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, Feb. 8, meeting.
You can read the report here: http://tinyurl.com/8x9ecju
The citizens’ summary of the board’s performance?:
“On-going changes in staff appointments and assignments continue. Only two members of the senior staff have been with the district for two years. There is a new interim chief academic officer after the previous one left.
“A number of programs are proposed to improve safety and security. We agree that a safe and secure environment can enhance learning assuming effective instruction and curriculum are in place. (We have yet to hear much about educational programs.) It was mentioned that the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools have 22 security officers for 18,000 students while our District requires 88 security guards for less than 16,000 students. We wonder why the discrepancy. Is this symptomatic of a school system in disarray?
“In order to bolster accreditation points a “sweep” by truancy officers and other staff resulted in the arrest of a number of truants followed by calls to their parents and delivery of the students back to school. It was indicated in the meeting that most of the students had left again in a few days. We wonder why that was a surprise. As far as we could tell, no programs were developed to keep the students in school.
“A member of the audience at the meeting mentioned a concern that is shared by board watch members. The school board conducts its “public” meetings as if they were in private, not in a fishbowl. There is no interaction with the observers; in fact, there is almost no acknowledgement that others are present, certainly no dialogue. People feel isolated from the board.
“Other observations about the functioning of the District:
“There has been a regrouping of Standards Based Learning students to grade level shuffling teachers, students and peers to prepare for State tests. One teacher reported that she has experienced 12 different changes this year. Teachers are being told to focus on the tests in hopes of reaching an accreditation standard.
“The day after the meeting the Human Resources Department notified Head Start teachers that they will not have jobs next year; slots will be filled by persons with associate degrees.
“Some $25,000,000 in consent item expenditures was moved on to the next board meeting agenda for vote/approval. No explanation is given for these items but the public can go on the district website, look at the agenda for the upcoming meeting and find a page for each item. A brief summary of the item is accompanied by a listing of how the item impacts the transition plan and various policies. Since there is no longer a budget and finance committee to dig more deeply into the expenditures, a high level of trust in the administration is required. We hope that the current administration warrants the trust; past staff has not.”
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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