Kansas City Education News
By Dian Schaffhouser, The Journal
The schools of Kansas City are the first as a district to participate in a new project to develop an integrated data collection system to track, monitor and report on outcomes related to behavior, academics and security. Kansas City Public Schools said the goal was to improve how schools and local nonprofits work together in advancing student success. New software from Social Solutions Global will use data pulled from the district’s student information system and data culled from various outside support programs to help both sides gain insights that could lead to more effective activities. In the case of Kansas City, for example, data on grades and attendance and participation in after-school programs could be analyzed by Social Solutions’ Apricot 360 program, to generate real-time analysis and insights, push program referrals at the point of need and help the schools and nonprofits work better together. The project is being supported by the Ballmer Group, a nonprofit that works on improving economic mobility of families seemingly mired in poverty. Last year, the Ballmer Group invested in Social Solutions to accelerate its product development and supplement access to the software to make it more affordable for the organizations that could benefit from its use.
“Our mission is to provide a better education for all of our students, and we’re making solid progress, as evidenced by our improved scores in this year’s state annual progress report — our highest ever,” said KCPS Superintendent, Mark Bedell, in a statement. “This partnership, which will connect our schools with local nonprofits, will help us continue down the path to success, and we look forward to collaborating with organizations and programs in our community.”
By Mara Williams, KC Star
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed which candidates are running as write-ins.
As voters head to the polls on April 2, the Kansas City school board faces sweeping changes. Six incumbents are not seeking re-election. In addition, a state law requiring all school boards to have seven members means two of the current nine positions — one that is at-large and one sub-district — are being eliminated. And sub-district boundaries are being reconfigured. As a result, incumbent Matthew Steven Oates, who has represented Sub-district 2 since 2015, is now in Sub-district 1 and faces a challenger: newcomer Rita Marie Cortes. Patricia “Pattie” Mansur and Jennifer Wolfsie are the only other incumbents seeking re-election. But because they are running unopposed for at-large seats, they are automatically in and therefore not on the ballot. Wolfsie’s term will be four years, and Mansur’s will be two years. The only other school board candidates to appear on the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners ballot are Mark Wasserstrom and D. Jensen Adams, who are challenging each other in Sub-district 5. Nathaniel (Nate) Hogan is uncontested in Sub-district 2, and Manuel (Manny) R. Abarca is uncontested in Sub-district 3, so neither of their names will appear on the ballot. But in Sub-district 4, all four candidates failed to meet registration requirements, so they are running as write-in candidates. They are DeMonte Rochester, Marvia Jones, Ibrahim Ramsey and Clinton Adams. With all seven board seats up for grabs, as many as five of the seven members could be newcomers at a time when district schools are seemingly about to turn a corner toward improving academic performance.
National Education News
By Bettina L. Love, Education Week
For Black and Brown children in the United States, a major part of their schooling experience is associated with White female teachers who have no understanding of their culture. That was certainly my experience. My K-12 schooling was filled with White teachers who, at their core, were good people but unknowingly were murdering my spirit with their lack of knowledge, care, and love of my culture. Fast forward 25 years. Now my job is teaching future educators about what it takes to teach beautiful Black children. No matter where I go, when I ask future teachers why they want to teach–especially White women, who make up the vast majority of all teachers—their first or second answer is always: “I love children,” followed by, without taking a breath, “I love all children.” The word “all” is meant to signal, “I am not racist; I am fit to be in the classroom with children of color.” The statement is used to show that White teachers can be kind to every Black and Brown child that walks through their classroom doors. But how can you love or care for someone you know so little about?
By Madeline Will, Education Week
Teachers who plan to stay in the classroom and work in the same state for their entire career will have a steady stream of income for the rest of their life. But those who leave the profession sometime before the 30-year mark, or even change states, won’t have enough saved to retire comfortably. That’s according to a new study from the Bellwether Education Partners, an education nonprofit group. State pension plans are leaving all but the longest-serving teachers without adequate retirement savings, the study found. The study estimates that 81 percent of teachers who start working at age 25 will fail to qualify for adequate retirement benefits under a typical defined-benefit pension plan. Most experts recommend that people save at least 10 to 15 percent of their annual income toward retirement, in addition to Social Security, the study says. With that savings plan, people can retire and maintain a similar standard of living. But most teachers participate in defined-benefit pension plans, which offer teachers a specific payout upon retirement based on a formula, rather than by investment returns. The formula takes into account the teachers’ final average salary and the number of years served. According to the study, pension wealth spikes at 33 years of experience—and in the first two decades of a teacher’s career, the plans offer little retirement savings.