podcastED: SUFS president Doug Tuthill interviews Kansas state Rep. Kristey Williams on expanding education choice

On this episode, Tuthill talks to the chair of the Kansas House K-12 Education Budget Committee about the education choice landscape in her state. After attempting to create the Sunflower State’s first education savings account during the last legislative session, Kansas lawmakers settled for an expansion of the existing tax credit scholarship program for all students in grades K-8 who are on the federal free and reduced-price lunch program threshold.

Tuthill and Williams discuss session negotiations and the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s education system. A former educator, Williams says she intends to keep pushing to expand education choice in future legislative sessions out of her belief that democracy is strengthened when families have the freedom to select the learning environment that best meets their needs.

“We never lost faith – we knew we would have to pare down our loftier goals, but it worked out well … It’s our job to re-educate and to make sure we emphasize over and over that it’s about the kids.”

EPISODE DETAILS:

  • The education choice landscape in Kansas
  • Behind the scenes of the legislative session and negotiations that took place between the Legislature and governor
  • Struggles with getting rural politicians to support expanding choice and how education savings accounts could benefit rural communities
  • COVID-19 and its impact on Kansas’ education system
  • Plans for legislative expansion of choice in Kansas