Consultant proposes dismantling failing districts - KCTV5 News

Consultant proposes dismantling failing districts

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A proposal for helping failing districts calls for recruiting educators and community groups to operate schools and putting a state-run entity in charge of tasks such as transportation and building maintenance.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education hired CEE-Trust, the Cities Education Entrepreneurship Trust, to conduct this research.

However, there were some organizations that disagreed with how CEE-Trust was awarded the bid.

CEE-Trust presented its draft recommendations to the state Board of Education on Monday afternoon. Click here for more details.

The private education reform group has been tasked with coming up with ideas that could be implemented in the Kansas City school district and potentially also in Normandy, Riverview Gardens - both in St. Louis County - or any other districts that become unaccredited.

In its executive summary, CEE-Trust noted that there are individual urban schools that are achieving student success in low-income communities, but there are no urban school districts that are achieving success for all children.

The team interviewed teachers, parents, union leaders and community leaders in those successful schools.

The CEE-Trust team found two common conditions in most high performing urban schools.

One, the schools were educator-run schools, which means educators, such as the principal, controlled the staffing, curriculum, school culture and budget - free from the budget constraints of a central office.

And two, the schools were held accountable.

CEE-Trust was quick to point out 70 percent of Kansas City Public Schools students are below proficient in math and English. And very few students graduating from the district are ready for college based on their ACT scores.

The report also mentions that the Kansas City district has had 26 superintendents in the past 45 years - the national average is under four years for an urban school.

The CEE-Trust recommends under the new plan, that there would be a new public education system. It involves dissolving the current school board system into a community schools offices.

This office would oversee public education for those in unaccredited school districts, but they would not operate or control the school.

Educators would also create and operate nonprofit schools.

Millions of dollars would be unlocked to pay teachers substantially more, and educators would invest in high quality preschools for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Plus, they would hold schools accountable. Schools that would succeed would grow and the schools that continually fall short would be replaced.

The state board is reviewing this draft plan. It is just one of many they are looking at.

Kansas City Public Schools said the district is reviewing these recommendations.  Superintendent Stephen Green was not available for a comment.

Many question where the funds would come from for this new plan.

CEE-trust says currently KCPS controls 52 percent of its funds and only 5 percent of it was controlled by principals.

Under the new plan, it's switched around.

Sixty-five percent of the funds would flow directly to schools and classrooms, controlled by principals and in only 5 percent controlled by administrators.

CEE-Trust was started by The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education reform nonprofit that operates a charter school incubator. Presenters said the proposed change isn't a charter school plan.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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