It just goes from bad to worse. No sooner had the Kansas City school district dodged the accreditation bullet than another bit of bad news surfaced. Two teachers there have been suspended for providing improper information to students about the Missouri Assessment Program tests. The timing could not be worse.
Kansas City has long been a failed experiment in social engineering. Close to $2 billion was spent there over the past two decades to address desegregation policies. But then test scores lagged, student attendance suffered and graduation rates were dismal. The state threatened to take over the district to reverse the decline but just two weeks ago the district gained provisional accreditation. Another round of assessments were scheduled for mid-summer.
Then this week the school district announced that two teachers have been removed from their school following an investigation of cheating on the state assessment tests.
An investigation is under way at the state level and the test scores of all of the students will come under scrutiny. Although it's almost certain that no test questions were provided, it appears the teachers may have used the state test as a basis for their students to study. That amounts to cheating.
Kansas City schools have long been plagued with turmoil between the school board and the administrative staff. Underlying these problems have been consistent declines in all areas of student achievement. Matters simply went from bad to worse. And now comes the cheating scandal.
Eventually I believe the Kansas City schools will fall under the state. The take-over may not occur for two more years but I see little hope that a complete turnaround is possible. Events of this week only drive a nail in the school's coffin. We understand the pressure to reverse the decline. But cheating is not the solution. Even the Kansas City schools agree with that.