Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments on this blog are moderated.