Topeka resident wants representatives, senator to vote ‘no’ on HB 2662

Dear Editor,

The Topeka Capital Journal February 26, 2022 issue’s front page had an article about Sabetha students asking “does Kansas have a state fruit?” This was such a “teachable moment,” and Sabetha teacher Jobi Wertenberger should be commended for capitalizing on using this moment to reach and engage all students. He led students to research. He invited their state representative, Randy Garber, to class to explain the legislative process for getting a state fruit. Students wrote persuasive essays to get “votes for their fruit” and then an election was held. This is teaching government (how to pass a law), research, language arts, botany (what grows well in KS soil) and civics all in the moment with a student led question was asked in February 2021. “We’ve had kids who have maybe struggled with other things in class, but they’ve been able to latch onto this,” Wertenberger said. “They’ve totally bought into this idea, and that’s what you love to see as a teacher.” In the meantime, legislators have proposed HB 2662 and SB 393 which, had they been effect, none of this could have happened because Mr. Wertenberger would have had to, in the summer of 2021, downloaded ALL teaching materials for parent transparency. The teacher could not have “gone off- script” when this teaching moment happened. The students would have lost out on this great project! March 7, 2022, HB2662 was referred to the Appropriations Committee. Now, Rep. Garber does not serve on these education committees, nor appropriations. So we do not know how he would vote on this bill. I encourage all Kansans let their senator and representative know this is not a good bill, and to vote NO when it reaches debate on the floor. If this had passed before Feb 2021, Mr. Wertenberger would have had to tell his class; “that is a good question, and next summer I will transparently put resources online and tell parents I will be teaching this – but it has to wait until parents are notified that we are going to talk about a state fruit.”

Chris Huntsman

Topeka

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