December 19, 2019


Kansas City Education News

KCPS closes state gaps, continues to battle student attendance

By Northeast News
Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) received their 2019 Annual Performance Report (APR), and while the district will remain provisionally accredited, Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell said there is still a lot to be proud of.  Last year, KCPS received an 82.9 percent APR score, the highest in district history. This year, KCPS received a 65.4 percent APR score for 2019, a 17.5 difference from last year.  This year, the APR scoring looks different, as the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has removed the overall percentage and replaced it with a color-coded chart that gives details on academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career readiness, attendance, and graduation rates.  The chart breaks these down into growth expectations, status expectations, and progress expectations.  KCPS exceeded state expectations in English Language Arts and Math, despite statewide numbers declining in both areas.  This was also the first year since 2014 that KCPS earned points in Science.  “We have a lot to celebrate,” said Dr. Bedell. “Our academic performance and the growth that we are making over the last several years is something to be extremely proud of. We feel that with a much more difficult assessment, our instructional framework that we have in place is paying dividends.”

Former Waddell & Reed exec warns Kansas City against incentives to move firm downtown

By Allison Kite and Devin Hardy, KC Star

In the waning hours of a contentious debate over generous tax incentives for Waddell & Reed, Kansas City officials are weighing new concerns about the firm’s financial footing. The City Council is set to vote Thursday on whether to give $39 million in local tax incentives to the financial services firm, which is also receiving $62 million from the state of Missouri to move its headquarters from Overland Park to downtown. It’s expected to be among the last skirmishes in the states’ “border war,” the long-running practice of using taxpayer-funded programs to poach jobs from each other. Two days before the vote, however, some council members received an email from a former executive of the company, who warned of its financial fitness…

Kansas City Public Schools opposes the project, and its board last week took the extraordinary step of adopting a formal resolution criticizing the deal, arguing it would deprive schools of essential resources. Councilman Eric Bunch, 4th District, who had already been concerned about the deal, received the email. He said that while he couldn’t take it at face value without further analysis, it “does at least merit further research on our part.”  “If it is true, that’s very concerning,” Bunch said.

Seg. 1: School Attendance


Segment 1: Why it’s so important that kids make it to class.

Between the years 2013 and 2016, Kansas City Public Schools staffers falsified attendance records, presumably to help the district regain full accreditation. Why is it so hard for kids to get to school in the first place, though? Also, what is really at stake for schools when they don’t show up and what can we reasonably expect educators to do about it?

Kansas City mayor allocating $500,000 to help storefronts along Troost

By Sean McDowell,  Fox 4 News

Kansas City’s mayor said he wants to help businesses along one key metro avenue. A number of storefronts along Troost Avenue are in need of sprucing up. Economic development show stores with bright, modern facades attract more customers. Business operators up and down Troost are excited by the prospect of a new coat of paint.  On Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas pointed to 2016, when the Kansas City Public Schools central office moved to Troost, as a moment where a world of possibilities opened. Lucas said that’s the bedrock for TIF funding that he wants to allocate for businesses along Troost. The mayor is asking other city leaders to earmark $500,000 annually, which would, in small amounts, go toward helping business operators replace old windows, doors, signs and other facets of storefronts, some of which haven’t been restored in decades.

Missouri Education News

Missouri mulls $400M plan to boost teacher pay in public schools

By Ryan Delaney, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s education department has come up with a scheme to pay public school teachers more. Yet it would take nearly $400 million to lift Missouri from the bottom of state rankings for teacher compensation to the middle of the pack. “It’s just important to emphasize this just kind of catches us up,” said Paul Katnik, an assistant education commissioner at the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  he proposal has three parts: increase the base minimum pay for teachers from $25,000 to $32,000; give all teachers a $4,000 raise; create a fund to entice teachers toward hard-to-fill positions. Education officials, teachers and education associations crafted the plan.  It would cost $322.8 million to give teachers DESE’s preferred pay bump of $4,000 a year — plus extra for those who would still be below the new $32,000 minimum. That would move the average teacher salary in Missouri to just over $54,000 from its current $48,000, bringing Missouri up to 26th in the country for average teacher pay from 40th, according to data from the National Education Association.

Blunt-Led Bill Invests in Education, from Early Childhood Through Career

By Douglas County Herald

Missouri Head Start would receive $167

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS), today announced that the fiscal year 2020 Labor/HHS appropriations bill includes several new investments in high-quality early childhood care and education, elementary and secondary education programs, and higher education.  “This bill invests in education programs that are aimed at giving every child in this country the opportunity to be successful – from the time they first step into the classroom until they’re on a career path. The bill supports high-quality early childhood care and education, giving kids the right start while working parents are able to continue building their future.  Head Start: The bill provides $10.6 billion, an increase of $550 million, for Head Start.  Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): The bill provides $5.8 billion, an increase of $550 million, for CCDBG. Preschool Development Grants: The bill provides $275 million, an increase of $25 million, to help improve the coordination of existing early childhood programs for children from birth to five. Missouri received a $6.5 million planning grant in January 2019.

National Education News

U.S. Senators Introduce an Act to Safeguard K-12 Schools

K-12 district schools have been a soft target for cybercriminals in the year gone by. To address the rising threat prospective, two U.S. Senators, Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), both members of the Senate’s National Security and Government Affairs Committee have tabled a new bill called the “K-12 Cybersecurity Act”. As per a report shared on the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, 119 cybersecurity incidents were recorded in U.S. K-12 schools. The findings also suggest that ransomware attacks have been a hot favorite. Another independent study from Kaspersky indicates that ransomware attacks targeted towards K-12 schools have risen by 23 percent.

MO Board of Education Says It Needs $400 Million to Boost Teacher Pay

By Public News Service

Under a new plan proposed by the state Board of Education, Missouri teachers would see their base pay increase from $25,000 to $32,000.
Bruce Moe, executive director of the Missouri State Teachers Association, says the educators he represents, especially those working in rural districts, welcome the proposed changes. “If the full proposal was implemented, it would affect every teacher in Missouri,” he states.