Kansas City Education News
By ELLE MOXLEY KCUR 89.3
Kansas City’s complex racial history is still defining how kids are educated in 2020. That includes factors far outside of classrooms, where housing instability, violence in communities and childhood trauma all have profound effects on schools and students. Schools across metro Kansas City are increasingly diverse, but students of color still struggle. They’re more likely to attend highly segregated schools and less likely to be taught by educators who look like them. Even in affluent suburban districts where most families are middle class – and even when controlling for poverty – gaps in achievement persist at every grade and in every content area. This year, KCUR will dive deep into the out-of-school factors that determine how children show up to learn.
by Elle Moxley, KCUR 89.3
Earlier this year Kansas City voters rejected a plan to improve pre-K access and quality with public dollars, but that hasn’t stopped a child care center at 59th Street and Swope Parkway from trying to get better on its own. The Upper Room, an education equity non-profit, has run a licensed child care center for about 15 years but only recently began to pursue state accreditation as an early learning center. “This was more of a day care where parents dropped their kids off and, for lack of a better word, we had babysitting services,” said Kris Collins, the director of education programs for the Upper Room. “What we wanted to do was turn it into a school where kids have a curriculum, where they’re assessed, with report cards and parent-teacher conferences. We wanted to change the whole mindset so we’re preparing kids for kindergarten.”
By 41 Action News
Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools has made “unprecedented gains” in two academic categories, according to new assessment data. The district, which once was the lowest-performing district in the state, increased its scores on the Kansas Assessment Program by 2.7% in English language arts and 5.9% in math, according to the December KAP interim assessment. Superintendent Charles Foust said the assessment shows “continued progression” on advancing students out of the “lowest performing level.” “Most importantly, this shows the positive results of what focused leadership can do in each school throughout the district,” Foust said in the release.
Missouri Education News
By Elizabeth Davis, Jefferson City News Tribune
In 1833, Dunklin appointed a commission on education. Their duty was to determine the needs of the state and draw up a plan for public education facilities. Dunklin received their report in 1834 and, with his urging, it was approved by the Legislature in 1835. This action established a state board of education and a means of financing it. It also made Missouri a leader in education, even outdoing states back east. And it was Gov. Dunklin who laid the groundwork for the University of Missouri when he recommended land sales to fund a state university.
This Week’s ESSA News: Missouri Data Reveals Wide Range in Per-Pupil Spending, States Using Tech to Personalize Learning, Leaders Reflect on ESSA Four Years In & More
By The 74
When the Every Student Succeeds Act was passed into law on Dec. 10, 2015, President Barack Obama called it a “Christmas Miracle.” While schools are “still in the process of formally adjusting” to the law and some critics continue to raise concerns over its efficacy, “the universal expectation on Capitol Hill is that it will effectively be the law of the land for years to come.” On its four-year anniversary, this piece in Education Week brings together a range of voices — from members of Congress and the U.S. Department of Education to state superintendents, principals and teachers — to reflect on progress made under the law and what work is still left to do.
National Education News
By Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week
How do new foreign policy threats and national security “shocks” contribute to big changes in education policy? And has the answer to that question changed in recent years? “An exploration of spillover effects: evidence from threat-induced education reform” by Joshua Bleiberg, a Ph. D. student at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, is a new study that examines connections between events with major implications for national security, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and subsequent activity in federal education policymaking such as passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, or and the passage of the original federal education law in 1965 in the midst of the Cold War.
By Alyson Klein, Education Week
A New York school district has announced it will begin using controversial facial recognition software for school safety purposes, over the strenuous objections of civil liberties advocates. Beginning this month, the Lockport School District, near the Canadian border, will become one of the first school systems in the country to try out facial recognition software. The district will use Aegis software, created by a Canadian-based company, to alert district officials if someone on a flagged list of individuals showed up at one of the district’s eight schools. The software can also detect ten different types of guns. The district’s path to using the software wasn’t a smooth one. In fact, earlier this year, the New York State Education Department required Lockport to hit the pause button on the implementation of the system. The state relented when Lockport revised its policy to make it clear that no student data will be created or stored in its data security system, an NYSED official said. And the state recommended that the district consult with its local attorney to ensure that all other applicable laws and regulations are met and that the civil rights of all individuals are also protected.