Central Standard
12:10 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

The Importance Of Play

Credit Mike Gonzalez

It's all fun and games until... well, until you learn a lesson. Of course, that's part of the point of fun and games. Central Standard was inspired by multimedia arts reporter Julie Denesha's reflection on her childhood dollhouse to do a show on the developmental significance of toys and play.

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Up To Date
2:00 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

What Happens To Due Process For Kansas Teachers?

KNEA members protesting the school finance bill.
Credit Kansas National Education Association

A controversial move by Kansas lawmakers has teachers up in arms all over the state.  Steve Kraske talks with Kansas State Rep. John Bradford, who supported the change in the law, and Mark Desetti of the Kansas National Education Association.  They'll discuss how it will now be easier to fire teachers by eliminating their due-process rights and how supporters say that will improve education.  They also look at how this affects job security for teachers as well as their ability to criticize administrators when called for.


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7:56 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Districts, Advocates See Shortcomings In Kansas School Funding Plan

Attorneys for the group that sued Kansas over school funding have issued a statement critical of the plan the Legislature sent to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback Sunday.

Attorney John Robb expressed concerns that the plan shifts money from some programs for at-risk students, allows more well-to-do districts to increase local funding, and reduces revenues that could go for schools by offering tax credits for private school scholarships.

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Kansas Statehouse
6:15 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Kansas Lawmakers Cut Tenure For Teachers

Kansas lawmakers have given final approval to a plan that would increase aid to poor school districts and eliminate tenure for public school teachers.

The provision to make it easier to fire teachers was included in an education funding bill designed to comply with a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling. The bill passed both the House and Senate.

Some lawmakers supporting the measure say schools need to be run more like private sector businesses, where people can be hired and fired more easily. Representative Allan Rothlisberg is a Grandview Plaza Republican.

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Up to Date
11:12 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Examining 100 Years Of The Panama Canal

It's been 100 years since the Panama Canal was completed.
Credit Lyn Gateley / Flickr-CC

You’ve heard of the man, his plan and that canal: Panama. Well, it’s been 100 years since its construction, and the waterway is getting a facelift.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about a new local exhibit that explores that century of innovation.


  • Alberto Aleman Zubieta, former CEO of the Panama Canal Authority
  • Lisa Browar, president of the Linda Hall Library
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1:07 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Making 'Tinkering' An Art

Karen Wilkinson is the co-author of The Art of Tinkering.

"Tinkering" might conjure up images of a garage workshop or someone just puttering around, but a new book is putting a different spin on the term.

On Friday's Up to Date, author Karen Wilkinson joins us to discuss what she calls "the art of tinkering" and some of the creative ways anyone can become a tinkerer.


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Up to Date
4:26 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

School Boards: Helping Or Hurting Local Districts?

A new survey examines whether school boards are helping or hurting classroom learning.
Credit Brad Wilson / Flickr-CC

When you think about schools, you picture classrooms, teachers and students. But where do school boards fit in?

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about the elected representatives of school districts, who can be a critical part of educational planning and the new survey that's questioning whether these leaders are helping or hurting the cause.


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Up to Date
10:27 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Tracing The Atomic Age

The Atomic Age prompted many themed products-- some more dangerous than others.
Credit GetHiroshima / Flickr-CC

If you want drama, the story of how we developed atomic energy has it. From the novelty of X-rays to the destructive power unleashed in Hiroshima, to a major energy source — all the up and downs are there. 

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk with an author who has traced the details of these events and many in-between to construct a history of the atomic age. We look at how scientists managed to get from Marie Curie’s discovery to the Manhattan Project and beyond. 


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4:01 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

School Board VP Says Hickman Mills Has A Plan To Fix District

  The Hickman Mills school district in Kansas City, Mo., is battling back from a critical state audit that found financial and management issues. Now the next step for the district is winning back its full accreditation – which slipped to provisional status last year. Hickman Mills Board Vice President, Dan Osman, says they have a plan.

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Central Standard
3:38 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

What's The One Change That Could Improve American Education?

Credit Gates Foundation / Flickr -- Creative Commons

It's no surprise that the American education system is lagging behind many other countries. The latest PISA exam shows that the United States falls 36th in the world in math; below a diverse rang of counties including Poland, Japan and Viet Nam.

What's interesting is not that the United States is in the middle of the pack, but rather that so many other countries have improved in the last three decades while the United States has stagnated.

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Central Standard
9:48 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Author Of 'Smartest Kids' Book On The New SAT

This essay was written by Amanda Ripley for Zocalo Public Square. Ripley was a guest on the KCUR program Central Standard.

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10:26 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Only 12 Families Request Transfer From Kansas City Public School District

Only 12 families with a total of 23 students applied to be transferred out of the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools at the district's expense, the Kansas City Star reports.

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8:15 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Solution To Kansas School Funding Lawsuit Unclear

It's not clear how lawmakers will comply with a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that says the state has created inequalities between schools districts. The ruling says lawmakers violated the Kansas Constitution by cutting funds that help equalize school district budgets.

The group that filed that lawsuit, and some lawmakers, say they believe the solution is to restore more than $100 million in education funds.

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4:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

What The Supreme Court Ruling May Mean For Kansas Public Schools

Mikesha Bradner, a Kindergarten teacher at Claude Huyck Elementary in Kansas City, Kan., say she has had to use her own funds for classroom materials
Credit Maria Carter / KCUR

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that the state needs to spend more money on public schools. But it stopped short of giving an exact dollar amount and sent that back to a lower court with instructions. The decision comes almost four years after the first lawsuit was filed. 

Inequities in the classroom

The court found poorer districts were hurt when the legislature cut funding, creating inequities. The Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools cut 400 positions, including 130 teachers, when education budget cuts took effect. 

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8:10 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Kansas Supreme Court To Release School Funding Decision

The Kansas Supreme Court will hand down a decision Friday in a lawsuit over school funding and the potential impact could be hundreds of millions of dollars.

A group made up of school districts and parents says Kansas is not living up to its constitutional responsibility to fund education. They say the state has reneged on promises to increase spending.

Those promises followed a previous lawsuit over school funding. Lawyers for the state say it is up to legislators, not the courts, to decide how much to spend on schools.

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9:31 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Missouri Audit Finds Hickman Mills Misspent Money

The Missouri Auditor's office will return to the Hickman Mills School District this year after a scathing performance audit was released Tuesday night.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The Missouri Auditor’s office pledges to return to troubled Hickman Mills School District this year after a scathing performance audit released Tuesday night that stops just short of claiming criminal conduct.

Most of 15 separate cases of errors listed in the 40-page document are termed poor business practices by deputy auditor Harry Otto. He includes overpayment of a former superintendent, untrained MAP test overseers and excessive paid trips out of town.

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10:22 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Kauffman School Announces New CEO

Hannah Lofthus greets Kauffman School students on the first day of classes in August, 2013.
Credit Courtesy / Kauffman Foundation

The Board of Directors of the Ewing Marion Kauffman School announced Monday that Hannah Lofthus will be the next CEO.

Lofthus is the founding principal and chief academic officer of the charter school and will transition into the role of CEO over the next several months.

In a release, board chairman Robert Strom said the promotion puts the strongest and best leader for the school in place while providing continuity of leadership.

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4:00 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

How Technology is Changing Kansas City Classrooms

MSU Digital Photography (via Flickr)
Credit MSU Digital Photography (via Flickr)

The Shawnee Mission School District in January announced it would be putting laptop computers into the hands of all of its staff and students when the next school year begins.

To better understand this $20 million effort and what effect technology might have on the way educators teach, University of Kansas professor John Leslie Rury and University of Missouri -Kansas City professor Dr. Jennifer Friend joined host Maria Carter on Thursday's Central Standard. 

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7:34 am
Wed February 19, 2014

New Plan Eases Threat Of Kansas City Schools Takeover

Missouri is no longer threatening a quick take-over of the Kansas City school district.

The state's latest proposal instead centers around performance contracts, advice and financial help from the state and a five-tiered school performance ranking system. If an unaccredited district like Kansas City's fails to meet its goals, it would fall to the lowest, or “lapsed” category and likely be taken over by the state.

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Central Standard
10:55 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

The History Of The Native Peoples Of The Kansas City Region

Camp of Pawnee Indians on the Platte Valley c. 1866
Credit Snapshots of the Past / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Long before the foundation of Oklahoma Joe's was laid or even the first oxen left Kansas City on the Santa Fe Trail, thousands of distinct people called the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers home. In fact, the history of human settlement goes back over 13,000 years to when mastodons roamed where cows now graze. The Kansas City area was home to Clovis peoples and later many more Native Americans, who either called the area home or were pushed here by white colonists.  Their legacy reverberates around the communities of Shawnee, Wyandotte and others.

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8:16 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Missouri School Board Ponders How To Improve Unaccredited Districts

The current the current transfers out of unaccredited school districts propelled much of the discussion at a working session of the Missouri board of education.

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 3:08 pm

JEFFERSON CITY -- From the start of Monday’s six-hour session considering a variety of ways to help struggling schools, the head of the Missouri board of education emphasized that the state is concerned about long-range, broad-based policy, not the operations of individual districts.

But as board members heard a number of presentations on suggested reforms, the talk returned time and again to the current transfers out of unaccredited school districts and the impact on the students who live there.

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Up To Date
11:45 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Diving Into Prison History At Leavenworth

Archivist Jake Ersland has researched the records of Leavenworth Penitentiary.
Credit Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wanted to take a peek at the case files of mobsters, bootleggers or even murderers?

On Monday's Up to Date, we look into the historical underbelly of Leavenworth Penitentiary as we delve into its records with a local archivist.


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Central Standard
2:35 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Dyslexia: A Brain Difference That Can Be An Asset

Dyslexia affects nearly 20 percent of the population, effecting their ability to learn in the same way as the rest of the population. But, many individuals never get diagnosed.

On this episode of Central Standard we explore the science behind dyslexia, signs that you or a loved one may have this brain difference and how the proper accommodations and assistance can turn dyslexia into a life long asset.

Additional resources:

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8:14 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Missouri Chamber Of Commerce Says Students Are 'Falling Behind' Digitally

A study released Thursday by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry states that Missouri is, quote, “falling behind” when it comes to providing digital learning for K-12 students.

Missouri Chamber CEO Dan Mehan says although online learning options are available in the Show-Me state, most require tuition, while those that don’t are limited geographically.

“If we hope to keep pace with the changing landscape in education, we need to start by opening up virtual pathways to give our students more options for learning and success,”said Mehan. 

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7:51 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Public Comments Heard On Changes To Kansas City Schools

Melissa Eddy chided adherents to local control of Kansas City Schools.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

More than a dozen people, picked from among scores who wanted to speak,  reacted with passion to proposed changes in Kansas City Public Schools Wednesday night.

Nearly all who spoke to a two- thirds filled Paseo Academy Auditorium wanted to keep local control of schools.

Public testimony taken by Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was first in a series around the state.

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Central Standard
2:04 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

The Changing Face Of College Dorms

Colleges and universities serve several purposes: they are places to get credentials necessary for a career; they are  places to learn; they are homes. At a crucial time in their lives young adults live together, make memories, get in trouble and grow up.

On Wednesday's Central Standard, host Brian Ellison delves into campus housing  and how it's progressed over the last few decades, as students arrive with higher expectations and schools are trying to meet them.

We’ll also hear about new apartments catering to athletes at KU and other schools across the country.

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1:20 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

UM President Will Recommend No Tuition Increase

Tim Wolfe

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 12:30 pm

The president of the University of Missouri says he will go along with Gov. Jay Nixon’s request and recommend that tuition for the system’s four campuses not go up next year.

Tim Wolfe, who visited with junior and senior high school students in the Bayless School District in south St. Louis County Friday morning, said that the additional revenue proposed by Nixon in his State of the State address earlier this week should provide the four-campus system with the money it needs without raising tuition.

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4:16 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

I Can’t Tweet Honestly Because I’m ‘Afraid I Might Get Fired’

This painting of a Twitter logo by Ashley Raletz, the sister of KCUR Social Media Producer Alyson Raletz, sits on her desk in the station's newsroom.
Credit Alyson Raletz/KCUR

 The line between individual social media activity and employment status isn’t a clear one, according to feedback we received this week from listeners.

When we asked “Should your boss be able to fire you for what you tweet?” on the air and online, the responses showed the issue of social media and the workplace as a divisive one in Kansas City.  

We received many emphatic yeses, citing personal responsibility.

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9:28 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Philosophy Of The Mind And A Look Back At KC Currents

Central Standard explores the possibility of  emotions and thoughts being more than just a brain function. Is there more to being human than just our physical realm?

Also, we bid farewell to KC Currents and take a look at what's ahead for Central Standard.


  • Susanna Rinard​, professor of philosophy at UMKC
  • Augustin Rayo, professor of philosophy at MIT
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7:36 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Kansas Faculty Change Curriculum As New Social Media Policy Kicks In

Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political science professor, in his home office. Loomis says a new social media policy is "unbelievably broad and vague." (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

When the Kansas Board of Regents announced a new, broad policy on social media for faculty and staff in mid-December, it didn’t take long to hear the reaction.

That is the nature, after all, of Facebook and Twitter.

“Unbelievably broad and vague set of policies,” Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political science professor, wrote in a Facebook post. “Perfect example of using a nuclear weapon to destroy a gnat of a pseudo problem.”

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