KCMO School Superintendent Covington and the KCMO School board is continuing its talks about consolidating the KCMO public schools. Covington is considering a proposal that would close down up to half of the schools in the city because the number of students in the district has been cut almost in 1/2 over the past decade.
There is a good reason why improving the education of the students in our schools should be the top priority for the city. A recent study of unemployment in this country shows that people with less than a high school education are suffering from unemployment a significantly higher rate than those with more education --- currently, unemployment among those with below a HS education is around 15%, compared to about 9% with those graduated high school, and 4% for those with a bachelor's degree or higher.
That should really not be a huge surprise to anyone....as the more education people have, the more options they have open to them. And while many college grads are under-employed, they are at least able to make some money for their families.
It follows then, that a city zip code like the 64128 zip code (chosen solely because it is where Kansas City Central High School is located) that has a population that has double the state average in people with out a high school education, also has a high unemployment rate -- and thus triple the state average for people living in poverty.
No one wins when the kids in this city don't get a good education...not the kids, not the families, not employers looking for skilled workers, and not the city and its taxpayers.
I know closing a lot of schools is controversial. No one wants the school in their neighborhood, that their child goes to, to close down. and because of this, some are speculating that Covington's plan will be shot down.
But we, as a city, need to quit looking at our own best interests....and figure out what is best for the STUDENTS. Because their success...and getting them through school, is paramount for this city, and must be the primary determining factor. It is too important to not make it the first priority.
Hat Tip Good for the Unemployment stats.