Emma O’Brien
May 12, 2022



Topeka, KS – On the heels of a bipartisan slate of over 130 teachers across the state endorsing Governor Laura Kelly for re-election, three teachers – a Republican, Democrat, and Independent – came together in an op-ed in the Topeka Capital-Journal to “send a message” to Derek Schmidt about his track record of underfunding our public schools and siding with former Governor Sam Brownback over our students, teachers, and families.

Cheryl Herrelson is a registered Republican and taught for over 40 years before retiring. Michelle Taylor is an Independent voter and teaches Communications to middle and high schoolers. Ethel A. Edwards is a Democrat, a retired teacher of Topeka Unified School District 501, and the former President of Topeka’s NEA chapter. The three reached across party lines to warn of the dangers if Schmidt is elected as Kansas’ next Governor, claiming: “Derek Schmidt has shown us who he really is: an enemy to public education, students, and teachers.”

Read more here or key quotes below: 

  • “Last week, a slate of educators, current and former, from across the state and across the political spectrum, joined together to endorse Gov. Kelly for re-election this fall. We are coming together to send a message loud and clear to Derek Schmidt that we won’t go back to the days where public education was an afterthought.” 
  • “Ask almost any teacher, regardless of what political party they might belong to, and they will remember the damage done to our schools, our students, and our education system under former Gov. Sam Brownback.”
  • “As attorney general, Schmidt wasted millions of Kansas taxpayers’ dollars on lawsuits keeping our public schools underfunded. He was even sued by a coalition of Kansas school districts fighting back against these low funding levels. He spent half a decade fighting to keep education funding low, siding with Brownback and the wealthy corporations the tax cuts were benefiting over our students, teachers and families.”
  • “Derek Schmidt has shown us who he really is: an enemy to public education, students and teachers. If given the chance, Schmidt will undo all the progress we’ve made over these last few years under Gov. Laura Kelly’s leadership and take us back to the days of underfunded public schools, four day school weeks and underserved students. We won’t let Schmidt take us back to Brownback.”