education

AP pool photo

After two and a half hours of oral arguments, the Kansas Supreme Court will now decide whether the state Legislature has solved — in the least — the equity portion of school funding and whether schools will remain open past a June 30 court imposed deadline.

Some middle-skill jobs in America, which can provide good pay, remain unfilled because job seekers don't have the necessary training. Meanwhile, many people struggle to find promising job opportunities. Today's guests think programs offering technical and vocational education can help bridge that gap.

Guests:

Today's school lunch includes healthier spins on old standards. This meal at a Nebraska high school includes a hamburger with no cheese on a whole wheat bun and a fresh salad, instead of french fries.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Schools across the U.S. served more than 5 billion meals in the national school lunch program to millions of students last year. Each one of the meals has to meet federal rules for nutrition. Now, those rules are up for debate and Congress could impose changes on the cafeteria.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

A child care co-op. An eHarmony for high school mentors. An avatar that shows kids how the food they eat affects them.

On Friday, all of these were just ideas. By Sunday night, they’ll be reality.

Entrepreneurs from all over the region gathered this weekend to re-imagine the future of education by developing tools, apps, and educational resources — all in 54 hours.

Kansas' budget woes have resulted in public schools across the state reducing costs and arts education is taking the hit. One Shawnee Mission teacher has had enough of shrinking support for the arts in his district.

Guests:

  • Jonathan Lane is Orchestra Director at Shawnee Mission East High School.
  • Narric Rome is vice-president of Government Affairs and Arts Education for Americans for the Arts.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As far as university presidents go, Venida Chenault is anything but ordinary. When she says she understands the circumstances some underserved college students are faced with, she really means it.

As one of five siblings raised in Topeka by a single mother, her family sometimes relied on government assistance to make ends meet. Chenault is now the seventh president of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, but she used to pay the bills by cleaning hotel rooms and working as a secretary.

In the 1950s, Delano Lewis was a student at segregated Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas. Since then, he's held top positions in the Peace Corps, served as president of NPR, was a board member at Apple and served as the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa.  

Delano Lewis speaks about the power of education on his life tonight at 5 p.m. at the Kauffman Foundation. To register to attend go to www.kauffman.org.

St. Joseph School District

Update: April 26 at 10:15 am

The Missouri Public Schools Retirement System said in a letter to the St. Joseph District that Dan Colgan's retirement date was moved from July 1, 2005 to January 1, 2006. That means he improperly received pensions benefits for six months.

In what is the largest settlement in the history of the teacher’s pension system in Missouri, the former superintendent and school board president in the St. Joseph School District will pay back $660,000 in retirement benefits he did not earn.

Stephan Koranda / KPR

The final paperwork has been filed, and now Kansas educators and lawmakers await the May 10 showdown in the state Supreme Court over whether the state is equitably funding public education.

In a 208 page brief filed today with the Court, the plaintiff districts, including Kansas City, Kansas, say the bill passed in the Legislature's waning days does nothing more than move money around the system, could widen the gap between rich and poor districts, calling the whole attempt a "shell game".

Most people have experience with a boss or manager who was less than inspiring. Former Kansas state Rep. Ed O'Malley, who heads up the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita, says leadership is an activity, not a role, and should not be limited to those in high places.

Courtesy Iola Unified School District 257

Delivering meals to low-income people is a long-standing way to improve nutrition, but a project in Iola Unified School District 257 will bring the whole diner.

Kathy Koehn, nutrition and wellness coordinator at USD 257, said students taking vocational classes in the district are working to remodel an older school bus as a “traveling bistro” where children who may not have access to healthy food during the summer can get lunch.

woodleywonderworks / Flickr--CC

The Missouri State Board of Education Tuesday approved new Missouri learning standards, which will replace the Common Core standards that were thrown out last year. The standards will be used to evaluate students in the state.

Lindsay Thompson, who teaches English at Fort Osage High School in Independence, Missouri, was on the committee that worked for a year and a half to develop the new standards.

The Daily Beast

For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has named Lincoln College Preparatory Academy the top high school in Missouri. The publication also named Blue Valley North the top high school in Kansas.

The annual report looked at graduation rates, state assessment results, college readiness and low-income student performance to rank 174 Missouri and 116 Kansas public high schools. 

Stephen Koranda / KPR

In a much anticipated filing with the Kansas Supreme Court,  state Attorney General Derek Schmidt says problems with equity in school funding have been solved and there's no reason for the high court to consider shutting down public education on June 30.

“The Legislature’s good-faith, careful, reasoned and well-documented determination should be given substantial deference,” said Schmidt's 25-page brief filed late Friday afternoon.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Summer is a time that all educators dread to some degree. No matter how well students do during the school year there is generally some slippage during the summer break.

That's especially true in urban districts like the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS).

The district has expanded its summer school offerings over the past few years and says it expects more students to enroll this summer.

Is our definition of what it means to be 'literate' changing in a digital age? Should it? We talk about why young people today need to understand how to use digital media for all aspects of their lives.

Guest:

KOMU News / Flickr

Why do some graduating high school students, in 2016, consider historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs) over PWI (predominantly white institutions)? Hear how these schools struggle to match the resources of their competitors, and why they continue to have a distinct appeal for many students nonetheless.

Guests:

A graduating high school senior without US citizenship reflects on her journey so far. With several college options to choose from, how does this accomplished student's immigration status influence the decision about where to go?

Guest:

Sam Zeff / KCUR

A new school funding formula for Kansas schools that would replace the current block grant scheme was filed just under the wire last month before lawmakers adjourned for a month-long recess.

Whether that bill passes or even gets a hearing is in question, but what's not in question is the concern educators and some legislators have about the 98-page bill.

Autism is often talked about as a checklist of different challenges and deficits, but how can we approach autism in a more balanced way? Author Barry Prizant explains how to see these so-called deficits as normal human behaviors. 

Guest:

  • Barry Prizant, Ph.D. is the and author of Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism.
Sam Zeff / KCUR

The deal with the new Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) superintendent has been signed and Mark Bedell will take the top job on July 1.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Immigration is a hot topic at all levels of politics.

Whether the debate is over a wall along the Mexican border or granting in-state college tuition to people brought into the country illegally   in Missouri.

But one area university is bucking the trend and aggressively recruiting students that other univiersities are unable or unwilling to help.For Maria De La Torre, a graduate of Kansas City Public Schools, Kansas State University just might have saved her academic career.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

The Shawnee Mission school board keeps hearing the same message: prepare yourselves for a possible cut in state aid in the next three months.

By Friday,  we’re going to know how much Kansas collected in taxes in March, and all predictions are that it will be another month of missing projections.

Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson again warned the board Monday that poor revenue collections could mean the state would not fully fund schools during the current fiscal year.

This comes right when the district should be completing its new budget.

www.fundforteachers.org

In the ongoing conversation about what constitutes effective discipline in schools, Independence, Missouri, poses an interesting case study. 

In January, the district briefly came under fire from a group of agitated parents over the use of the ominous-sounding "isolation rooms." In the resulting furor, several child development experts questioned the practice of isolating students as a way to control their behavior. 

Recently, a controversy erupted in the Independence School District about the use of isolation rooms. How do teachers and administrators approach behavioral issues in the classroom? From grabbing the paddle to sparing the rod, to some new techniques, we explore how ideas about discipline in schools are changing.

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR

  How much does a college degree cost? What kind of salary will an engineering student make when they graduate? What about an English major?

Starting Wednesday crunching those numbers will get a lot easier for students who are looking at a state university in Kansas. There’s now one-stop shopping for students and parents looking at Kansas universities.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Attempts by Kansas lawmakers to find a finance solution that would equitably fund schools have thus far failed in the Legislature.

Kansas Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr., a Republican from Olathe, joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast this weekend to discuss the Legislature's burden in coming up with a new school funding plan.

Centers For Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) moves high school juniors and seniors from the classroom to professional environments to learn. Hear how the program works and what it offers students.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey made a splash this month when he announced he would fund all Missouri teachers' projects on the education crowd-funding site DonorsChoose.org. The gift bought classroom supplies — everything from Chromebooks to crayons— for about 600 educators statewide. 

Jim McLean / KHI News Service

The Kansas Legislative session is winding down but as it does, you can almost feel the tension ratcheting up.

Two senate committees were working on bills bitterly opposed by educators from across the state.

Some got to the Statehouse just as the doors opened to testify against a bill that would force teachers unions to have a recertification election yearly.

By midmorning, teachers, superintendents and the school board association were breathing easier after the bill was passed out of the Commerce Committee with recertification every three years.

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