Mayor James is pleased to see that several researched-based elements of the transformation plan he suggested in 2011 are similar to current plans to increase academic achievement in Kansas City Public Schools. Wrap-around services, more school-level autonomy, increased accountability, higher teacher salaries, community involvement and considering the regional implications of the existing transfer law are all strategies for success the Mayor recommended in 2011 when Kansas City Public Schools was first unaccredited. Additionally, since taking office, the Mayor has supported early childhood education, including grade-level reading proficiency through Turn the Page KC, which is also a recommendation for the State Board of Education and the Commissioner of Education to consider.
“There are many ideas percolating that I support so strongly that I suggested them two years ago,” said Mayor Sly James. “Every child in this city deserves access to high-quality schools. We must first accept that the status quo isn’t good enough. There are some great stories from the district’s schools but achievement isn’t widespread. We need to look at how we can re-envision the educational landscape to replicate current success stories and bring more of the best teaching minds to our City. I do not believe that equates to the state micromanaging our local classrooms, bold actions without accountability, or shipping students from the urban core to the suburbs with the expectation that they will succeed academically, socially, or emotionally.”
Moving forward, Mayor James suggests that any plan adopted by the State Board of Education to increase achievement while the district is unaccredited also detail operations for the district when it resumes accreditation.
“Let’s act on some of these great ideas rather than circling back around to them again two years from now,” the Mayor added.