The New York Times and Paul Decelles point out that wingnut Kansas Board of Ed. member Kenneth Willard is running unopposed to be president of the National Association of State Boards of Education. Willard’s faults include voting for and strongly promoting the atrocious science standards last year. He beat Jack Wempe and Donna Viola in last year’s elections.

Paul Decelles explains the problem:

Willard says that his disagreement with Darwin has nothing to do with the association’s work. And personally if I felt that Willard could be impartial and genuinely interested in education, OK.

But remember, he is part of the same group that wasted thousands of tax payer dollars, not to mention thousands of man hours, on sham evolution hearings in 2005. And he voted for a poorly qualified candidate, Bob Corkins, to be Commissioner of Education in Kansas.

The thing is, Paul actually understates the case. Willard didn’t just vote for Corkins, he fired the NASBE (the group he’s about to preside over) because they didn’t recommend Corkins. The Board had hired NASBE to run the search for an education commissioner. They then complained that the NASBE wouldn’t let them look at all the applications, and tried to rejigger their selection criteria, presumably for the benefit of the conservative’s favored candidates.

In a letter to the Kansas Board, the NASBE executive director stated:

I have conducted and participated in Chief searches for more than 15 years and I have never agreed to have applications out of a controlled environment. It violates the most fundamental principles of personnel practices. I want it to be clear that I had no problem with the Board changing the scoring matrix, but with the decision to have the applications withdrawn from a controlled environment which was unacceptable.


I framed our letter of withdrawal in a way that I had hoped would also not reflect negatively on the Board. I was deeply disappointed then to be disparaged in the press and not treated with the mutual respect I extended to the Board.

That lack of respect would include Ken Willard’s comment that the NASBE “didn?t serve us well,” and that they dropped the ball. History shows that the Board, including and especially Willard, “didn’t serve us well,” and the selection of Bob Corkins, a man with no educational background, was a prominent example of their failures.

In his new position, Willard would be able to screw up school administrations in all 50 states.


  1. #1 Paul Decelles
    May 23, 2007

    Thanks for filling in the details! I’ll put and update on my entry with a link to this.

  2. #2 JMart
    May 24, 2007

    Kansas Families United for Public Education strongly opposes Ken Willard’s candidacy to head the NASBE. After the story broke in the New York Times, we sent the following letter to the editor, which to date has not been published:

    Our organization wishes to make it clear that Kenneth R. Willard of Kansas does not have the backing of the majority of Kansas residents in his quest to become the new president-elect of The National Association of State Boards of Education (May 19 story).

    Because of the activities of people such as Willard, many Americans think of Kansas as a backward state populated by anti-science zealots. This is not the case, as the 2006 elections made clear when Willard?s short-term majority of anti-evolution crusaders was soundly defeated.

    As the leading parent-based education advocacy group in the state, Kansas Families United for Public Education has played a key role in rallying to action the majority of Kansas residents, who are overwhelmingly supportive of science, technology and educational excellence.

    Our Kansas-based organization wholeheartedly supports the write-in campaign on behalf of Sam Schloemer of Ohio for the post of president-elect of the NASBE.

    John Martellaro
    Kansas Families United for Public Education

  3. #3 Mousie Cat
    May 24, 2007

    Hey, Josh, I blogged about this, too.
    You got something against cat blogs? Huh?
    I notice you used to have a mouse on your blog.
    You pro-mouse and anti-cat? Huh? Huh?
    Sure we leave hair all over the place and up-chuck on the carpet, but we still deserve equal consideration in the blogosphere. Here’s a link to my blog about Willard. I don’t know how to use HTML tags. I’m a Mac person. As are all cats.

  4. #4 Cheryl Shepherd-Adams
    May 26, 2007

    Good insights, Josh. Since Willard felt that NASBE “didn’t serve us well,” what does he have in mind for change as he becomes president-by-default?

New comments have been disabled.