Listen up Kansans! On Tuesday, Governor Brownback is launching Road Map 2.0 Vision for Kansas! The Road Map 2.0h oh oh…echo echo echo (for dramatic effect) will be where Governor Brownback travels across Kansas explaining his grand plan for the great Kansas comeback.
Now we all know if this is a 2.0 that means there was a 1.0. If you are like me, you love a good sequel. Think about it. There was Star Trek and then Star Trek the Wrath of Khan. There was Terminator…”I’ll be back” , followed up by Terminator 2. Finally the Godfather and the Godfather II. Now we have Road Map 1.0 and Road Map 2.0.
Admittedly, not all sequels are grand slams. Does anyone even remember Legally Blonde 2 Red, White and Blonde? Didn’t think so.
I guess the first step is to jump into Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure time machine and travel back to 2010 to see what the Roadmap 1.0 looked like.
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the Kansas Road Map 1.0 from 2010:
- Increasing the state’s average net personal income beyond $34,500 a year.
- Increasing private sector employment.
- Increasing the percentage of fourth graders who read at grade level.
- Increasing the percentage of high school graduates in college or who are career ready.
- Decreasing the number of children living in poverty.
#1 – Enthusiastic applause for Governor Brownback. Looks like you did increase the average net personal income to $43,916 in 2013. I do believe in giving credit where credit is due so well done.
#2. For the private sector employment – my assessment is we are inching along. I will give this a slow clap instead of a big round of applause:
TOPEKA, Kan. – The State’s June seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, up from 4.8 percent in May and down from 5.6 percent in June 2013.
Kansas gained 15,000 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs, an increase of 1.3 percent since last year, and 18,400 nonfarm jobs, also a 1.3 percent increase. Since last month, Kansas gained 700 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs, a 0.1 percent increase. The state added 500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs, with no significant percent change.
“With another month of private sector job growth, Kansas continues its comeback from the recession, having now added more than 55,000 private sector jobs since January 2011,” said Secretary of Labor, Lana Gordon.
And here is where this 1.0 becomes a rotten tomato… #3 increase percentage of fourth graders who read at grade level.
From Jan 2014 – the Kids Count Data Center
Fourth Graders Who Scored Below Proficient Reading Level By Race
Year(s): All | Race: All | Data Type: Percent
|Black or African American||Percent||90%||82%||82%||82%||83%|
|Hispanic or Latino||Percent||86%||81%||81%||81%||80%|
|Asian or Pacific Islander||Percent||45%||57%||58%||57%||53%|
|Two or More Races||Percent||71%||62%||S||62%||60%|
#4 Increasing the percentage of high school graduates in college or who are career ready.
I will give a wee bit of credit for this one, because the graduation rate did rise from 83% to 85%, but scores in math and science declined. Another slow clap for success.
“State board member Ken Willard called the slip in math and reading results “discouraging, to say the least” and expressed concern about the persistent achievement gaps.” http://cjonline.com/news/2013-11-12/kansas-high-school-graduation-rates-rise-85-percent
Finally #5 – on this one we have a crash and burn just like the sequel Grease 2 (really Michelle Pfieffer?) Decrease the number of children living in poverty in Kansas. Drum roll please….
“The report, issued today by Kansas Action for Children, shows the child poverty rate has reached 23.15 percent, up from 18.11 percent five years ago.”
So overall 1.0 wasn’t a huge success. We have more kids graduating, but not doing well in math and science. We have more kids in poverty and our reading levels are dropping. Private sector employment is inching along. We all know that the great tax experiment just earned us a S&P downgrade. Who do we have to blame for all this? Well I’m sure if you ask Brownback he would say Obama of course. I say forget 2.oh oh oh and focus on a change in the leading role in the next election. I think we can all agree that sequels are never as good as the first movie anyway.