Monday, March 26, 2007

So who really is responsible for Core Knowledge?

An item that didn't fit in yesterday's school board race story, puts district 4 candidate Cindy Duckett and Chip Gramke at odds. It starts out with a phrase in Duckett's literature that quotes Gramke. The quote said:

"Cindy was tremendously helpful in getting me the information [on Core Knowledge]," She did a tremendous job. If you look at the test scores of these two schools, it works."

Hold on says Gramke. That might not be entirely accurate.

"Did we discuss core knowledge? Yes," Gramke said in a conversation with the Hall Monitor last week. "Was she instrumental in starting the school? The people that were instrumental were Chip Gramke and Marty Marshall. They talked to the parents and pushed it through the board agenda."

Core Knowledge is a magnet concept for two schools in the district.

After calling Duckett for comment, a series of emails were sent out to school board members, including Gramke, and of course to the Hall Monitor. In one of them, she outline her exact contribution to the magnet concept:

"If asked, Chip may recall that I -- alone -- secured the donation of phonics and math textbook from Saxon Publishers in Norman, OK for every Bryant Core Knowledge student. He might also recall that I -- alone -- secured a large donation for the Bryant Core Knowledge library from Don and Faith Bell at Security Savings Bank in Olathe. He might also recall the numerous meetings at the UTW office with me, Greg Jones, Barb Fuller, David Payne and former school board member Marshall Jones to get this project going. Chip can be a sweetheart but I think his memory might be getting a bit cloudy."

Gramke, fellow board member Lynn Rogers, and businessman Fred Berry, will hold a press conference at 2:30 today in the 3rd floor boardroom in the central library. The gentlemen will endorse Duckett's opponent, Jeff Davis.

And in another twist Berry is listed as one of the contributors for CEO First, Duckett's non-profit that gives scholarships to low-income students to attend private schools.

Also on that list is at-large candidate Karl Peterjohn, the Kansas Taxpayers Network which Peterjohn heads, and state board of education member Steve Abrams.

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