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Citizen Watchdog Group Reports on KCMO School Board’s Dec. 7 Meeting

Art Credit: KC Education Enterprise | Drawing Credit: 123rf stock image | Logo Credit: Kansas City, Missouri School District

A citizen watchdog group, Do the Right Thing for Kids, has released its report assessing the performance of the Kansas City, Missouri Board of Education’s performance during its Wednesday, Dec. 7, meeting.

You can read the report here: http://www.dotherightthingforkids.org/update-as-of-121911/

The citizens’ summary of the board’s performance?:

“The current school board members contend the Transition Plan already in place will afford the district the necessary tools to regain accreditation. The view of Do the Right Thing for Kids is that the Transition Plan is a useful framework for a reasonably funded and moderately successful district that can afford to take the time to work on programs to move to the next level. It is not a turnaround plan. It does not call for major change in administrative and teaching behavior. It does not assign tough timelines and accountability. It will not get us to accreditation. In a little over two years the state’s deadline will be reached. State law calls for the district to lapse at that point. Most likely marginal progress will have been achieved, and the district will again be pleading for ‘more time–we have a plan.’ That is not good enough for Kansas City’s kids.

“The report below of the December 7, 2011 Kansas City, Missouri School Board Meeting illustrates the problems surrounding the current board and the Transition Plan.

“The board met in its ‘workshop’ format for the first meeting of the month. After taking care of some routine business, the administrative leadership team described their efforts to gain points toward regaining accreditation. Do the Right Thing for Kids board watchers observed that current efforts are focused on gaining a couple of points not directly related to improving academic achievement with the hope of regaining provisional accreditation. These efforts include better records on college placement, a bonus point for some gains in scores as well as a stepped up effort to round up truants, and plans to add pre-tests to improve scores.

“Elements in the Transition Plan that advocate improving teaching and principal leadership were discussed, and there was also talk of improving technology, better support of teachers, and a pilot program for pay for performance (merit pay).

“While pleased to see that accreditation is now being discussed, we are disappointed to observe that efforts focused only on regaining provisional accreditation; there was no push for major change. The focus is on transition not turnaround. No one said, ‘What are we going to do to quickly turn this organization around—to regain full accreditation?’”

If you would like to find out more about Do the Right Thing for kids, the KC Education Enterprise published a story last August with information about who they are and what they do: http://tinyurl.com/5ruawxv

Also, if you would like to subscribe to their monthly reports, here is a link to their e-mail subscription page:http://tinyurl.com/6avsyk7
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Read our Twitter feed for more education news from local, regional and national sources:http://twitter.com/#!/JW_Martinez

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Or you can sign up for a free subscription to the daily KC Education Enterprise roundup of local, state and national education news on paper.li: http://paper.li/JW_Martinez/1322883462

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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