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February 16, 2010



Brent, thanks for this post! The sense of "closing schools is fine, as long as it's not the one my kids go to" is so strong that it resembles many NIMBY shouting matches. The long term survival and improvement of the KCSD is probably the most important issue facing this city. The KCSD must be much more proactive and flexible than ever before if it wants to be able to shed these properties in a manner that will actually benefit the neighborhoods.



It does stink for anyone who's kids and neighborhood schools are impacted.

But, the numbers make it painfully obvious that some downsizing has to occur. How deep, and where, is going to be the School Board's work.

I live in one of the neighborhoods where one of the main schools is on the chopping block. It will really stink for my neighborhood. But in the end, we have to find a way to improve the school system in the city...the entire city depends on it.

But the school district does have a responsibility to the neighborhoods to be sure they're not stuck with decaying, delapidating buildings that become blighted and a safe haven for criminals.


My children go to a charter school that is bursting at the seams, looking to expand, has money, and would love to buy an empty KCMO building. There are four that are in the right area, are the right size, and have been vacant for awhile that But word is the district won't sell to charter schools. Terrible public policy.


The KCSD Board's policy has been to not sell or lease any of its properties to another educational use beccause they are considered competitors. This policy will have to be reconsidered as part of the KCSD's plan for disposing of these properties - assuming that there is a plan for what to do with their excess properties.


I say close most every schoolin Kansas City; the schools have been a failed public experiment.
The shools have failed for a number of reasons:
1) Boys drop out and participate in gangs, and girls seeking esteem and control, get pregnant.
2) The schools fail to provide relevant education -- they fail to provide technical education
3) The teachers only indoctrinate, they fail to educate; they fail to help the students develop critical -- analytical thinking skills.

Kansas City is a dying inner city like Detroit; it's on the verge of bankruptcy; in fact it is an economic dead zone, that stands in stark contrast to Overland Park.

Unfortunately, the stock market and bond markets are on the verge of collapse, so all of America as a whole will go the way of Kansas City.

If I were a teenager, I would be scared to death to go to a public school in Kansas City -- I would drop out and homeschool myself and get a GED.


Mike Mish Sheldon in article Kansas City School District Faces Bankruptcy, Closes 29 of 61 schools provides helpful insight into the Kansas City Schools.

For decades critics of the public schools have been saying, "You can't solve educational problems by throwing money at them." The education establishment and its supporters have replied, "No one's ever tried." In Kansas City they did try. To improve the education of black students and encourage desegregation, a federal judge invited the Kansas City, Missouri, School District to come up with a cost-is-no-object educational plan and ordered local and state taxpayers to find the money to pay for it.

Kansas City spent as much as $11,700 per pupil--more money per pupil, on a cost of living adjusted basis, than any other of the 280 largest districts in the country. The money bought higher teachers' salaries, 15 new schools, and such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio was 12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major school district in the country.

The results were dismal. Test scores did not rise; the black-white gap did not diminish; and there was less, not greater, integration.

The Kansas City experiment suggests that, indeed, educational problems can't be solved by throwing money at them, that the structural problems of our current educational system are far more important than a lack of material resources, and that the focus on desegregation diverted attention from the real problem, low achievement.

Throwing money at the problem wasted $2 billion. Now the district faces bankruptcy, and is forced to abandon now decaying schools bought with wasted taxpayer money.

In Kansas City, as in Detroit, every child was left behind ... for decades.

Closing schools is the correct decision.

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