I frequently am asked my thoughts on due process for teachers and I would like to elaborate on my position in this letter to my supporters. Later in this message I would like to share the endorsement of Linda Sieck, current president of NEA-Shawnee Mission and a teacher at Shawnee Mission East.
First, what is due process?
"Due process is a fundamental legal concept and practice guaranteeing that all legal proceedings such as termination from public employment, including teaching, will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings, an opportunity to be heard before the government entity acts to take away one's employment and a process such as arbitration to fairly determine the outcome of such a decision . It is also a legal guarantee that a law or action shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious."
In my opinion due process should be the right of every American worker, regardless of profession. It is particularly relevant in education in helping to assure that teachers have the academic freedom to teach our students within the parameters set by local school boards without the interference or intimidation of individuals who may wish to see a teacher dismissed based on the religious, racial, social or political bias of the individuals against the teacher.
I will strongly advocate for reinstating due process provisions removed in a punitive move against teachers by Governor Brownback and the Republican legislature. For decades, due process was a right guaranteed to all teachers across Kansas following a reasonable probationary period, usually three years, in the classroom.
Under the Governor's desire to privatize our schools, and with the full consent of his Republican loyalists in the legislature, most teachers were stripped of their due process rights in a punitive attack on them and their professional associations.
Without due process, teacher assessments can be unfair, biased, or discriminatory, based upon the personal, religious, social or political views of those doing the evaluating. Due process does NOT protect bad teachers. It protects good teachers from administrators or school boards who may wish to unfairly terminate a teacher for issues unrelated to the teacher's professional performance. Due process should be a fundamental right for all teachers and would be a major incentive and factor in attracting and retaining quality teachers in Kansas classrooms.
I am very proud to be the only candidate in District 21 to be endorsed by EVERY teacher and educational support organization working in, with or for the Shawnee Mission School District.
Highlighting my education resume is as follows:
--Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Kansas State University
--Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Kansas State University
--Two years as a full-time teaching assistant in the College of Education at Kansas State University, working with graduate students and student teachers
--Former Shawnee Mission teacher
--Classroom teacher for a total of 12 years
--Three-term Shawnee Mission-NEA President, who was on the negotiating team or in a leadership position that completed 10 successful collective bargaining agreements between Shawnee Mission teachers and the Board of Education.
I am the proud husband of a career teacher who spent fourteen years as a counselor at Shawnee Mission East. I am also the proud parent of a Shawnee Mission East graduate who attended Shawnee Mission schools K-12. I was an active PTA member at all of my son's schools and served as Treasurer on the Executive Board of the SME PTSA. Following my career in education, I was president of the Educational Foundation representing the public school, college and university interests of the region's high-tech industries.
My opponent has ZERO affiliation with the Shawnee Mission School District. I will use my decades of educational experience, academic training, expertise, coalition building and leadership to make sure our public schools are returned to their position of national prominence; a prominence that has been severely damaged by the Brownback administration and his Republican loyalists in the legislature.
Great public schools are the basis for the future well-being and success of our children, the value of our homes and the economic future of Kansas. My support for our public schools comes from years of experience, expertise and proven leadership. My opponent's support for public education is theoretical, unproven and subject to the same partisan politics and leadership that has made a shambles of our schools in Kansas.
Public education will be the number one issue in the next session of the Kansas Legislature and we must send a person to Topeka who has the experience, expertise, academic credentials and proven leadership to support our schools, our teachers, our parents, our community and most of all -- our children.
I am proud to be endorsed by every past president of NEA-Shawnee Mission for the past thirty years, including the current President and Shawnee Mission East teacher, Linda Sieck. Linda has this to say:
"Education is my top priority when I vote.That is why I support Jerry Stogsdill for the Kansas House. Jerry believes all students deserve a great public education no matter where they live. He knows our public schools attract businesses to our community and contribute to high property values. Jerry and his wife were both educators in Shawnee Mission and know first-hand how critical it is to adequately fund our schools. And finally, Jerry served as the NEA Shawnee Mission President, and he will continue to be an advocate for teachers in the legislature."
The bottom line is that I will fight for our teachers, our schools and the education of our children every day in Topeka as your representative. One week to go!
We are have now raised more than $4,000 of our $5,000 fundraising goal for the final month of our campaign. Support Jerry and help us make it to our goal before November 8th. And thank you to everyone who has generously contributed already.
Thank you for standing with me,