Don’t experiment on our children, Green tells state

Kansas City Superintendent Steven Green speaks to parents about state accreditation.

“You can’t treat us like lab rats in an experiment” in the fight over Kansas City school district accreditation.

That was the reaction of Kansas City School District Superintendent R. Stephen Green last night to a consultant’s vision for a new school system in Kansas City.

CEE-Trust of Indianapolis yesterday unveiled its idea of a new type of school system. According to the Kansas City Star, the plan presented to the state school board would allow schools that are performing at a high level to control their own classrooms and money and choose leadership, staff and curriculum.

CCE said the system would create successful schools in each neighborhood, but also ensure schools were held accountable.

The CCE plan was controversial even before it was revealed, due to reports in the Star that state Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro, the Kauffman Foundation and the Hall Family Foundation had been favoring it since April. And the group admits a plan like this has never been tried before.

But at a regularly-scheduled meeting with parents last night, Superintendent Stephen Green and his administrators presented their own plan, which they hope the state will adopt rather than the CEE plan.

It’s different, he said, because it was developed by local parents, organizations and people who know the Kansas City District. It’s also a work in progress, needing more input from the local community.

The Kansas City plan suggests that each school should be individually accredited and answer to a school improvement advisory committee. Schools that were not performing well would be monitored and offered extra help.

Green argues that the Kansas City schools have made progress toward reaching provisional accreditation, but the state board has refused to grant that status, leaving the district open to having to pay for student transfers to other districts. The school board has sued the state asking to have its status changed to provisional.

Parents at last night’s meeting were generally favorable to the locally-developed approach.

“Its frustrating when people try to do for us and do to us,” said parent and School Advisory Committee member Patrick Bustos. “This shows that we can do for ourselves. We earned provisional status and we should be granted provisional status.”

More about the two plans


Leave a Comment