Path to improving Kansas City schools must pursue ‘greater good’

01/22/2014 10:20 AM

01/22/2014 5:23 PM

Despite state threats to blow up Kansas City Public Schools, nine candidates have filed for school board seats. That shows they have faith in turning around the embattled school district.

Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro and the state board of education have received the tainted CEE-Trust report, which proposes to turn the Kansas City district into a loose-knit confederation of charter-like schools, each run by a nonprofit entity. How to get it done, who will finance the plan and will it ensure that the schools will be any better are key questions with no certain answers.

Right now, the district led by Superintendent Stephen Green appears to be on a path to academic success and full accreditation. That’s what people who have filed for Kansas City school board seats are banking on.

Some insight was provided Saturday during the 22nd annual holiday celebration for the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Missouri Court of Appeals Western District Judge Lisa White Hardwick told a Johnson County audience in speaking about King and former South Africa President Nelson Mandela that people most look beyond their current circumstances.

Hardwick, a product of the Kansas City school district, said King and Mandela, who died recently, taught us to forgive the past, “let go of retribution,” embrace the future and think of what people can do now to lessen inequality and direct society toward a “greater good.”

The people who have filed for seats on the Kansas City school board have such character and virtues in mind when thinking of what’s best for Kansas City Public Schools and the families they serve. The Missouri State Board of Education and Nicastro just have to join them in walking that path to improving the schools for all of Kansas City’s children.

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