School & District Management A State Capitals Roundup

Kansas Board Picks State Schools Chief

By Sean Cavanagh — October 11, 2005 1 min read

The Kansas board of education last week chose Bob L. Corkins, a well-known conservative policy advocate, as its new state commissioner of education, despite concerns about his lack of direct experience working in schools.

Mr. Corkins, 44, was appointed to the post Oct. 4, on a 6-4 vote, with a conservative majority supporting him and moderate members opposing the selection.

Mr. Corkins is the executive director of Kansas Legislative Education and Research Inc. and the Freestate Center for Liberty Studies, according to a statement released by the board. The organizations promote conservative policies on issues such as taxation, limited government, and school finance. Mr. Corkins will oversee a K-12 population of roughly 500,000 students.

His appointment was greeted warily by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, who issued a statement saying that government officials’ lack of expertise in areas they oversee had become a public concern in the wake of complaints of government incompetence following Hurricane Katrina.

“In light of their deep commitment to our schools, the people of Kansas will likely hold Bob Corkins to a very high standard,” she said, “given his unfortunate lack of background and experience in public education.”

A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2005 edition of Education Week

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