It’s unfortunate and ironic that debate over education often is based on emotion, not facts.
The State Policy Network summed it up best: “The facts are on our side, but we’re not in a fact-based fight. We’re fighting a battle against decades of entrenched beliefs.”
Twenty years ago, Florida implemented a wide-ranging public education reform that improved student achievement from being one of the worst-performing states to one of the best. During the same time, Kansas dramatically increased education spending with virtually no increase in student achievement.
After showing the incredible results that Florida schools were able to achieve after enacting their reforms, our friends at the Kansas Policy Institute proposed three major policy reforms for the Kansas education system:
- Accountability: Establishing an A-F grading system for each public school in Kansas.
- Transparency: Making curriculums and materials used in the classroom accessible to parents.
- Choice: Establishing school choice programs that allow funding to follow the students so Kansas students can attend the schools and programs that best serve their needs.
By providing Kansans with clear, easy-to-understand reforms and proof of those reforms’ benefits, KPI began important conversations around finally reforming Kansas schools. KPI reached over 1.4 million people using social media and email from June 2021 to May 2022. They grew their Facebook audience by 13% and earned more than 140,000 views on their documentary over 6 months.
Their influence and reach positioned KPI to introduce meaningful reforms to Kansas parents and voters. They were able to elevate the reform discussion to encourage elected officials to enact those reforms for Kansas students.
Since every SPN partner is responsive to the needs of their state every SPN partner priority is important. However, campaigns like Kansas Policy Institute’s “Giving Kids a Fighting Chance” is especially meaningful because as Governor Jeb Bush said in KPI’s documentary, “If you’re an [elected official], what are you doing if you’re not reforming the things to assure that the next generation has a fighting chance?”