KC Public Schools still fall far short
The Kansas City Star
The small bounce in accreditation points seen by the Kansas City Public Schools is a tribute to Superintendent Steve Green and the focus his team has placed on taking care of business. In what could have been a year of free fall, the district actually made a bit of progress.
That forward motion will have to accelerate, however, if the district is going to make a case for continued self-governance.
In the annual report card released this week by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, only the long-troubled Riverview Gardens School District near St. Louis scored fewer accreditation points than the Kansas City Public Schools.
The Kansas City district met five standards out of 14. That’s up from three last year, when the state announced it was stripping the district of its accreditation. Schools and students showed improvement in 10 of the accreditation categories. But they didn’t score well enough on performance tests to meet any of those standards.
The bottom line is that most children in the Kansas City Public Schools still are not reading, writing and computing math problems at the level they should be. A sustained focus is needed to change that.
Green and the school board wisely opted last year to shelve some of the ingredients of the “transformation plan” devised by former Superintendent John Covington and concentrate on aligning instruction in the schools with the state’s performance requirements. They must maintain that emphasis. Consistency in the top administrative ranks is crucial.
Most area school districts scored well in the state performance report, including some that serve relatively high numbers of low-income students. An exception is Hickman Mills, which is in danger of falling to a provisionally accredited status. Too many of Kansas City’s charter schools also posted disappointing numbers.
The big picture is that while most area districts are doing a good job, schools in Kansas City’s core continue to struggle. The city’s leadership must muster all available resources to encourage strong administrations and improved academic performance in the Kansas City Public Schools and Hickman Mills districts, and more scrutiny of underperforming charter schools.