Lessons from the Election

Lessons from the Election

Alliance for Freedom Gubernatorial Mailer

About three weeks before the election I started collecting, as opposed to tossing, campaign postcards that were mailed to my house.  After the election, I looked back through
them, curious about the message that moved voters. As I reviewed the literature, one thing leaped off the pages: EDUCATION! The candidates clearly believed that the key to winning state-level elections was to convince people that they love Kansas schools and educators more than their opponent.

My collection consists of 16 mailers. Over the three weeks before the election, every single mailer was about education. 100%! There was nothing about any other issue.I am surprised that it didn’t occur to me before. (I might have been distracted by the national race flyer with the flowers sprouting out of the shotgun. That thing still intrigues me for some reason.) I wonder if others had the same experience as me, or if the campaign targeting has become so sophisticated that they were able to pinpoint that education (and flower-sprouting shotguns) is the most important issue at my house?

Let’s assume that the campaigners aren’t quite that good yet, and that education really was the key issue in this election. What messages did the winning candidate want voters to hear? (I only included the winning gubernatorial candidate’s messages because he obviously did a better job of understanding and communicating the key points.) The following is a list of headlines or highlighted quotes from the mailers in my collection (The categories are mine.):

Quality Schools
*Kansas schools are
fifth best in the country

*Support the Governor’s
budget that helped make Kansas schools the fifth best in America.

*(Kansas) rated best
based on criteria such as student-teacher ratios, test scores, and school
safety.

*Quality schools create
opportunities for Kansas students.
Adequate Resources
*Increased overall
state school funding
*Education is a top
priority with the (Kansas) budget
*…an increase of $270
million (in school funding) since 2011
*School funding has
increased every year during Governor Brownback’s administration
*$129 million more for
schools and education
*State school funding
has increased every year— nearly $400 million more than 2010.
*Invest in our students
*School funding bill a
huge win…
Alliance for Freedom Gubernatorial Mailers

*$5.9 Billion K-12
Funding

Quality Staff
*More teachers better
pay
*280 additional special
education teachers
*600+ new teachers
statewide
*676 more educators in
Kansas
*First permanent teacher
raises in 5 years
*Teacher salaries up
2.3%
Quality Programs
*236 percent increase in
technical education enrollment
*Increased literacy
funding by $20.8 million
Local Governance
*Increased local
control
*Local parents,
teachers, and educators know what is best for our children—they should be
making decisions about out kids futures.
The lesson from the election is clear:
  1.    
Kansas has great schools.
  2.    
Great schools require increasing financial
resources
  3.    
Great schools require more and better-paid
teachers.
  4.    
Local control is important to quality
governance.
Kansas board members will debate and vote on KASB
Legislative Positions for the 2015 Legislative Session in the following categories at our
at the Dec. 7 Delegate Assembly:

  1. RAISE STANDARDS FOR SUCCESS.
    Continue to improve educational outcomes by raising standards for students,
    educators, schools and districts.
  2. FINANCE FOR SUCCESS. Provide
    constitutionally suitable funding for continuing educational improvement in all
    districts.
  3. LOCAL LEADERSHIP FOR SUCCESS.
    Strengthen responsiveness to parents and community needs under locally elected
    boards and school leadership.