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KSHB, Kansas City – Despite a vision in its RTTT grant application, which DESE  promised to implement even if it wasn’t awarded a grant, that said it wanted to regionalize education in the state, and a leaked series of emails this fall describing a statewide district for failing schools, and now a  draft report which recommends dismantling the long-struggling Kansas City Public School District and replacing it with “networks of non-profit schools operated by educators largely independent from a central governing body,” DESE continues to deny that it wants a largely privatized education system in the state.

According to KSHB, the report calls for “replacing the top-down district structure with a much smaller, near purely administrative entity called a Community Schools Office (CSO). The CSO would retain some functions of the current district, including facilities maintenance, enrollment and transportation coordination, but its primary purpose would be to set accountability standards for schools, which would themselves be free to run largely independently, so long as they hit those standards.”

Schools with accountability towards state-set standards that can run “independently so long as they hit those standards” sounds an awful lot like the current public school system. So what exactly does the new CSO offer that would be any different than what we have? Oh yeah, someone else besides the district and the state take the blame.

The choice and privatization of education is the modern ed reformers’ dream. They market it as freedom for parents to choose what is best for their kids and real accountability for schools. They should look at Chile who had the same vision. What the  people ended up with there was low-cost commercial chain schools, and no real choice or voice.

Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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