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From the Editor’s Desk

One-Room School House, Sedgwick County, Kansas

The intent of this website is to serve as an online Section 16 for support of public schools in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Let me explain. Beginning with the federal Land Ordinance of 1785, Congress dedicated Section 16 of every township surveyed to the support of public education. Today — more than two centuries after the passage of this ordinance — schools still exist in Section 16 of many townships across the United States.

Public education was important to the founding fathers, most of whom were wealthy business people and farmers, because they feared for the future of a United States of America without an educated electorate. So concerned were they that initially only white men with property could vote. These wealthy white men were so afraid of the uneducated rabble that my ancestor John Hall, who attended the first Continental Congress, was not allowed to participate in the second because of a radical idea he had that property ownership should not be a requirement for voting. The fact that he manufactured muskets for the Continental Army and was quite capable of arming an uneducated rabble probably also gave attendees at the second Continental Congress cause for concern.

At any rate, United States citizens continue to have cause for concern, because the success of public schools depends on the income level of district residents, and success on standardized tests correlates directly with parental income. As a result, we are failing our urban and rural students (and increasingly students in many aging suburban school districts). In the process, we are also failing ourselves by creating the uneducated rabble our founding fathers so feared.

As citizens, we need to take a more active role in overseeing the education of our young people. Journalists used to play this role on behalf of the citizenry, but with the decline of advertising revenues and — consequently — local newspapers, we have lost our primary sources of information about local education. Without such sources, citizens have trouble learning about issues regarding student learning, teaching quality, school board candidate elections, how districts spend our tax dollars and much more.

Named after a historic newspaper — the Kansas City Enterprise — which began publishing in 1854 and became the Kansas City Star’s last daily competitor until ceasing publication in 1942, the KC Education Enterprise grounds itself in the history and people of this metropolitan area. We also look forward to participating in the evolving future of news gathering, in which citizen journalists will certainly play a significant role. We invite you to join us here to read the news about local education and to write it, too. If you have a story to tell or information to share, post it in the comments or contact the editor. The KC Education Enterprise is interested in news from the following districts in the Kansas City metropolitan area (click on district names for links to their websites):

Kansas

Missouri

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