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

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A new audit of the Kansas City Missouri school district shows a significant improvement in the district's operations and finances. The audit was requested in 2009 and looked at the district's expenditures and operations until June, 2010.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Missouri school district received one more disappointing blow this week, when the state board of education stripped it of its accreditation. And that was just weeks after Superintendent John Covington resigned unexpectedly to take a job in Michigan.

That leaves families in the district wondering what kind of trajectory Kansas City's schools are really on.

Leading Up to the Loss

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Missouri schools will lose their provisional accreditation on January 1, after a vote this afternoon by the state Board of Education. In a recent review, the district met only three of 14 accreditation standards. District officials said they plan to move ahead with the transformation plan laid out by the previous superintendent.

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri's State Board of Education voted unanimously today to strip Kansas City schools of their accreditation. The reasons for the action include a decline in meeting academic standards and a failure to provide a safe and orderly environment for learning. Chris Nicastro is Commissioner of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

NYC Model for KC Dropout Boost

Sep 6, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Kansas City has joined a pilot project focused on finding jobs, internships and education for high school dropouts.

Project Rise challenges non-working, out-of-school 18 to 24 year olds. It is a work-in-progress.

Kansas City will receive nearly $4 million. Funding comes from a variety of sources including United Way and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

KC School Board Picks Interim Superintendent

Sep 1, 2011
Photo and audio clip courtesy of KMBC, TV-9.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri has a new interim school superintendent to replace Dr. John Covington who resigned one week ago to take a more lucrative job in Michigan.

The board was under pressure to act quickly - with the state commissioner of education in town and a review of its accreditation status looming. But there is little doubt that the interim superintendent is qualified.

KC School Chief Hired to New Job

Aug 26, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Outgoing Kansas City School Superintendent John Covington will not be lured back. He's taken another job. At mid afternoon Michigan hired Covington to lead a new system for failing schools.

Covington announced Wednesday he was leaving the Kansas City post because he was victim of unfair treatment by the President of the Kansas City Board of Education.

Kansas City, Mo. – Twenty-four hours of furor and uncertainty over Kansas City schools continues. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports the Kansas City Missouri School District's accreditation and local control may be at stake.

"Not impossible!" Words of Missouri's Education Commissioner that Kansas City schools might lose accreditation next month, due in large part to upheaval from Wednesday night's resignation of Superintendent John Covington.

School Board Tries to Win Back Superintendent

Aug 25, 2011
School board President Airick Leonard West, flanked by members Crispin Rea (left) and Joseph Jackson (right). Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City school board members are still hoping to convince John Covington to remain as superintendent, even while he's reiterated his intent to leave. And parents and observers are still reeling from his surprise resignation Wednesday.

While school board members deliberated on how to proceed, parent leader Jamekia Kendrix said that now, more than ever, the community needs to be involved in the education of the district's students.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Missouri school Superintendent John Covington submitted his resignation Wednesday, after a two-year tenure in which he closed about half the district's schools. Board member Arthur Benson also resigned.

School board president Airick Leonard West announced Covington's resignation at the beginning of Wednesday night's board meeting. Benson says Covington gave his reasons for resigning in a closed session with the board. The board has not yet accepted the resignation.

MU Bulges Despite Tuition Hikes

Aug 22, 2011
photo by

Columbia, MO – As fall classes open today at University of Missouri's Columbia campus, enrollment has set a series of records.

Overall enrollment is 33,318 students, a number that is 4.1 percent higher than last fall. There have never been as many Hispanic or black students and the freshman class is also at a record high.

Photo from user NinJA999 (used by KCUR under a Creative Commons License.)

KANSAS CITY, MO – A recently-signed Missouri law caught the attention of techies and teachers around the country this week. The Amy Hestir Student Protection Act takes effect on August 28, 2011. It was named after a woman who says she was sexually abused as a child by a teacher in Missouri. Most of the bill sets up tighter safeguards for identifying predatory teachers or school personnel, and preventing them from moving to other districts. .

Local Colleges Go Smoke-Free

Aug 1, 2011
Photo by Elana Gordon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Thousands of students in Kansas City will have less options to light up when they get back to school this semester. New tobacco policies take effect this week at two local community colleges.


Starting today, Metropolitan Community College, or MCC, is going completely tobacco free. The school's banning the use of cigarettes and other products, like chewing tobacco, on all five campuses. The one exception, you can still smoke inside your car.

Revitalizing Eastern KC's Urban Core

May 11, 2011
Urban Studies and Design / UMKC

In this episode of Central Standard, a plan for the future of East Kansas City from UMKC Urban Planning and Design students , who have been collecting data about abandoned and demolished homes. Hear how senior Andrew Clark has been working with community leaders like Teola Powell to create a plan for neighborhoods like Key Coalition, including plans for Urban Agriculture.

Urban Ed Gets Million Dollar Boost

Apr 25, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Universities hunger to be able to give out news that UMKC did today. It's received a million dollar grant from the Sprint Foundation for the School of Education.

Web Block Denied at Oak Park H.S.

Mar 28, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. – American Civil Liberties Union has told the North Kansas City School District to stop blocking educational websites dealing with gay, lesbian and transgender topics. It has given the district until April 4th to respond.

The school district stand this afternoon is, there is no intentional blocking.

At start of a national campaign to learn the scope of the web filtering practice, ACLU acted on a student complaint from Oak Park High School.

Judge Turns Back Local School Fund Suit

Mar 11, 2011

Kansas City, KS – A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a group of Shawnee Mission Schools parents trying to raise more local money to counter Kansas cuts in education funds.

Seventeen parents failed to get an injunction that would've allowed them to step around a cap on property taxes for local schools.

Kansas Fed Ed Suit: Only the Judge Knows

Feb 21, 2011

Kansas City, KS – A Federal District Judge in Kansas City, Kansas promises a ruling in two to three weeks on a fight over local funding of public schools. The ruling due by mid March deals with how much local money can be raised to pay for Kansas schools.

Multiple sides in the lawsuit weighed in, including the governor's lawyers and several school districts which don't want power to raise more education money than a cap allows.

Three Fires Fought in Kansas City School

Feb 11, 2011
KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck(click to enlarge)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Thirty eight times since the current school year started, fire alarms have been sounded for Southwest Early College Campus in Kansas City. Fourteen were actually fires. Today there were more.

Fees Drop on College Savings Program

Feb 8, 2011
Photo by Steve Bell. Click to enlarge.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel visited Missouri campuses yesterday touting a large reduction in administrative fees for the state's college savings program... known as MOST.

At his stop at UMKC, Zweifel rattled off the big numbers, percentage points and statistics, emphasizing that the fees would be reduced by 44 percent. But he called for staff help when asked how much that would benefit an individual saver.

They concluded that the individual saver will see fees reduced by $25 for every $10,000 saved.

TOPEKA, Ks. – Early Head Start provides child care and education for infants and toddlers in low-income families. It currently serves more than twelve hundred children in fifty counties across Kansas, but it's been targeted for elimination by Governor Sam Brownback.

U of M Tuition Freeze Melting

Jan 26, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The cost of a college education in the University of Missouri system will be going up if curators vote Thursday and Friday of this week to follow recommendations of hikes ranging up to 6.6 percent.

Interim system President Steve Owens points to a 7 percent cut in state appropriations, a $42 million drop off, when he talks about the proposal to increase in-state fees and tuition.

Janet Saidi reports from Columbia


University of Missouri system President Gary Forsee is stepping down to care for his ill wife.

School officials announced Friday that the former Sprint Nextel chairman and chief executive is resigning immediately. He has been
on an extended leave of absence since early December following his wife Sherry's cancer diagnosis.

Forsee has been president of the four-campus system since February 2008.

Kansas City, KS – Plans are moving forward to develop a school of public health in Kansas. As Bryan Thompson reports, the proposal from the University of Kansas now has the support of the Kansas Board of Regents.


Columbia, Missouri – President Obama signed into law yesterday a measure that will set new, expansive nutrition guidelines in the country's public schools. As Harvest Public Media's Jessica Naudziunas reports, the new law will get produce from local farms.


The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will shape new public school food offerings to help encourage healthier choices in vending machines and school lunches.

Kansas City, MO – Almost daily polls show a tough uphill battle for Democrats for this election. It's a sea change from the enthusiasm for Obama two years ago, which was especially strong in younger voters. KCUR's Alex Smith recently spoke with some Democratic organizers at UMKC about the changes they've witnessed working on the front lines.

Kansas City, MO – These first months back at school have brought more worries than usual to parents and students in the Shawnee Mission School District. Many parents are already wondering where their children will be heading to school next year. That's because the superintendent has proposed closing five schools and reassigning attendance boundaries for next year. KC Currents intern Anthonia Akitunde went to one of the first in a series of townhall meetings about the proposal.

Kansas City, MO – The United States Department of Education awarded the Kansas City Missouri School District $13.6 million for a new merit pay program for teachers. Officials say the district's proposal was one of the top five in the country.

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Missouri School District drew national attention this spring when it shuttered 26 schools to deal with declining enrollment and a $50 million dollar deficit. Along with the down-sizing, the superintendent promised an educational transformation for the district's students.