Group demands top educator to step down after alleged ‘misuse of power’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A coalition of Kansas City teachers, parents and lawmakers chanted in below-freezing temperatures in the Kansas City Power and Light District to shed some light on what they call "their fight for public education" and they want Missouri State Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro to step down.

"Nicastro must go, Nicastro must go!" shouted the group during their protest Monday near 13th and Grand.

They're upset after they say Nicastro, in emails obtained by a group and detailed in Sunday's Kansas City Star, shows support for a school reform agenda that strongly favors charter schools, run by private companies.

"She was wrong. She should be fired," Amye Cooley, retired Kansas City teacher, said.

"She wasn't upfront," Andrea Flinders, president of the Teachers' Union Local 691, said. "She wasn't transparent and I just didn't like the way it was done. It looks like she had a plan for us no matter how well we do with our scores."

The teachers' union and its supporters insist Nicastro has teamed up with CEE-Trust, an out of state consulting firm, to pave the way for a corporate takeover of the unaccredited school district at students' expense.

FOX 4's Robert Townsend couldn't reach Nicastro on Monday in Jefferson City.  However, in a statement, State Board of Education President Peter Herschend said in part, "We as a state and the State Board of Education have to find better ways of helping students, schools, teachers and education leadership over the barrier of failing schools."

Herschend added, "change is always hard and many will oppose change, but what we are doing now is not working."

"We are committed to another year of showing improvement in the areas that we need to show improvement," Dr. R. Stephen Green, the Superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools, said.

Meantime, Democratic State Senator Paul LeVota, from Independence, is one of eight Missouri legislators now calling for Chris Nicastro to step down.

"She's misused her power. She's done this in the past," Senator LeVota said.



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