FF 12 Fact Check: Ad targets Kansas governor on education issues

An ad supporting Kansas gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt is targeting Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and her handling of schools during the pandemic.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:30 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - An ad supporting Kansas gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt focuses on education in Kansas, making claims that target Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to schools and her stance on policy issues important to conservatives.

The ad, funded by the Republican Governors Association (RGA), makes two main claims. The first points to Governor Kelly closing schools in March of 2020 because of COVID-19.

“We have a governor who thought it was a good idea to lock our children out of their schools,” the ad says.

Kelly did close schools for the final couple of months of the 2019-2020 school year, the first governor to make that decision. The ad also points to a quote made in a forum earlier this year where she said, “I’ll make absolutely no apologies for that.”

Kelly explained there was a lack of personal protection equipment, no testing and limited knowledge about the virus when schools closed.

“Parents in Kansas ought to decide what our kids are taught,” the ad says.

The next claims focus largely on the policy issues including what’s called “the Parents’ Bill of Rights,” which Schmidt supports. Kelly vetoed a version of that legislation earlier this year, saying it was “about politics, not parents.”

The ad also touches on issues surrounding critical race theory (CRT) and transgender athletes.

“Laura Kelly stands with groups pushing critical race theory and the transgender agenda,” the ad says.

This claim needs further explanation. In an interview last year, Kelly called CRT a “nothing burger that’s been cooked up to get people up in arms about something.”

The governor also vetoed two bills that would ban transgender athletes from playing on female sports teams saying, “This legislation sends a devastating message that Kansas is not welcoming to all children and their families, including those who are transgender.”

She also said the legislation could harm the state’s ability to attract businesses.