Education | KCUR

Education

KCUR 89.3 covers education issues across the Kansas City region and in Kansas and Missouri. 

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The Kansas Board of Regents will be talking about budget issues this week. This comes in the wake of funding cuts to higher education made earlier this year.

Writing a budget proposal for something as large and complex as the university system takes multiple steps. Mary Jane Stankiewicz with the Board of Regents says university officials have made their proposals to the board. Now the regents will work on distilling that into one plan.

“This will be a discussion and a determination of what items should be forwarded to the governor for consideration,” says Stankiewicz.

In earlier generations, getting an education meant going to class, sitting in a classroom or lecture hall listening to the professor, and participating in discussions. Now, something as simple as raising your hand in class, or asking your neighbor to borrow a pen could become obsolete. In the growing phenomena of online education, thousands of students are logging into class, and instead of going to a physical building, they participate from the comfort of their home or local coffee shop.

UMKC has recently received some national attention for having a particularly gay-friendly environment.

One of the innovative things the school is doing is offering scholarships for LGBT students. When some college students come out, they face the danger of being cut off financially from their parents.  

That's what happened to recent graduate Courtney Monzyk.  

“I was actually outed, instead of coming out,” Monzyk says. 

Kansas City School District Scraps Plan For Waldo Wal-Mart

Sep 6, 2013

The Kansas City School board sided with many in the community and turned down a proposal to put in a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Waldo.

A crowd of 125 people gathered at Southwest Early College Campus for a town hall.  Cheers came after the school board vice-chair Crispin Rea announced the board’s decision against the grocery store.

Wal-Marts plan included knocking down Bingham Middle School, building the new store, and parking.  Other plans included green space and a soccer field.

What Is The Fate Of Westport High School?

Sep 5, 2013
KCUR 89.3 file photo

Midtown will be undergoing some dramatic changes as Westport Middle School was recently sold to developers at BNIM to be converted into community spaces as well as market-rate housing. BNIM has named the project a Center for Community Vitality. Their plan includes residential living, a botanical garden, a pool and wellness center, and more.

Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

The University of Missouri – Kansas City has taken big steps in recent years to be more welcoming to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and sexually-questioning students and staff.

Like a lot of universities, the school now considers diversity and inclusion to be a mission, right alongside educating students. But there hasn't always been an attitude of acceptance at UMKC.

Students at the university fought hard for LGBT rights, and the resulting legal victory influenced campuses around the country.

Welcome to UMKC, 2013

Flickr / Creative Commons

  Oftentimes, a neighborhood is formed around a school. A school can be much more than a place where our children go Monday through Friday, but rather it becomes a community space for all. However, when this community space does not exist in a neighborhood, families either have to deal with the inconveniences, or take matters into their own hands to create a school in their neighborhood. 

Maria Carter / KCUR

Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) leaders are celebrating.  They got a 60 percent on a state evaluation.  That’s 10 percentage points more than needed to get to provisional accreditation, although whether and when that gets restored is up to the state education officials. 

When Superintendent Stephen Green first got the district’s numbers under a new evaluation system in December, they were dismal.

Moments like that either they break you or they make you stronger for having persevered through the break,” said Green.

Kansas City< Missouri School Disrict

Kansas City public schools showed improvement in a preview of new Missouri school district ratings, but will not regain provisional accreditation at this time.

Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro said in a Thursday evening conference call that the district had improved proficiency ratings in science and social studies to on a par with its scores in English language arts and math, but with those only at 30 percent proficiency ratings, 7 out of 10 students were not achieving "at proficiency."

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the statewide averages on MAP Test scores Tuesday, but the Kansas City district was more focused on another DESE announcement.

The State Board of Education will vote on a plan Tuesday for an outside group to study unaccredited Missouri school districts and develop recommendations for improvement.

The move comes on the heels of some 2,600 children transferring from the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens school to neighboring districts.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is recommending the board vote yes.

DESE Spokeswoman Sarah Potter says failing schools face systematic challenges.

KU Researchers Developing Model Anti-Bullying Policy

Aug 19, 2013

Researchers at the University of Kansas have been hired by the State Department of Education to develop a model anti-bullying policy for use in schools statewide.

All Kansas schools must have an anti-bullying policy, but coming up with effective policies and practices to meet that requirement can get complicated. Researchers at the University of Kansas plan to launch a statewide series of meetings in October to present educators with a model policy to build their own programs around.

Bloch Business School Opens Expansion At UMKC

Aug 16, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is putting its first students into the newly expanded business school.  The $32 million “Henry Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation” opens August 19. 

Finished construction marks the biggest single money-gift the school has ever gotten.

KC Superintendent Expects Accreditation Return

Aug 14, 2013
Kansas City< Missouri School Disrict

Kansas City, Missouri's superintendent of schools expects to break some good news to the community later this month.

Shawnee Mission School District and Kansas City Public Schools

Budgets, common core, accreditation and aspirations for the year will be some of the topics of our conversation.  Superintendents Jim Hinson from the Shawnee Mission School District and Stephen Green from Kansas City Public Schools  join in a discussion of the pressing issues facing our schools and taking questions and comments from the community.

Lessons Learned: First-Year Teachers

Aug 4, 2013
Cybrarian77/Flickr-CC

For some, stepping in front of 30 kids to talk about math or English would be a nightmare. For teachers, it’s just another day at work.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk with teachers Caitlin Rowe, Ashley Martinez, Jacque Flowers, who have just finished their first year in the classroom, about what they’ve learned, surprises they encountered and what keeps them coming back.

University of Central Missouri

A western Missouri-based educational program was the lure to bring President Barack Obama to speak in Warrensburg last week. The President said so, directly, in his address at University of Central Missouri.

He described the program as a job creator that speeds education for young people without leaving them saddled with student loan debt upon graduation.

The Missouri Innovation Campus began as a collaboration between Metropolitan Community College, a high school and some local businesses. 

$10 Million Gift Benefits KU Students, Libraries

Jul 19, 2013

A $10 million estate gift will fund scholarships for health professions students at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and support libraries at the medical center and at KU in Lawrence. 

The gift is from the estate of David and Stata Ringle. Stata Ringle was a researcher, professor and dean at the medical center for 28 years, beginning in 1962. 

KU Endowment President Dale Seuferling says the bequest will more than double the scholarship support for students in the School of Health Professions at KU Med.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Common Core educational standards were once again a topic at Tuesday’s meeting of the Kansas State Board of Education.

Opponents are targeting the standardized tests used in meeting Common Core Requirements. 

Megan King is a parent from Lawrence. She said the costs of the tests will be too high and will require technology updates. King wants the state to keep using tests developed by the University of Kansas.

DancingChimp / Imgur

Perhaps you've seen kids - or some adults -  busily playing away on their computers or Xbox, moving through a virtual world of blocks, digging and building.

Maybe you've wondered: What exactly is that game?  

The Value Of The Humanities

Jul 2, 2013
Chelsea Gomez / Flickr - CC

Last month on Central Standard, we discussed the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, Month (STEM), but today we are here to reverse all that, and argue for just the opposite.

Payne Roberts / KCUR

Fifth grade graduation at Gordon Parks Elementary school this week was an especially emotional event. 

The 13-year old charter school was founded to serve some of the most disadvantaged kids in the Kansas City area, but the school has some of the lowest scores of any public or charter school in Kansas City, Mo.  

Barnshaws / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Hundreds of people are gathering to prove they are the best at a profession they have either just started or about to start. The Skills USA competition pits people in secondary and post-secondary education in head to head competition in talents ranging from computer programing, to cooking, to welding to over 90 other fields.

Union Station Kansas City / National Geographic

Blackbeard. Jack Sparrow. Captain Hook. We’ve seen the ships, peg legs, skulls and crossbones. They cross the turbulent high seas on the big screen, in books and in our imaginations. But who were pirates, really?

This Saturday, Union Station opens the doors to its “Real Pirates” exhibit. Local actors and actresses bring to life more than 200 artifacts unearthed from the Whydah , a slave ship hijacked by pirates that sunk during a violent storm in 1717. It’s the first real pirate ship to be found off the coast of the U.S.

KCUR 89.3 file photo

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued guidelines Wednesday regarding student transfers between unaccredited and accredited school districts.

Among other things the guidelines urge accredited districts that border those without accreditation to adopt and publish policy on class size and teacher ratios by August 1.

The Missouri Department Of Elementary and Secondary Education has issued its own guidelines for the transfer process of students from unaccredited districts to those which are accredited.

Former Missouri Governor Bob Holden was in Kansas City over the weekend on what he called “a labor of love."

Holden was in town to greet the first group of Chinese students who will participate in Missouri Boys State and Girls State this year. In total, there'll be 37.

The annual summer sessions give young people an opportunity to learn about American government and actually run a simulated state government.

UM System Board Extends Benefits To Same-Sex Couples

Jun 14, 2013
Adam_Procter400 / Flickr - CC

The University of Missouri Board of Curators voted unanimously Thursday to extend employment benefits to same sex couples employed by the UM System.

“Effectively, more and more employers and institutions such as the University of Missouri System realize you need to have these types of benefits in order to remain competitive in a state environment,” said AJ Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO – a Missouri LGBT rights group that has been advocating for this change.

Bockelman estimates that benefits will be extended to approximately 250 couples throughout the state.

University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton announced today that he will step down as chancellor effective November 15 of this year.  

Deaton says the time was right.

“(The decision to retire) did not happen quickly, let me say, I looked at a range of issues. The success and the coming together of the planning that we have been engaged in has been a very big part of it. And frankly the lack of absence of any major crises as I see them right now, you don’t want to choose that time,” Deaton said.

Deaton says there are no negative motivations behind his retirement.

Teachers and school district superintendents lined up before the Kansas Board of Education Tuesday to support Common Core reading and math education standards. They argued the standards will help students transfer more easily between schools and create students who are better at critical thinking and problem solving.

Sarah Berblinger is a teacher in the Buhler School District. She said the standards also help build a strong foundation for education.

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