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.
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