The Kansas Board of Eduction met January 9-10 in Topeka for its first meeting of 2024 and approved an expansion to the Kansas Early Learning Standards, which though not mandatory are endorsed by the state board with the intent of influencing early childhood care providers and parents of kids from birth to kindergarten, and are compiled with input from a host of governmental agency “partners.” Following is testimony from Jaime Raney of Spring Hill, Kansas, in opposition to the adoption of the new version of KELS. (Courtesy of freestatenews.net)
Testimony to Kansas Board of Education
Good evening members of the Kansas Board of Education,
My name is Jaime Raney. I’m writing from Miami County in Spring Hill Kansas.
I will not address all the deep concerns I have with the document known as KELS (Kansas Early Learning Standards) in this email but I’d like to quickly share a few.
KELS works to insert itself into the lives of every child and family in Kansas focusing on ages birth through 5.
Parents have the unalienable right to nurture and raise their children during this sacred time as they see fit without interference from the State.
If a parent deems support is needed, they should be able to seek professional services aligning with their values. Private and public options are already available. Children with other guardian situations can and do utilize these services currently.
KELS state that they’re not an assessment for children, families or programs but across 155 pages definitions and standards are provided for health, social emotional development, literacy, math, science and the arts (again ages 0 to 5) and what young children should know and do as a result of engagement with what is deemed a caring knowledgeable adult.
KELS commits to collection of data and encourages the sharing data across agencies without Legislative action.
Minor children cannot consent to or understand the implications of this data collection. Data that could stay with the child for the rest of their lives.
Who has control of this data? How many agencies have access? What data is being gathered and where would it be gathered from for babies and toddlers-would this come from private medical doctors, day cares, or families?
Citizens shouldn’t be compelled to share their private data. The State should protect the privacy of children and their families-KELS undermines this completely.
A “Multi-Tiered System of Supports” is to be put in place to implement the Standards.
What agencies would be involved in this and what would they be doing since KELS is not assessment or curriculum?
There are mentions of home visits. This is not the hallmark of a free society and we shouldn’t open our homes to the government.
What happens if families refuse these supports and voluntarily services or do not share the same values or views as the State?
Its been shared that the purpose of the Task Force was “ to reduce burdens placed on families”.
If the State is interested in reducing burdens, it should start by controlling itself.
Taxes should be cut and the State should also resist trying to grow the size and scope of most of its agencies, task forces and committees.
Many of the agencies involved with creating KELS will grow larger and have increased reach as a result of its implementation. They will speak hours about KELS benefits and provide studies to support their opinions.
I am positive, given the resources, time and inclination, that anyone could find a decent study to support whatever data set they’d chosen.
It is clear that State believes it knows best regarding the health choices, child care choices and the learning experiences that every Kansas child should have. This is a dangerous encroachment on the rights of families to guide and protect their own children.
While the government can require parents provide a minimum amount of care to protect and nurture children, it is not the place of the State to dictate how a parent does this.
Please support children and parents and vote to throw out these Kansas Early Learning Standards.