Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Calling Yourself a PhD Makes You Truer

Monday, January 9, 2017

Calling Yourself a PhD Makes You Truer

The Leavenworth Times will apparently believe anything you say if you put this behind your name "PhD." The paper recently printed a letter to the editor written by a Ruth Heflin, "PhD." In the letter, she suggests that regular citizens need to do math, because Kansas spends way less than 50 percent on public education. She writes that the state spends between 9.7 percent to 36.9 percent of its budget on public education, or $587 million of a $6 billion state budget. 

I don't have a PhD so take this with a grain of salt, but a quick glance at the Kansas Department of Education website reveals that the state spent $3.9 billion on public education last year, or $8,540--in state aid per pupil. That figure doesn't include money from federal and local. When those numbers are included, Kansas districts spent $13,025 per pupil. 

She quotes a Kansas per pupil expenditure of $9,972 from Governing Magazine. Admittedly, I know little about that magazine. Perhaps, that periodical's careful editing includes the same amount of fact checking the Leavenworth Times employs. (So, that's none.) 

Dr. Ruth writes that legislators like Mary Pilcher Cook and organizations like Kansas Policy Institute use suspect numbers to advance their agendas to "undermine the actual value of Kansas public education systems." As Heflin intones in her nonsensical letter, "A little fibbing helps, too. After all, who is going to check their figures?" Right back at you, Dr. Ruth. 

By the way, my Google machine tells me Dr. Ruth taught English at Kansas City Kansas Community College, and that she had a somewhat litigious and complicated relationship with the school. (The Google machine also tells me she once wrote a letter to the editor calling former Rep. Tony Barton a bigot.)

By the way, AP Style doesn't confer the title of "doctor" on anyone but medical doctors. It's odd (to me) that the "PhD" would be used in a letter to the editor unless it was somehow relevant to the topic at hand. The topic at hand in her letter appears to be math. I'm guessing her doctorate is in English. 

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