The fol­low­ing is a com­pi­la­tion of obser­va­tions made by five Do the Right Thing for Kids Board Watchers who attend­ed the May 23, 2012 Kansas City Public Schools Board Meeting.

The Foreign Language Academy (FLA) received an award for the best school web­site. Individual school web­sites pro­vide good infor­ma­tion to the entire school com­mu­ni­ty and can become a source of pride and involve­ment for stu­dents.

A ques­tion about the num­ber of class­room days spent on assess­ment tests went unan­swered. Might that have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on cur­ricu­lum? Has this been researched and dis­cussed?

There was much talk about how close the dis­trict is to meet­ing non-aca­d­e­m­ic stan­dards but not one word about instruc­tion­al strate­gies to enhance read­ing or math skills to achieve accred­i­ta­tion in these sem­i­nal areas.

Two years ago the dis­trict explained new bell times based on research show­ing that teenagers need more sleep than ele­men­tary stu­dents. 2012–2013 bell times have been announced with ear­ly starts for high school stu­dents and lat­er starts for ele­men­tary stu­dents. These bell time changes save $1.2 mil­lion with the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion that more resources can be placed in the class­room and that they came as a result of pub­lic meet­ings. Should bud­get sav­ings come at the expense of what is good for stu­dent learn­ing?

A great deal is being made about com­mu­ni­ty par­tic­i­pa­tion being part of the solu­tion, but we don’t see much real par­tic­i­pa­tion in deci­sion mak­ing, most­ly a small group (and the same group) of peo­ple attend­ing meet­ings and talk­ing about things.  How does that improve instruc­tion?

The lev­el of micro­man­age­ment appears to be increas­ing. Even after table after table of thought process was exhib­it­ed and after three pub­lic ses­sions, the bus sched­ule plan was exam­ined under a micro­scope.

Unlike mem­bers of the school board, we were not amused by over $500 in tax­pay­er mon­ey being spent to send a mem­ber to Jefferson City to lob­by against leg­is­la­tion that could have elim­i­nat­ed the school board.  We won­der how many oth­er tax­pay­er dol­lars have been spent to influ­ence leg­is­la­tion.

Mr. Rea asked Dr. Anderson if there would be progress shown in this year’s MAP scores. Her lengthy answer did not include the word “no,” but we think that’s what she said.

The board approval of the sale of closed school sites of Bingham, Blenheim, Swinney, West-Switzer and Switzer Annex was good news.

View the agenda/minutes of this meet­ing
(will open in a new win­dow).

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