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

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Senate Confirms Former Kansas Education Commissioner

Oct 8, 2009

Kansas City, MO –

The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Kansas education commissioner Alexa Posny's appointment to a federal education post.

President Barack Obama nominated Posny as assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services in July. She worked for the U.S. Department of Education from 2006-07 as director of special education before becoming Kansas education commissioner.

When announcing Posny's nomination, the White House noted her experience as both an administrator and a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Lawrence, KS – University of Kansas officials, politicians and industry leaders broke ground Monday on a new Bioscience and Technology Business Center on the KU campus.

The 20,000 square foot facility is aimed at growing life science industry in Kansas.

The $7.25 million incubator will provide space for space and high tech equipment for new bioscience companies.

Kansas City, KS – In May, the University of Kansas Board of Regents named KU's 17th Chancellor, replacing Robert Hemenway, who had served in that role for 14 years. It turned out to be a history-making choice.

Kansas City, MO – Eleven area school districts are suing Jackson County for allegedly giving incorrect property tax assessments.

Independence Superintendent Jim Hinson says the school districts lost a total of $35 million because the county used old figures and did not count several plots of school-owned land.

The county blames the economic downturn for the lower property values. Home values in Jackson County are down 7 percent this year.

Kansas City, MO – At the beginning of July, John Covington started his work as the new superintendent of the Kansas City Missouri School District. He comes with a track record of boosting student achievement in Pueblo, Colorado and in a small district in Lowndes County, Alabama, which is near where he's from. But in Kansas City, most people agree; Covington has his work cut out for him.

Melissa Eddy testifies before the Joint Committee on Education of the Missouri General Assembly. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – The Joint Committee on Education of the Missouri General Assembly heard public testimony last night, about the governance of the Kansas City school district. Community members talked about whether an appointed board might run the district better than the current elected board.

Over the past year, members of General Assembly have drafted legislation that would create an appointed board, or eliminate the sub-districts. Parent Melissa Eddy heads the organization Do The Right Thing for Kids.

State Likes KCMO School District's Plan

Jul 10, 2009

Kansas City, Missouri – Early reviews of the Kansas City Missouri School District's plan to earn back its state accreditation are positive.

The district submitted a revised roadmap back to full accreditation to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education yesterday and the state likes where the district is headed.

Director of School Improvement Support Ginny Vandelicht contrasted the new report with the one she received in March.

Kansas City, MO – About a hundred and fifty people packed a meeting room at the Kansas City Missouri School District headquarters last week. Many came to protest the closing of about a dozen schools. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross was there.

Audria Royster is going into sixth grade at McCoy Elementary School in Blue Valley.

Kansas City, MO – About 150 people packed a meeting room at the Kansas City Missouri school district headquarters last night. Many came to protest the closing of about a dozen schools. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross was there.

Community Focus For Funkhouser Education Summit

Jun 5, 2009
File Photo / Courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2

Kansas City, MO – When Mayor Mark Funkhouser spoke of an Education Summit in his State of the City address most people thought he was talking about intervening in the troubled Kansas City, Missouri public school district. It turns out he was talking about a lot more.

Construction at Knob Noster's new baseball facilities. Photo by Alex Smith / KCUR.

Knob Noster, MO – For most public schools, May is the end of the school year and it's a busy time. But in the spring of 2009, many school administrators are also faced with another challenge: a large influx of federal stimulus money and a small window of opportunity to use it. KCUR's Alex Smith recently paid a visit to Knob Noster School District, which is in just that situation.

Joe Fox explains long division in his fourth-grade classroom. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

St. Louis, MO – It's the 25th year of Parents As Teachers, an early childhood program that began in Missouri.

It was the first of its kind when it began, and now Parents As Teachers is in every state and several countries.

Yet while the program is celebrating its anniversary, it's also facing a 10% cut in state funding from its home state.

Listen to the story here.

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City's school board unanimously selected a new superintendent this week. It's been 15 months since the previous incumbent Anthony Amato stepped down, at the urging of the board. John Covington (pictured) is currently superintendent of schools in Pueblo, Colorado, and he's worked in some smaller districts in Alabama, where he's from. Covington says he's eager to face the challenges of a large, urban district, and knows he'll be sitting in what's considered a hot seat.

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Missouri school board unanimously selected a new superintendent yesterday: John Covington, who currently heads a school district in Pueblo, Colorado.

Covington has been in Pueblo for the past three years. Before that he worked in several smaller districts in Alabama; he's from Montgomery, originally. Covington recently completed training at the Broad Superintendent's Academy in Los Angeles. School board president Marilyn Simmons says that preparation will benefit Kansas City's schools.

Kansas City, MO – Two finalists for the job of Kansas City Missouri schools superintendent were named Tuesday afternoon. The candidates will answer questions at a public forum Wednesday evening at Paseo Academy.

Students at Rosedal Middle School build gears in Project Lead the Way's Automation and Robotics class. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – This week, Kansas legislators announced a new task force to study the state's shortage of engineering graduates. Leaders say there's an increasing demand for skilled engineers in areas such as energy, water and health care, which will play a key role in the state's future economic prosperity. Many colleges find that students who might be interested in engineering aren't academically prepared to succeed in the major. But a new curriculum in Kansas City area middle and high schools, on both sides of state line, is trying to fill the gap.

Kansas City, MO – Teachers in the Kansas City Missouri school district have been working without a contract since last summer. The teacher's union and the district say they're finally closing in on an agreement, but they've had to re-negotiate the entire document from scratch. District officials hope the new agreement will make both teachers and administrators more accountable for student performance. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports.

Hands Off KCMSD organizer Spark Bookhart introduces the new campaign. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – A new group launched a campaign yesterday to fight changes to the governance structure of the Kansas City Missouri school board. A bill proposed last month in the Missouri House of Representatives would call for all board members to be elected at-large, by the entire city. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has more.


Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – This week, Governor Jay Nixon announced that he would maintain funding for Missouri's universities at 2008 levels - if they agreed not to raise tuition on students. Some lawmakers said the Governor wasn't in a position to strike that bargain, but regardless of the funding that comes through, state universities and colleges are looking to cut costs.

UMKC Appoints New Chancellor

Dec 15, 2008

Kansas City, MO – State funding for UMKC may be more uncertain with next year's expected budget shortfall, but the University's leadership is becoming more stable. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.

UMKC recently announced that its acting chancellor, Leo Morton, will stay in the position permanently. Morton stepped in temporarily this past summer when then-chancellor Guy Baily left for Texas Tech University. Morton says he's now looking forward to establishing more continuity at the University.

Missouri University System Braces For Deep Cuts

Dec 11, 2008
Photo courtesy of University of Missouri.

Springfield, MO – With the state facing a potential 342 million dollar budget shortfall, lawmakers have asked public universities and colleges to submit reports on how they might make significant budget cuts.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has sent an e-mail requesting all state universities and colleges to create budget cutting scenarios by December 18th. Schools must outline how they might cut their core budgets by 15, 20, and 25 percent for the next fiscal year.

KU Chancellor Announces Retirement

Dec 8, 2008
photo: courtesy of the University of Kansas

Kansas City, MO – After more than a decade as Chancellor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Robert Hemenway announced Monday he's retiring in June.

"I'll work every day," says Hemenway. "And on July 1...start a transition...scholarly duties, teaching and writing."

Hemenway says he plans to work on a book about intercollegiate athletics and American values, and return to the classroom in 2010.

Kansas City, MO – In 2006, UMKC's Black Studies program was de-stabilized after several faculty members left. Charges of institutional racism were leveled against the university. At the time, KCUR's Laura Ziegler spoke to the Black Studies director Don Matthews, who described what he saw as the problem.

Johnson County, Kansas – Johnson County will be putting more resources into area research and education. That's following yesterday's approval of a one eighth cent sales tax. KCUR's Elana Gordon has more.

Backers of the Johnson County Education and Research Triangle met at a hotel last night in Overland Park, where they politely applauded the approval of a permanent tax to finance projects at K State, the University of Kansas, and KU Medical Center.

Kansas City, MO – Reverend Stan Archie is a Missouri State Board of Education member. Archie was also selected by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) to serve on a school reform task force focusing on middle school issues. As someone who hears all sides in the education debate, Archie seems to think that the answer lies somewhere in between. KC Currents' Susan Wilson reports.

Diplomas Related To Prison Relief

Aug 25, 2008
KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck

A high school diploma is like a roadmap away from jail.

Kansas' attorney general joined lawmen from some of Kansas City's largest suburban cities to issue a report card even as the school year is just beginning.

Sleeves rolled to the elbow, Attorney General Steven Six leaned into a podium at Kansas City police headquarters, saying:

"More than forty percent of area children drop out of high school. Nearly seventy percent of prison inmates don't have diplomas. The answer is early education."