB 211 we see a move to change election times,
methods, and structure.  Some legislators
want to add party politics to the local mix, move election dates, and change
representative voting plans.  State
politicians want to meddle in local government.
Local officials
consistently trump state and federal representatives when it comes to the trust
and confidence of the general population.  Surveys consistently say that
the electorate supports their local officials, including those they send to
Topeka and Washington, far more than the state’s as a whole.
 A Phi Delta
Kappa/Gallup Poll reported that nationwide, 64 percent of respondents wanted
more local government influence on schools, while only 24 percent
said there should be less. An Ohio study done by Fallon Research
found that 65 percent of respondents said they had the most trust and
confidence in their local school board, by far outpacing their governor,
legislature, and state school superintendent combined.  
Local control is a
Kansas value.  Unwarranted interference
from the state level will create less focus on local issues and more on party
positions and litmus tests.  Take a
minute and contact your legislator to tell them how you feel about
state-imposed changes on your local governance structure.