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Kansas City Public Schools Could Be Fully Accredited Next Year, State Board President Says

Elle Moxley
KCUR 89.3
A student at Gladstone Elementary talks to a paraprofessional. The Kansas City Public Schools are provisionally accredited, though the district has improved its scores in recent years.

The president of the Missouri State Board of Education said he’d be willing to consider full accreditation for the Kansas City Public Schools as soon as spring 2019.

The district, which has been provisionally accredited since 2014, scored enough points under the state’s accountability rules to qualify it for full accreditation two years ago. It was the first time that had happened in 30 years, but the education commissioner at the time wanted more – show us sustained progress, she said.

Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Charlie Shields, left, said he is will to consider full accreditation for the Kansas City Public Schools if the district again makes progress under the state's accountability rules.

Current State Board of Education President Charlie Shields said it all comes down to whether the district scores enough points on its annual performance report.

“Last year they had the points, and this year what we looked at is can you sustain it for two years in a row?” Shields said on KCUR’s Up To Date Monday. “That’s my hope, when we get those scores back and figure out where they’re at, we can move them to accreditation.”

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell has been more cautious. He’s said repeatedly it could be another year or two before the district is fully accredited.

Adding to the anticipation is the fact test scores are seriously delayed. Schools usually find out how they did on state assessments before the start of the next school year. But Missouri rolled out new math and language arts tests in the spring, and deciding how to score those tests has delayed scores by months.

Now the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is saying schools can expect those results in February – too late to make changes to teaching and instruction, school superintendents have argued.

Elle Moxley covers education for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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