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Kansas Education Activists March From Merriam To Topeka

More than a dozen education activists are marching 60 miles from Merriam, Kansas to Topeka for the third year in a row to protest how the state funds public schools.

The walkers from Game On for Kansas Schools were greeted by hundreds of supporters in Lawrence Saturday. The group takes issue with the state legislature's decisions to fund schools through block grants and replace the old funding formula with an outcome based method.

This year is Game On member Devin Wilson's second time marching with the group. He believes that an outcome based funding formula wouldn't actually educate students, but merely prepare them for tests.

"It forces more of a 'teach to the test' mentality to just fudge test scores," Wilson said. "We've seen fraud with No Child Left Behind in some districts across the nation, so it's a flawed philosophy."

Lauren Van Wagoner joined Game On for the first time this year. Her daughter just started kindergarten and is on the the autism spectrum. Van Wagoner says she's worried about the effect potential cuts will have on her daughter's education.

"I have to fight really hard for her to get the things she needs," Van Wagoner said. "I'm concerned that, as we have more funding cuts, I'm going to have to fight harder because she needs more than other kids."

The walkers plan to arrive in Topeka Monday morning where they'll rally on the statehouse steps. 

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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