education

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library

Between the world wars, as new subdivisions filled out the map of Kansas City, educators built schools to keep up with the growing and moving population. Two new high schools – Southwest and Southeast – would anchor what was then the southern end of Kansas City. In the minds of students, each would create its own version of the mythical Camelot.

How much is a good teacher worth? Around $50 trillion by 2090, according to Eric Hanushek's calculations. On this edition of Up To Date, we discuss the economic value of quality teaching and the radical steps Hanushek proposes to achieve that goal.

Guests:

Cristopher Crance / Burns &McDonnell

When you were a kid, did you ever dream of becoming an astronaut? Some area students are taking the first steps. Grade-schoolers at Resurrection Catholic School in Kansas City, Kan. and Prairie Fire Upper Elementary in Independence are creating experiments to send into near space in a big weather balloon.

Guests:

In order to become a naturalized citizen, immigrants must pass a basic U.S. civics test. Some Missouri lawmakers are pushing for the state to adopt education policies that would require high schoolers to pass the same test to graduate. On this edition of Up To Date, Steve Kraske talks with two lawmakers supporting this requirement, and quizzes listeners with questions from the U.S. Citizenship Civics Test.

Guests:

When it comes to internet crime, criminals are far ahead of law enforcement and the general public. As more and more hacks make headlines, we talk about our vulnerability as individuals and how to protect ourselves from a cyber attack.

When it comes to strategies of how to deal with a shooter in the building, the only options teachers used to have were locking the doors or evacuating. These days schools have another choice when dealing with an active shooter...fighting back. A new active shooter simulation program from the Missouri Center for Education Safety gives teachers a hands-on experience in thwarting a potential attacker. 

Guests 

According to a study done by the University of California-Los Angeles’ Civil Rights Project, Missouri Public Schools rank #1 for the highest suspension of black elementary school students. Missouri’s gap between suspension rates of black and white elementary students also is the nation’s largest. 
  One study found that students suspended or expelled for a discretionary violation are nearly three times more likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system the following year.

Southeast Kansas Education Service Center photo

For more than 20 years, Kansas secondary students have taken a survey to track alcohol and drug abuse. But a new law requiring parents to give written permission to allow their children to take the survey is affecting the survey data, and those who use it say it could be more challenging to obtain funds for prevention efforts.

The House Social Services Budget Committee changed its mind Wednesday, voting to shelve an earlier recommendation that could have led to the Parents as Teachers program being cut from the state budget.

“We’re going to have another hearing,” said Rep. Will Carpenter, a Republican from El Dorado and chairman of the committee.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A bill in the Kansas Senate would reduce the amount of state aid to most school districts in Kansas in the current fiscal year.

The measure is what educators in Kansas feared the most — a bill that would force districts to cut their budgets before the current fiscal year ends in July.

The measure would cut state aid for Local Option Budgets, that portion of school budgets raised through local property tax.

The state provides money to help equalize those taxes between wealthy and low-income districts.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

How do you get fifth and sixth graders to see a connection between what they're doing in school and their future careers?

Talk to them about Walt Disney.

"As a sixth grader, he was sketching mice and ducks in his art class," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told students during an assembly at Mill Creek Upper Elementary in Belton Friday.

The school is one of 34 across Missouri that's teaching elementary school students about math and science through Project Lead the Way, which Nixon hopes will inspire them to pursue those fields as adults. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Update: Jan. 22, 2:25 pm

The St. Joseph School District has confirmed that Superintendent Fred Czerwonka and Chief Operating Officer Rick Hartigan are now on administrative leave.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Officials in the St. Joseph School District have been nervously waiting for months for a report from the Missouri State Auditor.

KCUR has learned that the report is back and the board will discuss it Tuesday in executive session.

The Missouri State Auditor moved a five-member team into district headquarters last Spring after it was revealed that the new St. Joseph school superintendent, Dr. Fred Cerwonka, handed out $5,000 stipends to 54 administrators without seeking board approval.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Central Standard is following three high school seniors through the trials and triumphs leading up to graduation. Catch up with Ashwanth Samuel, Harold Burgos and Sache Hawkins on internships, waiting to hear back from colleges, career dreams, school lunch, juggling coursework with outside interests, senior-itis, and what grown-ups don't know about high school today. Plus, one of these seniors surprised us with an early graduation in December.

Lamar Republican Sen. Ed Emery wants to give Missouri schools a report card – he's filed legislation to create an A-F letter grade system similar to those enacted in other states.

"I think if we can do this in Missouri, we'll have better informed parents and more involved parents, and as a result, we'll be moving toward an excellence in education that we all want," Emery said.

Florida was the first state to issue A-F letter grades to schools a decade ago under former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. Now, about a dozen states have similar systems in place.

dese.mo.gov

The slate of candidates to replace Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro has been narrowed to five finalists. On this edition of Up to Date, we examine what the selection committee is looking for in the candidates, what local school districts would like to see in their next commissioner, and who are the frontrunners. 

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR

The St. Joseph School District is facing a raft of problems these days. The federal investigation into the District's improper use of stipends continues with a third subpoena issued on Nov. 20. On this edition of Up to Date, we get the latest on the continuing scandal. 

Guests:

American Institutes for Research -- highlighting KCUR

For years, states have decided the definition of reading and math proficiency with their own sets of standards.

The result? Kansas children often seem to come out ahead of Missouri children in math and reading, when comparing the states' data.

But when this data is normalized across all 50 states, there's a different story.

RELATED: What You Probably Didn't Know About Academic Standards In Kansas And Missouri

gvarc.org / Creative Commons

It’s not really fair, but when many people around here think of quality schools, they think of Kansas.

Indeed, going back decades lots of real estate agents have guided new residents to the Kansas side of the line.

But there’s a significant difference between how Missouri schools and Kansas schools are judged.

"Our Missouri standards tend to rank at the more rigorous levels than do our standards assessments in Kansas," says Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight of the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

The federal investigation into the St. Joseph School District is becoming more focused.

A third grand jury subpoena was served on the Missouri district late Thursday.

This latest subpoena for documents asks for some very specific information.

In a news release, the district says the grand jury sitting in Kansas City, Mo., wants to know about the district's tuition reimbursement and teacher certificate reimbursement programs.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Maybe it's a decision about which side of the state line to live on. Maybe it's public school versus private, or district versus charter. For some, there may not seem to be a choice in the matter at all. A range of issues factor into where Kansas City families send their kids to school; meanwhile, difficulty discerning myth from reality looms large. Our callers and guests help break it down.

Guests:

www.fundforteachers.org

Fund for Teachers provides local educators the money to gain unique experiences from around the world and bring them back to their students, and school communities. On this edition of Up To Date, guest host Danie Alexander talks with a panel about the process and results of this program. 

Guests:

www.ingramsonline.com

There’s been a push in the past couple of years to improve both the access to and quality of pre-kindergarten education.

Now the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce will jump into that effort and add early childhood development to its Big Five initiative.

Chamber President Roshann Parris says after meeting for months with area school superintendents, education researchers and, of course, business people, members decided that the best place to put their considerable clout and resources was in pre-K education.

Central Middle School Gets High-Tech Overhaul

Sep 15, 2014
Ben Palosaari

"That's the boys' restroom," Central Middle School 7th grader Camryn Jones says as she gives her family a tour of her brand-new school. 

"Is it different than the girls' bathroom?" her grandmother asks as she pokes her head through the door.

Camryn keeps walking. What she really wants to show off to her family is her math classroom at the end of the hall. 

“I can learn a lot from this room, because math’s my favorite subject," she says standing by her desk. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Kansas City Mayor Sly James announced a new program Monday aimed at getting kids to go to school.

A recently released report from the nonprofit Attendance Works says 20 percent of American students are chronically absent from school. The organization calls it a national challenge.

The Missouri superintendents from Kansas City, Center and Hickman Mills all say chronic absenteeism is about the same in their districts.

Visha Angelova / CC Flickr

High school seniors have a lot on their minds: graduation, applying to colleges, a whole year of "lasts." Meet two members of the class of 2015; we'll check in with them throughout the year, exploring the tricky issues that come up in that final stretch to the finish line.

Guests:

Courtesy Crime Stoppers

Parents and students in Northland school districts  have a new, more efficient way to relay tips to Crime Stoppers.

Crime Stoppers has promoted its 474-TIPS hotline number for 32 years. More recently, the organization started taking tips by texts. The Northland Safe School Task Force got so many texts that officials reached out to Kansas City Crime Stoppers to help manage the information from students and parents.

JBrazito / Flickr-CC

If you haven’t been in a school lately, you might be surprised that entering one feels like passing through security at Fort Knox.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about the heightened safety procedures that schools have established in the wake of a trail of school shootings. We also look at the costs and effects of having a larger police presence there.

Guests:

CC: Lochoaymca

Educators, politicians, doctors and clergy all gathered in Kansas City Monday to discuss early childhood development.

Almost everyone agrees Pre-K education is crucial. The mantra for early educators is, "Talk, read, play."

Before they start kindergarten, teachers say, children need a lot of interaction with adults. Research shows that, on average, lower income children start school knowing 900 fewer words than more affluent children.

Laura Ziegler

Many of the schools in the Kansas City metro area began this week. As we look around and see students toting backpacks and boarding school busses, we take a look at what's universal about this "back-to-school" time of year with this audio postcard.

Pages