If figuring out how to fix education in Kansas City is a puzzle, then the founders of The Lean Lab say their fellowships should provide the pieces.
"Each fellow has to commit to impacting 500 students over the course of five years," says Carrie Markel, the group's chief operating officer. "If we incubate 20 fellows a year, in less than 20 years we would impact all 70,000 students in the Kansas City city limits."
Two years ago, sweeping changes to federal school lunch guidelines put more fruits, vegetables and whole grains on cafeteria trays.
But the healthful options haven't been popular with students (you might remember the catchy video some Kansas kids made blasting the changes). And for the first time in 30 years, the number of meals purchased in school cafeterias is in decline.
The largest teachers union in Kansas is promising a legal challenge to part of a controversial education funding law. The legislation includes additional school funding in response to a court ruling, but lawmakers also added policy changes that angered many teachers.
The bill makes it easier to fire teachers in Kansas, by eliminating the guarantee of a due process hearing before a teacher is removed, if the teacher requests it. The KNEA says the provision was added to the bill in an improper manner.
High school debate competitions are about more than just arguing over one issue. Fierce rivalries on the floor become close friendships when the dust settles, and the skills kids are learning can propel them far beyond the local classroom.
In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk about the relevance and benefits of participating in high school debate and speech and why it’s so popular with students.
It’s a lofty goal for any charter – be the premiere public school in Missouri and a model for the rest of the country.
And for a new school, it’s especially bold. Yet that’s been the vision of the Kauffman School since before it opened.
This week while other metro-area kids were enjoying that first taste of summer, sixth graders at the Kauffman School were sitting in science class. It's quiet except for the scratch of pencil on paper.
A new program in the metro is aimed at ensuring that graduating high school seniors intending to go to college don't become victims of "summer melt", the phenomenon where students set for college in the spring don't make it to campus in the fall.
The Kansas City Metro College Connections Center is designed to combat summer melt, an issue especially acute for low-income and first-generation college students. Steve Kraske previews the new Center's goals with MCC-Penn Valley President Joe Seabrooks and KCUR reporter Elle Moxley.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.