Education

Student Transfers
11:29 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Gov. Nixon To Veto Student Transfer Bill With Private Option

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is planning to veto a law that would have created a 'private option' for students in unaccredited school districts in Kansas City and St. Louis.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans to veto legislation that would have allowed students in the unaccredited Kansas City school district to transfer to private schools.

In a statement Friday, Nixon blasted state lawmakers for failing to fix the current school transfer law.

“Throughout the legislative session I repeatedly made it clear that any effort to send public dollars to private schools through a voucher program would be met by my veto pen,” Nixon said. “The General Assembly ignored my warnings, and this veto will be the result.”

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Education
3:32 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Missouri Board Of Education Approves Replacing Normandy School District With New Organization

The Normandy School District will cease to exist on July 1 and will be replaced by a new identity. Questions remain on what this will mean for transfer students, teacher and administrators, and board members.

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 5:15 am

(Updated at 4:54 p.m., Tues., May 20)

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to replace the Normandy School District with a new entity with the same boundaries but run by an appointed board, effective July 1.

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Missouri Statehouse
6:40 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Two Bills Will Have Broad Impact On Missouri Students – If They Become Law

The student transfer bill that just passed the legislature would not require unaccredited districts to pay for transportation for students who wish to transfer.

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 10:17 pm

Updated at 9:35 a.m. Monday with clarification on tuition rates, link to final bill text.

Two bills passed by Missouri lawmakers this week would have a significant impact on how and what students in the state are taught – if the legislation escapes a veto by Gov. Jay Nixon.

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Common Core
2:08 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Missouri Gives Educators Two Years To Make Common Core Decision

Missouri schools have been using the Common Core standards for four years but may have to adjust to new expectations if the state exits the initiative.
Credit bigstock.com

Legislation awaiting Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's signature gives state educators two years to reaffirm their support for the Common Core or dump the education standards in favor of state-specific alternatives.

Lawmakers agreed to the compromise last week after debating the contentious nationally-crafted student expectations for most of the session.

If the bill becomes law, educator work groups will spend the next two years writing new learning goals for math and English language arts.

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Education
8:57 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Lawmakers Call On Nixon To Sign Student Transfer Fix; Would End Free Transportation

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 9:58 am

The Missouri Senate has passed the final version of legislation designed to ease the burden of the state's school transfer law. It includes a provision that would end free transportation for transfer students -- a provision that would make it harder for students from failing schools to actually attend other districts.

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Education
4:37 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Strict Social Media Policy Approved By Kansas Board Of Regents

Critics of the social media policy stand during part of Wednesday's Kansas Board of Regents meeting in Topeka to demonstrate their opposition.
Credit Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday finalized a controversial social media policy that places broad limits on employees and is being criticized as one of the most restrictive in the country.

Regents Chairman Fred Logan, speaking to a packed meeting in Topeka, defended the policy, claiming it will shore up academic freedom by creating more specific guidelines.

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Up To Date
11:04 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Online University Offers Missourians An Alternate Route To Degrees

Host Steve Kraske sits down with the chancellor and an alum of the Western Governors University, an online university dedicated to affordable higher education.
Credit Western Governors University

Last year, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed a new partnership between the state of Missouri and nationally recognized, non-profit Western Governors University.  The idea: help thousands of the 750,000 Missourians with some higher education obtain an affordable college degree.  And affordable it is at just under $3,000 a semester.

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Education
7:53 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Kansas Board Of Education To Study Innovative Districts Plan

The Kansas State Board of Education has decided to continue studying a plan to exempt two school districts from many state regulations. The idea is that exempting schools from regulations may give them more flexibility and lead to better student outcomes.

The McPherson and Concordia districts are the first two seeking approval to become so-called "innovative districts." The board decided to form a study committee to meet with officials from the districts and look into some issues raised by board members.

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Common Core
2:49 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Compromise Would Keep Missouri In Common Core – For Now

Missouri schools have been implementing the Common Core standards since they were adopted in 2010.
Credit MyTudut / Flickr-CC

State lawmakers are close to a deal that would keep the Common Core education standards in Missouri schools until a panel of teachers can review the nationally-crafted expectations.

Missouri is one of 44 states that signed on to use the Common Core in 2010. But as schools have aligned their teaching and materials to the new expectations, parents have pushed back. They're concerned the standards, which have been endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, will mean a loss of local control for Missouri schools.

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Education
7:44 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Moody's Lowers Bond Rating For KU, Emporia State

The credit rating agency Moody's has downgraded its bond rating for the University of Kansas. The rating fell one grade to AA2. The company cited what it calls "thin operating cash flow" and falling enrollment as the state faces budget challenges in the coming years.

KU's Joe Monaco says despite the downgrade, the rating is still the third-highest an institution can receive.

“An Aa2 rating is still a very strong rating that enables us to continue financing the projects and the operations we need to serve students and the state of Kansas,” Monaco says.

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Central Standard
12:38 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Diversity Among Teachers In Kansas City

Our nation's classrooms are gaining diversity; is there a need for teachers to reflect that reality?
Credit US Department of Education / Flickr, Creative Commons

Recent studies from the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association point to what some are calling a diversity gap in American schools. While student populations are growing more and more racially diverse, the teaching pool isn't changing at a pace that reflects that reality.

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Education
7:47 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Long-Term Effects Of Kansas Tenure Repeal Uncertain

Major changes to teacher employment laws in Kansas will soon be taking effect, eliminating from state law what many people know as “tenure.”

That means administrators will be able to be fire teachers more easily, and it could be several years before we know the full effects of the changes. Under the old rules, Kansas teachers who had been with a district fewer than three years were on probationary status, and could be let go without a reason.

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Missouri Statehouse
7:40 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Missouri Senate Passes Budget Bills For K-12, Higher Education

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 9:53 pm

The Missouri Senate has so far passed five of the 13 bills that make up the state budget for next year.

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Education
2:57 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Regents Reject Big Changes To Controversial Social Media Policy

Fred Logan, chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents, rejects criticism that a new social media policy restricts expression.
Credit Wikimedia -- CC

The Kansas Board of Regents has decided to add a free speech provision to a controversial social media policy, a decision criticized as “window dressing.”

Regent Chairman Fred Logan, who along with the rest of the board has come under fire nationally from professors and First Amendment advocates, said during a board meeting this week that he does not believe the policy restricts staff and faculty from openly expressing their opinions, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

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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.

Guests:

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Education
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.

Guest:

  • Alberto Aleman Zubieta, former CEO of the Panama Canal Authority
  • Lisa Browar, president of the Linda Hall Library
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Education
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.

Guest:

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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.

Guests:

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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. 

Guest:

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Education
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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Education
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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Education
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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Education
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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Education
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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Education
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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