Kansas City School Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green says His district needs to keep its eye on the ball, despite being turned down by the Missouri Board of Education in the district’s request to have its accreditation rating improved.
“We need to keep going full throttle, together, to deliver a third consecutive year of improvement, regardless of the politics swirling in our periphery,” Green said in an open letter Tuesday.
Under state law, Missouri students may transfer from a failing school district, which is what the Kansas City school system is considered in the eyes of the state, without accreditation.
The State Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving student transfers out of Kansas City into neighboring suburban schools. A ruling from the High Court is expected later this year or early in 2014.
The State Board’s action is not a surprise. Earlier, Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro recommended the Board not change Kansas City’s accreditation status. The State Board did not even take a vote on the matter.
The district scored an 84 of a possible 140 points on last spring’s state tests. They had hoped that would earn the school system enough points to move into provisional accreditation.
Nicastro challenged the Kansas City claim that it had shown three years of academic progress. She and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) want to see a sustained trend of improvement under the new, tougher state tests.
Green vows to keep pressing for academic improvement despite the questions surrounding the student transfer issue.
“We won’t sit still waiting for their certification,” he wrote.
There is also a team of consultants working on plans to improve the district. Earlier this week, those consultants warned against expecting any dramatic academic improvement in the Kansas City school system.