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News about education from KCUR.
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News about education from KCUR.






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At A Kansas City School Where Few Students Stay, Tutors Get Kids Reading Before They Go

There were 307 students enrolled at Pitcher Elementary on the last day of school, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story. Pitcher is about as far east as a school can be and still be in the Kansas City Public Schools – out by the stadiums, mere blocks from the Independence and Raytown districts. Kids come and go constantly as their families’ circumstances change.


Here's How A Shawnee Mission West Teacher Is Making French Accessible To All Students

Students with disabilities often miss out on opportunities their peers take for granted, like learning a foreign language. That's why Shawnee Mission West French teacher Katie Bogart works hard to accommodate all different kinds of learners in her classroom. “They struggle more with some of the grammar that we do, a lot of the written work,” Bogart says. “That can be a little bit more challenging.” But she takes seriously her duty to provide a free and appropriate public education. And...


What The Different Paths Into Nursing Careers Say About Inequality In High School Education

It’s a common refrain in career and technical education: school must prepare students for jobs that haven’t been invented yet. To do that, vocational training centers are undergoing high-tech transformations, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Lee’s Summit. The gleaming, $64 million Missouri Innovation Campus that opened last fall has been hailed as a game changer for accelerating the time it takes for a four-year degree after high school. The idea is that students will save big on...


Kansas City School Districts Find The More A Student Moves, The Further They Fall Behind

Kansas City’s most vulnerable students often fall behind when their families move often. And when the kids don’t meet the state’s expectations on standardized tests, their school district gets dinged. That makes it hard for districts with a lot of student turnover to improve their standing.


Kansas City Teens Walk Out Of Schools For Gun Control Rallies

Kansas City-area students joined their peers from across the country on Friday, rallying to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre and pay tribute to other victims of mass shootings. Students left their schools and made their way to a rally in Midtown's Hyde Park, where students from 10 high schools organized the rally to coincide with the walkouts. It attracted about 150 people. Although that fell short of their goal of 500, the teen organizers said they were glad they...


Trans Candidate Focusing Smithville School Board Campaign On The Issues, Not Her Gender

Carmen Xavier, a candidate for the Board of Education in Smithville, Missouri, has been very deliberate about letting voters know she is transgender. But she’s also been very clear that she believes her decades of public service qualify her for the job.


Kansas Lawmakers Debate Whether Insurance Should Cover Schools For Armed Teachers

At school, Kansas students learn what to do in case a shooter attacks. Lock classroom doors. Turn out the lights. Huddle out of view from the window in the door. In the Statehouse, lawmakers are searching for consensus on better ways to prevent, or cut short, school shootings. Arm teachers? Fortify schools? Train kids about guns? On Tuesday, the feelings clashed in a committee hearing and on the floor of the Kansas House just days after gun control activists drew crowds to March for Our...


Family Frustrated Lee's Summit School Won't Do More To Protect Their Kids From Bullies

Jeff Sloan knew something was wrong as soon as his 10-year-old son got off the school bus. Jayden, a fourth grader at Mason Elementary in Lee’s Summit, was limping slightly – and there was something wrong with his speech. “He’s talking like his tongue’s tied, and he’s telling me, ‘I’ve had the worst day, Dad. It’s just been terrible,’” Jeff says. “I said, ‘So what happened? Why are you talking like that?’ And he goes, ‘I bit my tongue.’”


After Parkland Shooting, Johnson County Teens Say Gun Control Would Make Schools Safer

The young survivors of a Florida school shooting last month don’t want thoughts and prayers. They want gun control. They’ve organized protests, staged walkouts and demanded policymakers do more to protect them. On Twitter, they’ve called out politicians who oppose restrictions on the assault-style rifle a gunman used to kill 17 of their classmates and teachers. And their activism has resonated with teens across the country.


State To Kansas Teachers: Use Only Research-Backed Methods So Kids Don't Fall Behind

Imagine, teacher Shauna Hammett tells first-graders gathered around a small table, a train whistle. “What sound is the long ‘A’ sound?” Hammett asks. Hands shoot into the air, then tug downward as if pulling on a rope. Their sing-song answer mimics the sound of a passing train: “Aaaaaaaa. Aaaaaa.” Hammett and her colleagues at Broken Arrow Elementary in Shawnee use techniques drawn from education research. Among them: the idea that children benefit from explicit instruction in phonics. “We...


Colyer Calls For Kansas School Funding Hike, Plus Medicaid And Foster Fixes

Newly installed Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer described his state Wednesday as vibrant but with trouble spots, telling lawmakers he plans to charge ahead at its problems. Colyer promised to reform the state’s struggling foster care system, improve its privatized Medicaid program, open government activities into clearer public view and help more Kansans find jobs. The speech was effectively a State of the State speech by a former two-term lieutenant governor now one week into higher office and...


What's On The Menu In Kansas City Schools? In Culinary Class, New Foods And Flavors

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ stop at a tiny private school in Kansas City’s Waldo neighborhood earlier this year became a flashpoint in a national conversation about transgender rights. The education department’s rollback of Obama-era protections for transgender students quickly overshadowed DeVos’ purported reasons for visiting Kansas City Academy – an innovative fine arts curriculum and farm-to-table culinary program.


A Look Back At 2005, When Kansas Neared Constitutional Crisis Over School Funding

In the summer of 2005, the Legislature butted heads with the Kansas Supreme Court over a ruling that ordered an influx of money to public education. The result? Kansas came closer than ever to a constitutional crisis. With Kansas facing a similar Supreme Court deadline this spring, state lawmakers are talking about ways to challenge or restrict the court’s authority on the topic of K-12 funding. A special committee formed to address the latest court ruling will meet Monday and Tuesday at...


How K-State Became One Of The Best Places For LGBT Students In The Country

In the ongoing struggle on college campuses for LGBT equality and acceptance, Kansas State University is an unexpected leader. K-State is best known for agriculture and football. On a gorgeous fall day in Manhattan, with the K-State marching band entertaining tailgaters, many fans were surprised to learn that their school was ranked in the 25 campuses for LGBT friendliness by CampusPride.org.


Kansas Standard For Federal Education Law Excludes Thousands Of Minority Students

Kansas’ approach to implementing a federal law on equity in education would fail to promote achievement for thousands of students the law was meant to protect, civil rights advocates say. But state education officials counter that there are good reasons for their strategy designed to ensure that Kansas schools are evaluated fairly. At issue is Kansas’ blueprint for complying with federal requirements meant to close academic achievement gaps among students in traditionally disadvantaged and...


Trust Is The Issue In A Property Tax Levy Election In St. Joseph Schools

St. Joseph residents will decide Nov. 7 whether to raise their property taxes by 38 percent to provide more money for schools. But you’re mistaken if you think the election is really about that. It’s more like a referendum on the school district’s past transgressions, which are almost legendary in the world of Missouri public education.


More School Choice Might Be Keeping Middle Class Families In Kansas City

Fifteen years ago, the vast majority of young couples buying homes in Brookside and Waldo had no intention of staying in the central city once they started families. “Maybe they were just married and didn’t have any kids, but they planned to eventually,” says Mary Hutchison, real estate agent. “When they had one child, maybe two, they automatically decided to hop over to Kansas to get their kids in the public school system there.” Hutchison still sells plenty of homes in top-rated Johnson...


Kansas Supreme Court Says School Funding Still Unconstitutionally Low

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2 with additional information. The Kansas Supreme Court on Monday struck down the state’s aid to schools as unconstitutionally low — and unfair to poor school districts in particular. The decision could pressure lawmakers to increase school funding by hundreds of millions dollars.


Think Tank Wants To Influence Climate Change Discussion In Kansas Classrooms

The massive hurricanes Harvey and Irma have people talking about how much, if at all, climate change adds to such storms’ destructiveness. In a blog post authored by Paul Driessen, the conservative Heartland Institute disputes that global warming is worsening the weather or that it’s human-caused. And, Driessen writes, fossil fuels “bring rescue boats.” The Chicago-based think tank, now led by former Kansas congressman Tim Huelskamp and funded in part by the Koch Family Foundation, is...


New Kansas School Funding Formula Removes Barriers To All-Day Kindergarten

Despite the ongoing fight over how much Kansas should spend on schools, the Legislature did at least one thing this year that almost all educators were pleased with: For the first time, it included all-day kindergarten in the school funding formula.