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Government, Politics & Issues

Kansas City Schools Remain Unaccredited

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio
The Mo. State Board of Education meets on Oct. 22, 2013. They chose to take no action on a request to consider reclassifying the K.C. School District, which has been unaccredited since Jan. 2012.

Public schools in Kansas City, Missouri, will remain unaccredited.

The State Board of Education on Tuesday chose to take no action on a request by Kansas City Schools Superintendent R. Stephen Green to grant provisional accreditation, based on this year's assessment scores in which the district placed within the provisional range.  But State Board President Peter Herschend says there hasn't been sufficient improvement sustained over a period of time.

"It's like a baseball team having a winning streak of one – that's not a streak," Herschend told reporters.  "That's a good performance, glad they won, but they sure didn't win the division title."

Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro had also recommended leaving Kansas City schools unaccredited.  The district is also awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit before the Missouri Supreme Court that has so far delayed implementation of the state's student transfer law in Kansas City.

"We are in the business of getting kids educated so kids can read well, and they can do math well, and they can do social science and science well," Herschend said.  "(Kansas City schools) made progress, but they didn't get off the floor."

Superintendent Green has released the following statement:

"Today the state board took no immediate action on our request for provisional accreditation. We appreciate the State Board, especially President Peter Herschend, not only for its thoughtful deliberations during this process, but for allowing our team to make a comprehensive presentation on our academic progress last month. The issue of this school system's accreditation will ultimately impact thousands of children across our city and region, and today's consideration demonstrates the board's willingness to thoroughly vet our request. The board had three options regarding our status – they could have voted in favor of provisional accreditation, they could have denied our request or they could continue to deliberate. They chose not to take action at this time. We will do everything we can to help them make an informed decision as they progress. The actions that KCPS is taking toward regaining full accreditation and beyond will continue full throttle, without delay and without distraction. We will continue to meet with DESE monthly, as we have during the last two years, and we'll do everything possible to produce the third consecutive year of increased student achievement desired by DESE and Commissioner Chris Nicastro. As I mentioned in a letter to our team this morning: we can't let up now."

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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