ACE Parents & Students Rally to Preserve Contract
April 14, 2012

KC Star:

The founders of Kansas City’s African-centered education program summoned all the campus’s children, staff and its drum corps Friday to rally against the school district’s plan to take it over.
Parents like Catherine Brown came out, listening to community leaders and preachers and 11-year-old Isis Thompson, who vowed, “By any means necessary, we will not be moved.”
Brown, who has four children on the K-12 campus, said she would have some difficult decisions to make.
Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Steve Green has announced that the school district will operate the African-centered program next year, ending the often rocky relationship with the Afrikan Centered Education Taskforce Inc.
Green has not changed his mind.
The school district will be scheduling meetings soon to talk with parents and children about what they would like to see in the African-centered programming going forward.
They will want parents like Brown to be a part of that.
But if the district isn’t bringing back the leadership team, led by Audrey Bullard and the task force, Brown said, her hard choice will be figuring out where outside the district she can send her children.
“We’re already looking,” she said. “That’s the voice of many parents on this campus.”
The school district remains committed to providing an African-centered education school, Green said earlier this week. But concerns and conflicts with the task force and its contract prompted him to end the contract after this school year.
Friday, district spokeswoman Eileen Houston-Stewart said the district understands that parents will have to make the best decisions they can for their children.
“We’re opening it up to them (to help plan the school),” she said.
So far, “about a dozen” parents have filed forms with the district saying they intend to re-enroll next year, she said. The district hopes to draw more interest from the campus, which has about 1,000 students from kindergarten through high school, from the meetings to come.

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Green Faces Unhappy ACE Parents and Boosters Sunday
March 25, 2012

ACE Parent and Attorney Dana Cutler (left) questions KC Superintendent Stephen Green (right) at Sunday meeting.

Kansas City, Missouri School Superintendent Stephen Green faced an unhappy crowed of parents and supporters of the African Centered Education (ACE) schools at a Sunday afternoon meeting.

Last week, Green announced the district was ending it’s twenty-plus year associated with the administrators of the ACE program. He says the district has a problem with the ACE administration finances. ACE supporters deny anything is wrong with their books.

“I have no real problem with any program,” Green says of the ACE academics.

Our challenge is with the management structure”, he said.

He called the ACE financial structure “incompatible” with the district.

A number of parents urged green to leave the ACE school structure alone.

Jackson County Legislator James Tindall likened the situation to the churches he supervises as a Bishop.

He said when they have a problem with a particular congregation they deal with it, they don’t shut down the churchy.

Green also told the crowd he supported the concept of African Center Education.

“I’m committed to African centered education, I tell you that, right now”.

Several parents and supporters criticized Green for his move on the ACE program. They said the district should be concentrating on preparing students for the approaching Missouri state tests that are tied to accreditation.

Green told the crowd he is “very sure”, the district will be meeting five, maybe six accreditation standards by the summer. He predicted that would be enough to regain provisional accreditation. The district needs to meet nine of the state 14 standards to re-gain full accreditation.

KC School District Aces Out African Centered School
March 21, 2012

KC Star:

Kansas City Public Schools said Tuesday that it would take control of the Afrikan Centered Education Collegium Campus at the end of the school year, ending a long, up-and-down relationship with the program’s leaders.
ACE supporters and parents vowed to fight the decision.
“We are committed to making sure that we are here in the fall as the Afrikan-centered collegium campus,” said Ajamu Webster, chairman of the ACE board.
The district said it would not renew its contract with Afrikan Centered Education Task Force Inc. because the arrangement has become “financially, operationally and practically unfeasible.”
Instead, the district will run the program under a new name: African-Centered College Preparatory Academy.
“This has nothing to do with the academics at ACE; it has to do with the finance piece,” said Eileen Houston-Stewart, a district spokeswoman.
The district said it was sending letters Tuesday to current program students and parents. The school will continue to operate at the former Southeast High School campus, and ACE staff members “will be encouraged to apply for employment with KCPS as those positions are posted,” the district said.
As a contract school, the ACE campus is a public school whose students are considered part of the district, but the school controls its staffing and curriculum. The African-centered model covers the same college-prep-oriented standards as other district schools but with an emphasis on African culture and perspective.
ACE leaders met Tuesday night with more than 100 parents in the auditorium of the Upper Campus building at 3500 E. Meyer Blvd.
Leaders repeatedly mentioned that the Kansas City district lost its accreditation in January and told parents they should “push back” against the district’s move.
“I don’t want someone who is not able to manage other schools to come in here and turn this school into what their other schools are,” Audrey Bullard, dean of the Afrikan-centered campus, told the gathering.
“After 24 years of us running a successful African-centered education movement in this city, the Kansas City School District wants to come in here and say that they can do it better,” she said. “What can they do for your children?”