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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

K.C. schools still fail to make grade

Friday, January 11, 2002

Following the turmoil in the Kansas City school district is like reviewing a Three Stooges movie. Just when you think things are going badly, they get worse. So now the Kansas City schools - among the worst performers in the state - are considering a new national search for a superintendent. For those keeping score that would be 20 superintendents in 30 years. And you wonder why the district has academic problems?

But more disturbing to me is the intervention of Gov. Bob Holden and Education Commissioner Kent King. Both men this week publicly sided with the current superintendent following a 5-4 vote of virtual no-confidence by the School Board there. Holden and King should stay out of local school board politics unless and until the state is ordered to take over the district. That move is likely to come sooner than later.

Current Superintendent Bernard Taylor Jr. has been on board for less than a year. He recently hired a controversial new administrator without the Board's approval. So the Board quickly split their vote and narrowly eliminated the position. That sent Taylor in a spin and he eluded to his potential desire to take his talents elsewhere. That's when Holden and King intervened.

It is more than likely that the State Board of Education will take over the district this March. This past year some progress was made in areas of concern within the district but most officials believe the improvements are too little, too late. So it would appear that the state will assume responsibility for the district in the near future.

The timing of the turmoil could not be worse. The revolving door to the superintendent's office has tainted the school district and angered parents and students alike. It's a forgone conclusion that education suffers in such an environment.

Maybe it's time for the state takeover. Kansas City officials have had ample opportunity to clean their own house. Today that possibility seems as remote as ever.

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