Education

KCUR 89.3 covers education issues across the Kansas City region and in Kansas and Missouri. 

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Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

The wall outside the college counseling classroom at Kansas City's University Academy is adorned with dozens of college acceptance letters. Several of them are addressed to Jazmyne Smith. 

"Well, I’ve been accepted at KU, K-State, Missouri S&T, Coe College," Smith says, a smile playing across her face. "And I’m still waiting to hear back from some other places: Duke, Penn, Stanford. You know, shooting for the stars."

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".

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.

Wikimedia Commons

The Kansas Board of Regents has appointed retired U.S. Air Force General and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers as the interim president at Kansas State University.

Myers will take over from Kirk Schulz, who leaves next month for a job at Washington State University.

Courtesy photo / Kansas City Public Schools

More than a week after the election, the Kansas City Public Schools board is complete.

The Kansas City Election board announced Wednesday that John Fierro, Natalie Lewis and Ajia Morris won seats on the board. All three were write-in candidates and so were their only challengers, which delayed the results.

Lewis spent two decades working in the private sector before she became a teacher. She beat architect Albert Ray for the sub-district 1 seat.

Fierro is the president of the Mattie Rhodes Center. He won the in sub-district 3 against Marisol Montero.

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.

Olathe Public Schools

Update 4/8/16 at 4:45 pm

The Rogers School District confirms that Marlin Berry has signed a three year contract that will pay him $215,754 a year with no stated raises built into the contract. His current salary in Olathe is $231,263. That was set to jump to $250,126 had he stayed until the 2017-2018 school year.

Another superintendent from another big metro school district is leaving for another job.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

Brittany admits this is a risk: telling her story, being so public. As a nod to that risk, she only wants her first name used. But along with her fear, there's something else: anger. 

"I want to be as honest as possible," she says. "It's what I'm going through, what many other kids like me [in Kansas City] are going through, and it's something we don't talk about: it's ignored, it's in the shadows, and it shouldn't be like that." 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Two things have emerged as Mark Bedell prepares to take over as superintendent for the Kansas City Public Schools; he has plenty of support from the district and he's ready to take over the growing charter school movement in the city.

“I’m very competitive. And we are losing kids to the charter schools so they are a competitor,” Bedell said at a news conference at Paseo Academy.

While Bedell said he would foster a "cordial" relationship with the city's charter schools, he says the district must do better in attracting them to KCPS.

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.

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. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR

The president of Kansas State University stunned Manhattan Friday when he announced he was leaving for the top job at Washington State University.

Kirk Schultz came to Kansas State seven years ago.

In that time, according to K-State, research grants have increased as have donations to the university.

He plans on leaving Manhattan in May.

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.

Tristan Bowersox / Creative Commons-Flickr

A former University of Kansas student whose parents sued KU for consumer fraud after they say she was raped on campus has now filed her own lawsuit against the university.

Daisy Tackett’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for violations of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that bars sex discrimination in education.

The suit, filed today in Douglas County District Court, says KU created a hostile environment by housing KU football players in a residence hall, Jayhawker Towers, that it had reason to know was unsafe.

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. 

Tristan Bowersox / Creative Commons-Flickr

A lawsuit against the University of Kansas by the parents of a student who was allegedly raped in one of its dorms seeks to break new legal ground.

Unlike other legal actions against universities over their handling of sexual assaults, this one seeks class action status and alleges violations of the state’s consumer protection law.

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.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

It’s never been done before.

“And it’s going to work,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told the crowd that gathered in Lee’s Summit Thursday to break ground on the Missouri Innovation Campus.

The campus, located northeast of the intersection of Chipman Road and Ward Road, will be the new permanent home of a 4-year-old collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, the University of Central Missouri and other partners.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

July 2017 may seem like a long ways away, but when you’re planning to allow guns on college campuses, it might as well be just around the corner.

How Kansas colleges will comply with the law allowing guns on campus while maintaining security is complicated.

But it’s perhaps most complex at the KU Medical Center and the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas.

Since Kansas lawmakers passed a bill that would allow almost anyone to carry a concealed gun on college campuses, we've been hearing the arguments against it.

MINDDRIVE

 If you go to the 2016 Kansas City Auto Show at Bartle Hall, you may spot among the shiny new SUVs and tricked-out sports cars something more incongruous. It's squat and narrow, resembling a more advanced version of a Soapbox Derby car. 

Look again: that car was printed by a 3-D printer and designed by high school kids in Kansas City. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Ever since the Kansas Supreme Court ruled education block grants unconstitutional and ordered the Legislature to make school funding between districts equitable, many have wondered just how lawmakers will fix the problem before a June 30 deadline.

If the problem isn't fixed by then the Supreme Court says it will close down public education in Kansas.

University of Kansas Hospital

The University of Kansas and KU Medical Center stand to lose the most from $17 million worth of cuts announced by Gov. Sam Brownback Tuesday. 

The state Board of Regents itemized those across-the-board cuts Wednesday.

Kansas Board of Regents

The news that Kansas came up $54 million short of revenue projections in February was bad enough. But a few minutes after the Department of Revenue released the report, the news got worse.

In a statement posted to his official website, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said he was immediately cutting $17 million from the state Board of Regents budget, a 3 percent cut to the state's six biggest institutions of higher learning.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

The Kansas Legislature goes back to work Wednesday after a short break.

Lawmakers have done a lot of work, including passing a budget. But what they haven’t tackled is what to do about a state Supreme Court ruling that found block grant school funding unconstitutional.

If they don’t fix the problem by June 30, the court has threatened to shut down public education.

Courtesy photo / Kansas City Public Schools

At first, there seemed to be nobody ready to run on the April 5 ballot for three open seats on the Kansas City Public Schools board. Now that's changed dramatically. 

A total of five people have publicly declared write-in candidacies, several coming in the past week. And now two of the races have multiple candidates, lending a sense of belated competition to a campaign that some had feared would be uncontested and, as a result, overlooked. 

A race in Sub-District 5 : Ajia Morris and Catina Taylor

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