Education

Education
7:57 am
Wed August 20, 2014

School Districts Arming Teachers In Rural Missouri

A dozen school districts in Missouri, including tiny Climax Springs in the Ozarks, are training teachers and arming them for the start of school.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

As the school year begins we're hearing a lot about accreditation, Common Core and teacher tenure. All important, but the issue that may worry educators the most is security. School officials spend a lot of time thinking about it and a huge amount of money trying to improve it.

Right now, about a third of all states allow teachers or staff with a conceal and carry permit to pack a gun in school as long as they have permission from the school board. Nowhere in America right now is the issue of armed teachers more complicated than in Missouri.

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Education
12:31 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Looking Back, Looking Forward As School Days In Kansas City Begin

Hundreds of families line up for school supplies at a back-to-school fair at Kansas City Kansas Community College last week.
Credit 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.

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Education
7:36 am
Thu August 14, 2014

As KCPS Courts New Students, Others May Get Lost In The Shuffle

Carol Kelly, left, talks to her son Conner while making dinner. The Kellys live in Brookside and send their kids to Kansas City Public Schools.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

For years, district schools, charter schools and private schools have all competed for students in Kansas City, Mo.

This fragmented education system is a result of years of mistrust between district residents and the struggling Kansas City Public Schools.

Now the district is provisionally accredited and pushing back against its reputation. It's launching new initiatives in hopes of winning families back.

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Education
7:44 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Here's A Sneak Peek At The New Common Core Test Kansas Is Designing

Center for Education Testing and Evaluation Director Marianne Perie explains a graphing problem on Kansas' new standardized test. The exam will be administered in the spring.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

This spring Kansas students will take a new standardized test aligned to the nationally crafted Common Core standards.

The test is for Kansas children only – last year state education officials dropped a plan to use the same test as 20 other states. Instead, Kansas is using a new exam, in development now at the University of Kansas.

"So ksassessments.org is where you’re going to find everything we’re working on," says Marianne Perie, director of the Center for Education Testing and Evaluation.

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Education
7:53 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Teachers Remain Committed To Common Core Even As Missouri Reviews Standards

Teachers in North Kansas City spent part of last week at Summer Academy, a workshop to discuss classroom practices.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

This week, as most metro-area students head back to class, there's a fair amount of uncertainty for Missouri teachers who aren't sure what changes, if any, are coming to the Common Core academic standards they've been using for the past four years.

Elected officials have until October to name their picks for committees to review the state's academic standards. And depending on those committees' feedback, Missouri could have all-new standards in two years.

Or, schools could be given very similar expectations to the Common Core.

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Central Standard
9:57 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Identifying And Teaching 'English Language Learners'

In many school districts, immigrant students with low English comprehension aren't always immediately identified as needing ESL (English as a Second Language) courses when they enroll. A new proposal in Kansas City, Missouri would help identify these students earlier so they have access to the assistance they need. We look at this program as well as the latest trends in ESL education. 

Guests:

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Education
6:04 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Hale Cook Elementary Reopens As Kansas City Kids Head Back To Class

Children all over the metro are going back to school this week – Monday was the first day of school in the Kansas City Public School District. 

It’s been a long time since the sound of students echoed through the halls of Hale Cook Elementary School near 73rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Shut down in 2009 as the district went through a massive consolidation, parents in the Brookside neighborhood and the district have been working for the past two years to recruit enough families to re-open the building.

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Education
7:48 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Kansas City's Lean Lab Looks To Entrepreneurs To Improve Education

Lean Lab's Carrie Markel and Katie Boody think outside of the classroom to solve educational problems.
Credit Lean Lab

The Sprint Accelerator, is a sleek, modern communal work space occupying two floors of an old brick building in Kansas City’s Crossroads neighborhood. It has white board walls and tables for entrepreneurs to sketch out their ideas. It features massive oddly shaped chairs, lots of sunlight, and the startup-requisite game room featuring indoor shuffleboard and foosball.

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Education
2:37 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Kansas City Public Schools Granted Provisional Accreditation

Kansas City Public Schools Board of Directors President Jon Hile, left, and Superintendent Stephen Green announce the district's provisional accreditation status.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

For the first time in two years, Kansas City Public Schools can say they're accredited.

The Missouri State Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to grant the district provisional accreditation after what the board described as two years of improvement. But both the state board and district officials emphasized there is still work to be done.

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Education
4:50 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Nixon Calls For Investigation Into UMKC Business School Rankings

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is calling for an investigation into the way leaders at UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management promoted the school.  

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Central Standard
4:04 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Behind The Numbers: The Significance Of College Rankings

The Kansas City Star recently published a report indicating that UMKC's highly-touted Bloch School of Management's rankings might be misleading. Money's Kim Clark and Kaplan's Arthur Ahn discuss how publications rank universities, and what those rankings mean to prospective students and employers.

Guests:

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Education
4:17 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Another Kansas City For-Profit College Could Be Closing

For-profit Anthem College has told the state of Missouri it plans to lay off 67 employees in the next two months.

The school has put up a notice on its website that its campuses in Kansas City, Fenton and Maryland Heights are no longer enrolling new students but it hasn't confirmed the college is closing down.

The news comes just weeks after for-profit Corinthian College announced it would sell or close dozens of schools, including the Everest College campus in Kansas City. For now, that school continues to enroll new students.

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Education
1:45 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Missouri State Board Not Ready To Grant KCPS Accreditation Request

The Missouri State Board of Education says there's not enough data to approve Kansas City Public Schools' request for provisional accreditation.

The district says its test scores should be good enough to qualify for provisional accreditation next month when its annual performance review is released. But the district asked the State Board to act early, before the school year starts, so it won't lose more students to other districts.

As long as the district remains unaccredited, state law permits students to transfer to neighboring schools.

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Education
2:23 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Here's What You Need To Know About KCPS-Academie Lafayette Plan

The old Southwest High School building is the proposed site of a new foreign language-centric high school. Kansas City Public Schools would partner with Academie Lafayette to open the school.
Credit Kansas City Public Schools

Kansas City Public Schools wants to close Southwest Early College Campus and transform the site into a new high school in partnership with French-immersion charter Academie Lafayette.

The district has been holding parent and community meetings this month to get feedback on the plan, which would require most current Southwest students transfer to other district schools. The next meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Paseo Academy, 4747 Flora Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

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Education
8:01 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Efficiency Group Considering Kansas School Spending

A commission will be working over the coming months to look for possible ways Kansas schools could more efficiently use tax dollars.

The group is made up of former lawmakers, education officials and members of advocacy groups like the Kansas Policy Institute. Those factions don't always see eye-to-eye on education issues.

The group elected former advertising executive and Wichita Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sam Williams to head the commission. He says he'll be working to get everyone on the same page.

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Education
3:44 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Kansas School Efficiency Group Convenes For First Time

A Kansas school efficiency commission created by the Legislature met for the first time Friday. It was formed to find ways for schools to more efficiently use taxpayer money while improving the quality of education.

The group chose retired advertising executive and former Wichita Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sam Williams to head the commission.

"I think my opportunity is to help us get to the position where the entire state of Kansas can be comfortable with the recommendations we're going to make," says Williams.

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Common Core
4:32 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Missouri Parents, Educators To Review Common Core

Missouri parents and educators will take a closer look at academic standards as a result of legislation Gov. Jay Nixon signed Monday in what could be the state's first step away from Common Core.

An earlier version of the bill would have barred Missouri schools from implementing the Common Core. But now the state will use the nationally-crafted math and English language arts standards for at least two more years.

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Kansas City Public Schools
8:32 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Fellowship Projects Seek To Reinvigorate Kansas City Schools

Cecilia Belser-Patton is one of the Lean Lab fellows who has been working on innovative ways to help public schools in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

A new program is taking an entrepreneurial approach to tackling the longstanding problem of education in Kansas City, Mo. 

The Lean Lab at the Sprint Accelerator will announce six projects to help area schools Friday afternoon. 

For the past four weeks, fellows at the Lean Lab have been cooking up practical, simple ideas to reinvigorate education in Kansas City.

For example, one fellow is working on a grading system that will use smartphones and tablets to help track students' progress assignment by assignment. 

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Higher Education
8:32 am
Fri July 11, 2014

University Of Missouri Sets Fundraising Record

The University of Missouri raised a record amount of money in the past fiscal year.
Credit Courtesy photo / University of Missouri

Donors deposited a record-breaking amount of money into the University of Missouri’s coffers last fiscal year.

The university in Columbia, Mo., beat its 2013-14 fiscal year goal of raising $150 million by pulling in $164.5 million. The amount broke the previous record of $160 million raised in fiscal year 2008.

Thomas Hiles, ​MU vice chancellor for advancement, says the record is noteworthy because it was reached without mega gifts, which the university has received the previous two years.

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Child Care
2:35 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Missouri To Step Up Oversight Of Child Care Providers

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a student at Operation Breakthrough, a Kansas City day care center, before signing legislation tightening the rules for child care providers.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

There are roughly 2,300 child care providers in Missouri that don't have to follow any kind of health and safety regulations – a huge problem for parents trying to find suitable day care for their children.

"There are some folks out there who, either through negligence or circumstance, should not be in the business of providing child care," says Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, "and there's very little to stop them from setting up a sign,  throwing a swing set out back and calling themselves a childcare provider."

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Higher Education
11:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Survey Of College Campuses Shows Many Do Not Investigate Sexual Assault

Claire McCaskill

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 3:45 pm

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says a staff survey of 440 colleges and universities regarding campus sexual assaults has found that 41 percent of those responding “have not conducted a single investigation in five years” despite allegations by possible victims.

That finding is disturbing, McCaskill told reporters Wednesday because it means those colleges "are saying there are zero instances of sexual assault, which is hard to believe."

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Higher Education
9:27 am
Wed July 9, 2014

KU's Edwards Campus To Add Five New Advanced Degree Options

Students sit in a lecture hall at the University of Kansas' Edwards campus. The Overland Park-based extension will be expanding its programs this fall.
Credit City of Overland Park, Kan. / Flickr-CC

Professionals seeking advanced degrees from the University of Kansas will have five new opportunities from the Overland Park-based Edwards campus starting this fall. 

The five new degree programs are for graduate students in education, business, accounting and international studies.

Christine Falk, Edwards campus marketing coordinator, says that new academic programs should help spur a sense of community and personal growth in the area. 

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Education
9:18 am
Wed July 9, 2014

UM System Expands Academic Tracking Platform To Boost Retention And Graduation Rates

University of Missouri System Seal

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 4:29 pm

The University of Missouri is expanding an early alert system that tracks academic performance to all four of its campuses this fall.

The system, developed by the company Starfish Retention Solutions, is designed to improve retention and graduation rates by better connecting students, faculty and staff.  

The expansion follows the success of a pilot program at the university's Columbia campus that gives advisors real-time grading information on students and tracks performance trends among classes and subjects. 

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Education
5:27 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Some Missouri Immigrants Can Tap Into Scholarship Fund

Immigrants receive information on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program to provide documentation for people brought to the United States illegally as children, from a community group.
Credit Neighborhood Centers Inc. / Flickr--CC

The Missouri Department of Higher Education is opening up a community college scholarship program to young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

That means students who qualify for the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, will be able to trade tutoring hours for two years of tuition reimbursement through the A+ Scholarship Program. 

The deferred action program is tied to an Obama administration initiative that started in 2012. 

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Education
3:38 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Kansas Schools Won't Get Report Cards After Hackers Stymie Tests

Most students in Kansas now take their standardized tests on computers. Marianne Perie with KU's Center for Education Testing and Evaluation says even paper and pencil tests aren't foolproof: This year, a box of tests fell off a truck and was destroyed.
Credit biologycorner / Flickr--CC

The Kansas State Board of Education agreed Tuesday to throw out data from this year's math and reading exams after hackers disrupted the spring standardized tests.

The decision means the state won't be issuing school report cards this fall.

"We just didn't have faith that the data were going to give an accurate picture of where the students in Kansas are in relation to the new cognitive standards," says Mariane Perie, director of the Center for Education Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas. 

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Central Standard
4:49 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Historic Dividing Lines In Public Education Still Affect Kansas And Missouri Schools

US Marshalls escort Ruby Bridges to and from school in New Orleans in 1960.
Credit CC Public Domain

  

This spring marked the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a Kansas case that went to the Supreme Court and ultimately ended with the ruling that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional. In the first half of Tuesday's Central Standard, we shared some little-known stories of the desegregation process from the months and years that followed.

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Public Schools
3:29 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

A Look Back At The Plan That Tried To Unify Kansas City Public Schools

The future of Kansas City and St. Louis public schools is uncertain, but unification could be a potential solution.
Credit Liz / Wikimedia Commons

In 1967, Missouri Rep. Jim Spainhower was tasked with creating a bill that would reorganize public school districts throughout the state.

Known as the Spainhower Commission, the plan would've cut the total number of school districts down to 20.

Reactions to the Spainhower Commission were almost uniformly negative at the time, as many Kansas City and St. Louis suburb residents thought it was a ploy for tax money and desegregation. 

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Beyond Our Borders
9:52 am
Fri June 27, 2014

How School And District Boundaries Shaped Education In Kansas City

Street map of Kansas City showing grade school and high school districts as well as the locations of schools. "Red Lines Indicate High School Boundaries" and "Colored School Districts" are marked in green.
Credit Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library / Kansas City, Mo.

Earlier this year, we embarked on a year-long investigation of the lines that divide and unite us — starting with a look at Troost Avenue.

The road has been used as a border for many things, including neighborhood associations, census tracts, political districts and public schools. 

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Up To Date
2:34 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

College Tuition Rises While State Funding Decreases

Credit Wikimedia Commons / Harvard Business School

It's a struggle today for college students to pay their tuition. As costs continue to rise, states are backing away from funding higher education. Steve Kraske talks with the co-author of a recent report on this very problem. They look at why lawmakers in so many states are turning their backs on helping students get their degrees.

Learn More: Find out who pays for public higher education, the state or the student.

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Education
6:47 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Kansas Board Of Education OKs Teaching License Changes

The Kansas State Board of Education has approved changes that will allow people with career experience – but no education degree — to teach in public schools. The changes will allow people with real-world experience to teach subjects including math, science and technical education.

The new regulations were prompted by a bill passed earlier this year by the Kansas Legislature, although the Board of Ed had already been considering some new rules. The changes easily passed on a 9-1 vote.

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