The following comment was posted on the blog:
As a parent in the Kansas City Public Schools who has been fighting from the trenches the last 3 years, I’m thrilled to see Missouri on your blog. Dr Nicastro’s true stripes are starting to show.
Below is the letter I sent on September 10th after realizing the selection of CEE-Trust (paid for by private foundation funds) to “study” KCPS’ and St Louis’ unaccreditation problem was really a well-orchestrated attempt to dismantle the schools and district my daughters attend.
Dear Commisisoner Nicastro and Members of The State Board of Education,
My name is Jennifer and I am the parent of two elementary children in the Kansas City Public Schools. I have been involved with KCPS since 2004. I am writing to you because I feel the voices of KCPS parents are being marginalized and cannot let this go unaddressed anymore. To me it feels as if more weight and value is being placed in the opinions of a small group of influential Kansas Citians (Civic Council, Kauffman and Hall Family Foundations) versus those of us actually utilizing our public schools; those of use who see and experience first-hand how changes which began 5 years ago are finally starting to bear fruit.
I can only assume you would want to listen to ALL affected stakeholders in order to make balanced, reasoned and well-informed decisions related to the accreditation status of the Kansas City Public Schools.
As a parent leader, I have personally witnessed the transformation of the last 5 years and only wish to share my experience with those in a position to make a decision affecting my city, district, schools, classrooms, teachers and my children. I can attest that we (the Kansas City Public Schools) ARE on the right track; a board well-versed in policy governance, a stable superintendent, a financially sound house AND 2 years of sustained improvement in academic achievement with a well-defined plan to deliver again in SY14. As such, I wholeheartedly support Dr Green’s assertion that KCPS has earned the right to seek provisional accreditation now.
What I am most afraid of is that the voices of a few have already influenced you to seek the consultation of an organization such as CEE-Trust. It’s no secret what sort of recommendations they will likely make based upon their funding sources and some of their previous work. In my mind their selection is tantamount to putting the fox in charge of the hen house. But more importantly, the reforms they are likely to recommend have been shown to exacerbate the racial and economic achievement gap AND negatively impact student achievement for students in Chicago, New York, DC and New Orleans.
I seriously question the underlying motive of any decision to alter the current proven course of improvement for something as unproven as that which CEE-Trust is likely to recommend. In my opinion as a parent, such a decision is nothing short of wanton neglect.
I participated in one of the parent CEE-Trust focus groups to get an insider’s view and am now working with a dedicated group of parents, teachers, administrators and community members to derail the reform train in Missouri and specifically Kansas City Public Schools.