“Blue Thoughts, Kansas Evolves…”

by on August 14, 2006

Dear BeyondChron,

I’m an AFSCME activist at our biennial International convention.

A year ago, after the Kansas Board of Education voted to dilute the science standards, I got engaged and found that Connie Morris had padded her state expense account on a Miami junket by about $3,000. She made immediate reimbursement when I presented my findings to the Board, but the majority protected her from prosecution. The dishonesty is what cost her the election and reflected badly on her majority colleagues.

The board had voted 6-4 to change the science standards to permit “alternate” theories to be presented alongside what they called “the religion of Darwinism.” Because of prior court decisions, they could no longer mandate the teaching of the pseudo-scientific “creationism,” so their aim was to substitute the equally ludicrous “Intelligent Design.” When they rewrote the standards, it was with a three person committee including Morris that heard from 25 witnesses of largely extremely dubious credentials, including dozens of “Christians” including “young earth” subscribers, plus one Turkish Islamic fundamentalist whose organization called the teaching of evolution a “Zionist, imperialist plot.”

Not only was the fundamentalists’ majority reversed, but they may lose one or two more seats in the November general election. The second seat they lost was to another moderate in another Republican primary when the ultra-right wing Kansas Republican Assembly imported the son-in-law of a retiring incumbent (and the brother-in-law of the KRA head) and he went down by 2,000 votes. He has quit his job and will be returning shortly to Idaho.

There were other issues besides evolution involved. The majority, especially Morris, was anti-immigrant, anti-bilingual education, anti-sex education, anti-world history, pro-voucher and pro-charter schools.

The swing to the left was not confined to the State Board of Education elections. In a race for Secretary of State, primary voters rejected Kay O’Connor the Senator famous for saying that women should have never been given the vote. She lost to a moderate Republcian, 73-27%. Another arch-conservative, Eric Carter, gave us his house seat to run for Insurance Commissioner. He got hammered, 61-39% by another
Republican moderate.

Frank Smith
Bluff City, KS

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