Kansas City Area Schools
By Elle Moxley, KCUR 89.3
The fourth grader in Amanda Whiting’s chair had never been to the dentist, so she was a little nervous to be seen at the clinic at her school, J.A. Rogers Elementary. “We don’t use scary terms when we are treating a kiddo,” said Whiting, the dental director at Samuel L. Rodgers Health Center, which runs the clinic for Kansas City Public Schools. “We don’t talk about needles and anesthetic. ‘I have a squirt gun full of sleepy juice that is going to help put your tooth to sleep,’ and we snore loudly. That’s usually the hardest part to get kids through, getting them numb so we can do the work that we need to do.”
By Sarah Ritter, KC Star
After months of failing to reach an agreement with the teachers union, the Shawnee Mission school board imposed a three-year unilateral contract — a move the union has threatened to challenge in court. During a special meeting Thursday night, teachers and their supporters protested outside and then packed the board room for four hours while school board members deliberated in closed session. On a 6-1 vote, the board approved the unilateral contract, followed by teachers yelling and booing as they filed out of the room…Earlier this week, the union offered a one-year contract with the promise of addressing class load this spring. But the district stuck to its three-year offer.
By Cindy Holscher, KC Star
Dear teachers: I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you get up day after day to go teach, inspire and love our children. I truly don’t know how you do it after nearly a decade of being underpaid and severely under-appreciated. What happened in the Shawnee Mission School District last week with the school board imposing a three-year teacher contract on Thursday, followed by the teacher/student walkout on Friday, was the result of a perfect storm. This is the fallout of a disastrous experiment implemented by former Gov. Sam Brownback and his allies that can’t be reversed quickly enough. Even though we have finally ended the litigation surrounding the funding of our schools, we must remember we are at the bottom of the range — we’re adequate, but not fully funded. In other words, we’re still catching up to nearly 10 years of severely shorting the system.
Missouri Education News
By KMOX News Radio
Missouri lawmakers are considering banning vapor products inside all K-12 school buildings. Existing law already prohibits the use of tobacco products inside schools. Kyrstin Thurman, a student at Versailles High School, testified in favor of House Bill 1682 at a House committee hearing on Tuesday in Jefferson City. She said she’s noticed the increase of vaping in school firsthand. “As students we see it more than anyone else in the school —the dangers of vaping in our peers and our friends,” Thurman says. “We have a growing concern for our generation as students and we really are doing this because we care about our generation and we don’t want to see anyone get hurt.” Students also testified in favor of House Bill 1808, which amends existing health learning standards to include instruction on the use of vape products.
National Education News
By Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post
If for some reason you haven’t been clear about what President Trump thinks about traditional public schools, consider what he said about them in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. There was this: “For too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools.” What’s a “government school” to Trump? A public school in a traditional public-school district.
By Alyson Klein, Education Week
Once a month, students at Coxsackie-Athens High School near Albany, N.Y., can have a pizza lunch with local employers, including a national pharmaceutical company and an HVAC organization. A high school near Detroit that offers students a choice of career specialties recently added a Geographic Information Systems option, so that students can better compete for jobs managing drones and self-driving cars. A middle school in western Massachusetts requires all 7th graders to take a 45-day engineering design course, and all 8th graders to take a similar length “Computing for Innovation” course. Those efforts are a part of a big national push to include much stronger workforce connections in K-12 by revamping curriculum and school culture to help students explore potential careers—including some that their teachers, principals, and district leaders can’t even imagine yet.
By Christina A. Samuels, Education Week
Ask parents if they value ethnic, racial, and economic diversity in their children’s schools, and entrenched social and political barriers often melt away. Strong majorities of men and women, Democrats and Republicans, and parents of different economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds say in a new survey that it’s important for children to attend highly integrated schools. But for white parents, those principles often take a back seat to their actions, which are explored in two new studies. When presented with options, white parents choose schools that are more white and more affluent than other choices available to them, according to a report from Making Caring Common, a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition to the survey, the report draws from focus groups and individual interviews with families, most of whom are liberal and affluent, according to the report.