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Kansas City School District to Lose Accreditation

State's move takes effect in January; two years allowed to show progress

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The Kansas City, Mo., school district, which was thrown into leadership turmoil late last month when Superintendent John Covington resigned to take a new position in Michigan, will have its accreditation revoked by the state in January.

The Missouri state board of education voted unanimously last week to take the action.

“While this decision was an extremely difficult one for our board to make, we believe it is the right one,” Peter Herschend, the president of the state board, said in a press release. “We will work closely with the district’s leadership and staff and continue efforts to improve student achievement. Our work requires a laser-like focus on classroom instruction.”

By state law, an unaccredited district has two school years to demonstrate a sustainable level of academic progress. Should that not occur, the district will lapse and the state board must intervene.

Students who meet state and local requirements for graduation can still earn valid diplomas from an unaccredited district.

Mr. Covington left the district to run a new educational authority in Michigan that will oversee that state’s lowest-performing schools.

The former superintendent instituted major changes during his two-year tenure in the 17,400-student Kansas City district, including cost-cutting initiatives that closed more than two dozen schools. Those actions won him praise, and before learning of Mr. Covington’s new job, district leaders were scrambling to find a way to keep him from leaving.

The changes that Mr. Covington brought to the district have not yet resulted in academic growth, however. Kansas City met only three of 14 academic standards needed for state accreditation this year. In 2010, the district met four standards.

In a statement, the Kansas City district leadership said that as it teaches its students to "be resilient and bounce back from setbacks," the district will do the same.

Vol. 31, Issue 05, Page 4

Published in Print: September 28, 2011, as Kansas City School District to Lose Accreditation
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