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News about education from KCUR.






4825 Troost Ave, Ste 202 Kansas City, Missouri 64110 (816) 235-1551


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.


Some Kansas School Districts Use Funding Influx To Boost Teacher Salaries

Tens of millions of dollars in extra state funding that legislators approved this spring amid pressure from an ongoing school finance lawsuit could go toward raising teacher pay. In recent weeks, news reports point to school boards throughout the state adjusting pay this year.


Under New Leadership, Holliday Is No Longer Kansas City's Forgotten Montessori School

This summer, Kansas City Public Schools made a significant investment in one of two district-operated Montessori schools in an attempt to address long-standing inequities between the programs. “Right here in KCPS we have a jewel, but Border Star is the Montessori program everyone knows about,” KaLinda Bass-Barlow, principal at Holliday Montessori, says. Holliday was built specifically for Montessori education, opening as a magnet school in 1992, back when district officials thought...


Public Safety Academy At New Olathe West High School Aims To Prepare Students For Careers

Is high school too early to figure out what career path to follow? The Olathe School District doesn’t think so. When the new Olathe West High School opens for all students on Thursday, the district will have a total of 17 specialty academies in its five high schools. For as long as most people can remember, the main mission of Johnson County schools has been preparing kids for college. “I think we’ve done, for years, a really good job of helping kids be college-ready, but the career piece...


For Northland Schools, Total Solar Eclipse A Teachable Moment

As scientists and observers stake out their spots for next week's eclipse, Northland schools are already in a prime location to share science with their students. Monday is the fourth day of school for North Kansas City, which lies in the path of totality. The district is using the day to celebrate the eclipse and make it a day to experience science, says NKC science instructional coordinator Jessica Nolin. “We really make it be an experience that students didn’t want to miss,” Nolin says....


Why This Year's Shawnee Mission School Board Primary Is So Unusual

You don't often see a school board election as contested as the one percolating in the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) but that's exactly what's happening this year. There is a primary election on Tuesday, August 1 for two of the three seats up this year.


In Kansas City, Education Choices Still Divide Schools By Race

There are fewer high school age students enrolled in public schools in Kansas City than there are in the elementary grades. But while charter operators say there aren’t enough high school options, Kansas City Public Schools officials argue there are too many.


5 Themes At The Heart Of Kansas’ School Finance Lawsuit

The Gannon v. Kansas lawsuit is in its seventh year. In that time, the case has led to repeated rulings against the state for underfunding schools and responses by lawmakers in the form of appropriations bills.


Why Kansas City Public Schools Are Taking A Trauma-Sensitive Approach To Discipline

A few years ago, Missouri’s suspension rate was the highest in the nation for young black students – an unfortunate distinction that forced Kansas City Public Schools to rethink discipline. The district did away with automatic suspensions for a lot of less serious violations. This year, KCPS issued 31 percent fewer out of school suspensions to kids in kindergarten through third grade. The district is also trying to treat the underlying trauma in students’ lives. Calm down kits Behavior...


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