Education

Education News.

People who care about public schools in Kansas City are reacting to a recently released plan from consulting group CEE-Trust to transform the district.

While questions remain about the process by which the consultants were hired, Kansas Citians are now debating the merits of the proposal, which is unlike anything any other school district in the country has tried.

The Kansas Board of Education recently re-affirmed the teaching of cursive in Kansas schools. In this day and age, is this still an important skill or something that should fall by the wayside?

On today's Central Standard, Sylvia Maria-Gross discusses the how and the why behind teaching handwriting in schools.

Guest:

  • Kindel Turner Nash, Assistant Professor of Urban Teacher Education at UMKC
Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

The education consulting group CEE-Trust (Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust) presented a proposal Monday afternoon to restructure Kansas City Public Schools. The consultants recommended a small, state-run district office which would set up and monitor a network of largely autonomous non-profit schools. 

These schools could be started and operated by current school administrators and teachers, local non-profits, or surrounding districts.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Kansas Citians will get a glimpse of what might be in store for Kansas City Public Schools Monday afternoon when a consultant’s recommendations for the unaccredited district will be presented to the Missouri State Board of Education.

State education commissioner Chris Nicastro has said she’s looking for a major transformation of the state’s chronically under-performing districts.  In August, the board hired consultant CEE-Trust to research the history and status of school reform in Kansas City, and effective practices from around the country.  

Chelsea Gomez / Flickr - CC

*This show originally aired Tuesday, July 2, 2013*

The path to a high school equivalency certificate in Missouri is about to be rewired.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

A collective of Kansas City organizations and public school parents have joined to petition the Missouri Board of Education to stop a study looking at changes for the unaccredited Kansas City schools.

The Coalition for Quality Public Education includes the Kansas City Federation of Teachers and NAACP. The group wants to end the study by the Indianapolis-based research group CEE-Trust.

Jennifer Wolfsie is a member of the school district's advisory committee. She wants the school district to continue its own work toward improvement.

The Kansas Board of Regents has approved a new social media policy for state university employees. Violating the policy could lead to sanctions, including dismissal.

Regents Chairman Fred Logan says there is a concern that social media can lead to what he calls "extraordinary damage" to institutions very quickly. He says the requirements are narrowly drawn and highlight exceptions to First Amendment protections that have been created by the courts.

MyTudut/Flickr-CC

You might have guessed that the Kansas City, Mo., schools aren’t happy with the recent ruling that will make them pay for students transferring outside their district. Now, they’re channeling that fury through the courts.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we discuss the details of that and take a look at the controversial and secretive long-term plans from the education commissioner for the unaccredited district.

Guests:

The Kansas City school district will go to court to attempt to stop a state Supreme Court ruling from allowing students to transfer to adjoining accredited districts from taking effect. 

After a closed meeting of the school board yesterday, board president Airick West said the district will file for an injunction  blocking the transfers today. West said the action is being taken to protect the students and the progress they and the district have mad over the past 24 months from what he called "outside circumstances that threaten the growth of that achievement."

Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons - CC

On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the law that allows students in unaccredited districts to transfer at district expense to accredited schools in neighboring districts.

Kansas City Public School district Superintendent Stephen Green and the neighbors of the KCPS district are afraid that the impact will be detrimental.

Guests:

The Kansas State Board of Education has made a strong statement urging school districts to teach cursive writing. The recommended grade school standards say the board "expects" districts to teach cursive.

The board voted 10-0 to tell school districts to keep cursive in the classroom, citing research that indicates handwriting is connected to cognitive development.

Board member Janet Waugh, from Kansas City, Kan., says she understands why schools might cut back on cursive.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

The Missouri Supreme Court has cleared the way for students to transfer out of the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools. Starting 2014-2015, KCPS will be required to pay tuition and transportation costs for students who transfer to neighboring school districts.

Five Kansas City area districts had challenged the 1993 state law allowing the transfers. They argued it is an unfunded mandate. But the Supreme Court ruled that the law just shifted responsibility for educating students among school districts.

Boston Public Library / Flickr -- Creative Commons

It was known as the Great War—or even The War to End All Wars, even though, of course, it didn’t. It did, however cost 9 million lives, devastated Europe and drew in all the world’s great powers of the day.

Next summer marks the 100th Anniversary of World War I. But how do you remember something that no one alive has first-person experience with?

The answer includes the hiring this month of new staff to head up the effort and start making plans and putting them into action.

State of Missouri

The president of the Missouri board of education is criticizing groups that are calling for Missouri Education Commissioner, Chris Nicastro, to resign. Meanwhile, one of those lawmakers says the Kansas City district has no voice on the state board.

Twix / Flickr -- Creative Commons

 When a school bus crashes in Kansas City, parents begin wondering how safe school buses really are, and whether they should be required to have seat belts.

It turns out that school buses are by far the safest way to get children to and from school (even counting walking).

Two members of the Missouri General Assembly are calling on elementary and secondary education Commissioner Chris Nicastro to resign. They think Nicastro has lost the public’s trust.

In a written statement, House member Genise Montecillo and Sen. Paul LeVota, both Democrats, say Nicastro has, “demonstrated a troubling tendency to abuse power.”

Montecillo specifically accuses Nicastro of releasing inaccurate information regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to do away with teacher tenure.

Old Shoe Woman/Flickr-CC

Common Core is the latest trend in classroom curriculum, but not everyone’s convinced that it’s better than previous plans. For each new education strategy, schools have to change gears and adapt—and that’s easier said than done.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about what makes this plan different and how local school districts are adjusting.

Guests:

thejbird / Flickr-CC

There was a time when being a kid did not involve needing a planner. Those days are long gone for many families in the new world of lessons, sports, classes, tutoring, clubs, church groups and academics. Many children have busier schedules than their parents, which means the parents’ schedules fill up, too.

Kristen_a / Flickr - CC

Imagine your young son tells you he wants to play with Barbies. Or that he prefers a purple backpack to a blue one. Perhaps your little girl tells you she doesn’t want a doll for Christmas, but would prefer a monster truck. Would you be uncomfortable?

When raising a child, what gender choices do you make for your child, and what do you let them decide for themselves?  What defines a boy as a boy, or a girl as a girl?

The Problem Of Adult Bullying

Nov 13, 2013

In light of the recent NFL bullying scandal where Richie Incognito's inappropriate locker room behavior landed him in the national spotlight, we explore the reality of adult bullying.

We talk about how prevalent adult bullying is, as well as how important it is for managers and supervisors to enforce anti-bullying policies in their workplaces. 

Guests:

Kansas spends more money on education that any other item in the state budget, and education funding will likely be the dominant issue when lawmakers convene the legislative session in January.

A state court has already ordered lawmakers to spend more on education. And soon, the Kansas Supreme Court will issue its own ruling on a lawsuit that claims the state has been shortchanging public schools. All of this led lawmakers to spend two days last week studying up on school funding.

The formula

Curtis Gregory Perry/Flickr-CC

To transfer or not to transfer? That’s the question for Kansas City public school students who are in limbo as they wait for the outcome of a lawsuit to find out what their options are.

Kansas City Superintendent Gets Up To 5 More Years

Oct 24, 2013

As Kansas City schools inch toward regaining accreditation from the State of Missouri, Superintendent Steve Green took a vote of confidence out of a school board meeting October 24.

Green gets a new three-year contract at $250,000. The pact includes a pair of one-year extensions.

Green’s contract also has a $60,000 signing bonus.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Public schools in Kansas City, Mo. will remain unaccredited.

The State Board of Education on Tuesday chose to take no action on a request by Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green to grant provisional accreditation, based on this year's assessment scores in which the district placed within the provisional range. But State Board President Peter Herschend says there hasn't been sufficient improvement sustained over a period of time.

A group of Kansas lawmakers will begin visiting college and university campuses this week to talk budget issues. The visits come in the wake of nearly $50 million in budget cuts over two years passed by legislators.

Lawmakers have said they want to talk to university officials about efficiency and how they spend money. Gov. Sam Brownback, who opposed the funding cuts, says he wants lawmakers to learn more about the role of higher education in Kansas and the impact of the cuts.

Prayitno / Flickr - CC

For many generations, immigrants to the United States wanted their kids to learn English, and English only. For them, total assimilation into American culture was the key to success. But in an increasingly diverse and globalized country, being bilingual is now more often seen as an asset.

New Hire Hoped To Change School Notification Flaw

Oct 16, 2013

Shawnee Mission Schools have a new parent and patron notification service for emergencies.

The change grows out of tardy school-alert lockdown messages in September.  There was no harm to anyone as result of the threat.

It took hours for all families to learn an Overland Park School had been locked down for a time.

The District looked for another system and found it with School-Messenger, which claims to serve three thousand big and small school systems around the country including New York City’s.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

It seems like every time there’s been a glimmer of hope for the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools, those hopes are dashed. In August, KCPS made a remarkable improvement in its report card from the state, meeting the numerical cutoff for provisional accreditation. But in September, Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro recommended that the district stay unaccredited until it shows it can sustain these improvements.

State of Missouri

The hopes of Kansas City Public School officials were dashed last month when Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro recommended the district remain unaccredited.  

KCPS had been seeking provisional accreditation. Officials cited improvements in test scores and other factors. This August, the district earned 60 percent of the total possible points on its state report card (that was up from about 20 percent in a preliminary assessment last year). Fifty percent was the cutoff to be considered for provisional accreditation.

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