The Kansas City Star published an ‘expectations setter’ by Airick West in its As I See It slot this morning. The main points of Mr. West’s article were as follows:
- KCPS must obtain (provisional) accreditation now
- KCPS must graduate more students with existing college or IB credit, or advanced placement college credit.
- KCPS must continue the academic and systemic gains.
- KCPS must offer more educational choices.
- KCPS must earn full accreditation within three years.
While you could quibble with some of Airick West’s assertions –the whisper stream from DESE is that the KCPS MAP scores will not be as significantly altered from the previous years as Dr. Green has intimated, for example 1 — it would be hard to argue with West and the board’s intentions. Indeed, the five points outlined should have been rigorously followed since 1999 when KCPS became the first major city school district in America to lose accreditation, failing to meet any of the state’s 11 academic performance standards. 2
And because the district has never consistently followed these 5 points, much less meet all of the state’s 11 academic performance standards, there are those who feel KCPS should be abolished.
However the state board of education seems to have signaled it will take the middle road – increasing oversight of unaccredited schools and
enforcing implementing the recommendations gained from that monitoring. 3 If this is the course the state chooses — to include denying KCSP provisional accreditation this year — it will greatly upset both groups: Dr. Green and the board who feel they ‘deserve’ accreditation, as well as those who believe the KCSP should be dismantled and its students scattered to the outlying districts..
But of more concern to the people who e-mailed WNBTv this morning was West’s following words:
“But midtown parents deserve the same opportunity Waldo parents worked so hard for. And more high school options are necessary so parents don’t look elsewhere as their children age.”
Those words seem to our friends to be further indication that the KCPS is looking to partner with Académie Lafayette in its somewhat sub rosa efforts to open an IB high school. While A.L. parents in general believe an I.B. school would be a good thing, the majority of those same parents do not want a thing to do with KCPS, even if the district is willing to offer A.L. a “free” building. 4
- And Dr. Green’s assertions can be read as a preemptive rebuttal against the state’s (possible) decision to not award the KCPS provisional status even if the district hits the minimum score this year necessary this to do so. State Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro has said that their board prefers to see two to three years of sustained improvement before awarding provisional accreditation: see our earlier item. ↩
- The overall state MAP scores are out and are a mixed bag at best: math drops but science rose, though in both cases it’s important to note that less than 60% are proficient. MAP scores for individual school districts will be made public this Friday. ↩
- It is interesting that the group contracted to analyze and make recommendations for KCPS, Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, includes the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which of course runs the newest, and probably most effective, alternative to the KCPS – The Kauffman School. We’re not saying the state has tipped it’s hand…necessarily. ↩
- Again, see earlier writing on the subject… ↩
- Perhaps Académie Lafayette could use that time to itself gain accreditation and make more realistic plans for the future? ↩
- Though, to be fair? The A.L. board, or members thereof, has in the past said that a new high school wouldn’t necessarily mean a partnership with KCPS; they have retained former KCPS Southwest Early College Campus principle Steve Scraggs to investigate ‘all possibilities’. But sans partnership with KCPS that doesn’t leave a lot of attractive options…unless The Kauffman Foundation is interested. And even then, as we have consistently pointed out, it’s not a sure thing: more work, more planning, more budgeting need to happen with a goal of opening an IB high school in five years’ time. ↩