Mayor Sly James believes the tide has turned in KC schools

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. —  Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sly James released a statement Friday, after the Missouri State Board of Education notified District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green  on Thursday that the Kansas City Public Schools’ accreditation status will not be changed.

The Kansas City Public School District has been unaccredited for the past six years. Dr. Green requested revising that status after the district earned more than 40 percent more points on the district’s report card.

But Chris L. Nicastro, Commissioner of Education, said that there is a concern that many students are still struggling and while the district has shown some progress, some 70 percent of students in all four subject areas are not scoring proficiently.

I am not an education expert, but I am an education supporter and I know firsthand the impact education can have on someone’s life,” Mayor Sly James said in his written statement. Read the full statement below.

“The people of this community elected me to be the Mayor of our City, which encompasses 14 different school districts and thousands of young people.  When one school district struggles, every district feels it. The stakes in this are big and they are bigger than any test score, single district, piece of legislation, or court case.  We’re talking about lives.  I am a father and a grandfather and I know how precious young lives are and the opportunity each represents.  We need to seize this opportunity to do better by the young lives in this City, regardless of the zip code in which they reside.  Every child has a right to a quality education.  

I am optimistic that Dr. Green, his staff, and the students and families of Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) have turned the tide and are making positive advances that will not reverse.  I also appreciate Dr. Nicastro’s results-driven leadership style and agree with her that the entire KCPS family deserves recognition for how far the district has come.  The Commissioner’s decision is here so now we can stop worrying and wondering and get to the hard work of educating young people so that the future of this City is as bright as the minds I know sit in the seats of each school building.  

The State Board meets in October and I will be closely following that meeting and encourage the entire community to do so. Nothing is more important that the education of our students.

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