Missouri education officials said Tuesday that they had hired a private education reform group to analyze why Kansas City schools keep coming up short and to help devise a turnaround plan for unaccredited schools.
The decision by the State Board of Education comes as it also directed staff to increase oversight of Missouri’s three unaccredited school districts when a new state law takes effect Aug. 28 giving the agency greater powers to intervene in troubled schools.
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The $385,000 contract with the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust seeks recommendations by January that could later be implemented in Kansas City Public Schools and potentially also in Normandy, Riverview Gardens or any other districts that become unaccredited. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said the contract is being funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Hall Family Foundation in Kansas City.
The CEE Trust describes itself as a network of city foundations, nonprofits and mayors’ offices that supports “education innovation and reform.” It is an initiative of the Mind Trust, based in Indianapolis, which undertook a similar project several years ago focused on its hometown school system under a $681,518 contract from the Indiana Department of Education.
In its Missouri bid documents, the Mind Trust said it plans to work with the education policy group Public Impact, based in Chapel Hill, N.C. The bid documents pledge a report that analyzes the conditions that have led to poor results in Kansas City schools and recommendations for how the state should intervene to change its governance and operations.
The Kansas City school district lost its state accreditation in January 2012.