Mayor Sly James' plan to assume control of the Kansas City, Mo., public school district has raised a lot of eyebrows, and it's no wonder why.
James is effectively betting his political future on the ability to save what is, in many eyes, a sinking ship.
Turning around the public schools is a goal that experienced school administrators have had for decades, and not a one has succeeded so far.So what makes Mayor James think he can change the tides? Monday on Up to Date, Steve Kraske asks the mayor about his grand plan for righting KC's ailing public schools.
James will also discuss the implications of the new redistricting map for the area, and how his low-profile approach to the mayoralty has affected his work with the City Council.
We also want to hear from you. Do you think the mayor can escape the fate of school superintendents past? Give us a call at 816 235 2888 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. You can also leave comments on KCUR's Facebook page or Tweet us at @KCURUpToDate.
Sly James was sworn in as mayor of Kansas City on May 1, 2011. James attended Bishop Hogan High School in Kansas City, graduating in 1969. He served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and, when his service ended, James returned home to Kansas City. He graduated from Rockhurst College before earning his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1983. He joined Blackwell, Sanders, Matheny, Weary & Lombardi in 1983, and became the first African-American partner in the firm's history in 1990. In February 2002, James started The Sly James Firm, where he worked with victims to seek justice and positive outcomes to disputes. In 2003, while president of the KCMBA, Sly established the Diversity Initiative with 26 managing partners of the largest law firms in the city. He was also appointed to the boards of the Enhanced Enterprise Zones of Kansas City and the Jackson County Ethics Commission. He served as one of two co-chairs of the Save Our Stadiums committee, a successful tax initiative to refurbish the Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City in 2006. He has been married to Licia Clifton-James since 1981 and is the father of four children.