Friday, June 20, 2008

Why Change When Things Are Going So Badly?

Here in Kansas City, I suppose we prefer our change in small doses. The Jackson County election board chose yesterday to adopt a new district map "that created the least disturbance from the current boundaries, while evening up populations without shaking up the racial demographics."

The reason given for rejecting the Unity map, which would have seized an opportunity to strike a blow to the heart of our segregationist past and "Us vs. Them" present? "The panel thought Option 3 presented too disruptive of a change to be considered for a single election."

Two responses -

Is this the same election commission that "shuffled the deck" during the 2007 primaries, and provided voters with false information about where to vote? It seems to me that was a pretty disruptive change to pull - why so pusillanimous now?

Second, and more positively - this is the sort of reaction that we need to anticipate. There is a deep, deep bias in favor of the status quo, even when it isn't working and change is clearly required. There will be an opportunity to redistrict again in 2012. I'm in for the long haul - when are the commissioners' term limits up?

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21 Comments:

Anonymous mainstream said...

For those of you reading at home, I had to look up the $5 word, and share my research below:

Pu`sil*lan"i*mous\, a. [L. pusillannimis; pusillus very little (dim. of pusus a little boy; cf. puer a boy, E. puerile) + animus the mind: cf. F. pusillanime. See Animosity.]

1. Destitute of a manly or courageous strength and firmness of mind; of weak spirit; mean-spirited; spiritless; cowardly; -- said of persons, as, a pussillanimous prince.

2. Evincing, or characterized by, weakness of mind, and want of courage; feeble; as, pusillanimous counsels. "A low and pusillanimous spirit." --Burke.

Syn: Cowardly; dastardly; mean-spirited; fainthearted; timid; weak; feeble. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

6/20/2008 7:58 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

I liked Airick's proposal on redistricting. I think it would have gone a long way towards fixing at least some of the problems in KC schools.

But the current board has once again proved that they care more about maintaining their fiefdoms than about the children of Kansas City.

Which is why the Kansas City public schools are a disaster and have been for decades.

Which is why the Kansas City school district isn't even accredited. Let me repeat that. No accreditation. The most basic and fundemental qualification for a school district to be taken seriously by other school districts. Accreditation. They don't have it. They haven't had it for years. Why? Because the school board is a dysfunctional collection of power hungry ego maniacs and racists.

There is NO amount of money that would convince me to drop a child of mine into that putrid stew they call a school system.

"Disturbance", "shaking up" and "disruptive change" is EXACTLY what the Kansas City school district should be pursuing.

Because what they have now hasn't been working for a very, very long time.

6/20/2008 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was also a very telling interview with John Martin in Wednesday's paper. He talked about some of these issues very candidly and addressed the board's shortcomings pretty succinctly.

I, too, held out some hope for the new option, but as long as the Linwood Tauheed's of the world are screaming about plans that reduce the black vote in one sub district by a measley 2%, it will take more political courage than the KCEB to get something like this implemented.

As a final note, I think we need to be very careful when attacking the KCMSD as a whole. Whale on the School Board members all you want--they deserve it. Rip the Superintendent for every short sighted decision. But remember, when you rip the district as a whole, you're dogging out a bunch of kids who want nothing more than a good education that prepares them for adult life. You're also disparaging some really great teachers--teachers who could teach anywhere, but choose KCMO because they want to be somewhere that makes a difference. Yes, there are bad kids and teachers---but there are also a lot of good people doing a hell of a lot more to fix the district than posting comments at a blog.

We can blame the School Board all we want, but the fact remains that this is OUR district. The responsibility for fixing it lies with us--just as the responsibility for electing good leadership for the district lies with us as well.

6/20/2008 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Happy 2b Retired! said...

Thank you for the words of wisdom, 9:00. Notice that the problems Dan pointed out are with the Kansas City Election Commission - there are some good schools, some great teachers, and a whole lot of wonderful, deserving students. I formerly worked in the district, and, believe me, I'd rather have a classroom full of the kids I had in the KCMSD than the ones I had in Olathe.

6/20/2008 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, Does everyone realize that there are two election authorities in Jackson County(KC and JCEB) and 4 in Kansas City(KC,Cass, Clay and Platte)?

KC - the KC Election Board runs Elections in the area of Kansas City that is in Jackson County.
The Platte, Cass and Clay County Election Boards run Elections in the portions of Kansas City that are in those counties.

The Jackson County election board runs elections in Jackson County except for any areas in the City of Kansas City. Confusing.

What really needs to change is having two election authorities in Jackson County. Two times the overhead and nobody ever knows where to vote

6/20/2008 9:23 AM  
Anonymous A Hawk said...

As long as there are so many violent Blacks in this city the schools will fail to educate. We cannot ignore this basic fact. Just look at the facts. Catholic schools that exclude poor, violent Blacks through high tuition rates regularly exceed accepted educational standards. I am sure some of you will call this racist but in fact it is only realistic. You can redraw the lines all you like but that will not do a damn thing about the violence that is inbred in what we are supposed to call "the Black community." The young man whose parents could obviously not spell is just trying to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic.

6/20/2008 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Hawk,
Catholic schools that exclude poor, violent Blacks through high tuition rates regularly exceed accepted educational standards.

That is TOTAL bullshit! I would put my kid's public school up against any Catholic school in the city.

The problem is you can't compare a public K to 8 school to a Catholic K to 8 school. Public schools all take the Missouri Assessment Program test. So you can compare public school A to public school B.

Catholic schools take no such nationally known standardised test.

Show me the published "accepted educational standard" that shows that St. Peters beats out Academie Lafayette?

Show me the published "accepted educational standard" that shows that Rockhurst beats out Lincoln Prep?

The problem is you can't. People make up these urban legends that Catholic schools "exceed the accepted standards" but have no way to back it up.

So how about it Hawk, point us to your proof that Catholic schools "regularly exceed accepted educational standards."

6/20/2008 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:44 -

The real test is what the kids do once (if) they graduate from high school. Do they go to college? Do they get a job? Do they go to jail?

Though I don't agree with every thing written by Hawk, I do agree that the KCMSD is indefensible. There may be one or two exceptions (Academie Lafayette), but the KCMSD remains indefensible.

6/20/2008 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hawk said Catholic schools were better than public schools better than public schools (not just KCMO) by "accepted educational standards".

If Hawk and you are believe that, then show the proof.

Where is the proof that Catholic schools are better than public schools? I went to a public school, then public university, the public grad school school. I'd be happy to take a Jeopardy quiz against any Catholic school grad.

If Catholic schools are better by "accepted educational standards", then please show me those standards.

The only thing I know about Catholic schools is the church lost a lot of lawsuits or letting paedophile priests have their way with boys.

6/20/2008 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way too much misinformation. First of all, the KCSD is indeed accredited. It has provisional accreditation, has had provisional accreditation for several years now and has NEVER been unaccredited. The Grandview School District also has provisional accreditation. As accreditation standards reflect the stricter test score mandates, which are higher every year, more and more area districts will also be provisionally accredited.

Academie Lafayette is a charter school and is NOT part of the KCSD.

I am sorry to see the unity plan not approved. I thought it was a great idea and it would have done much to provide more unity in the district.

6/20/2008 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Unity plan only effected school board elections. The city council map has a similar racial bias with the dividing line being Troost.

Dan, would you support redrawing similar to the Unity plan for city council elections?

6/21/2008 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:49 -

I don't know what your beef is with Catholic schools, but fine, let's assume that Catholic are only as good as the public schools that you attended (something I seriously doubt). Are you also claiming that public schools (e.g., Academie Lafayette) are as good as other private schools, e.g., St. Paul's, Barstow, and Pembrooke. I doubt it.

And your defense of the KCMSD is gutted when you consider the fact that your shining example (Academie Lafayette) is a charter school that is not part of the KCMSD. Boy, facts always seem to get in the way of a good argument.

I again say: The KCMSD is indefensible.

6/21/2008 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I again say: The KCMSD is indefensible.

Where did I defend KCMSD? I didn't. Hawk said Catholic schools are better than public schools. I have heard that line from people in KCMO and from people in other cities and states. But that is an urban legend. If you or Hawk can show proof that Catholic schools are better than public schools, please point it out.

My beef isn't with Catholic schools, its with ignorant people that make false unverifiable statements that Catholic schools are better.

And your defense of the KCMSD is gutted when you consider the fact that your shining example (Academie Lafayette) is a charter school that is not part of the KCMSD.

Um, I don't see where I ever defended KCMSD or said AL was a part of the KCMSD district. AL is a PUBLIC charter school. Hawk said Catholic schools were better than PUBLIC schools. If you believe Catholic schools are better, please show me the proof. If you are correct, then you should be able to offer up some proof.

Are you also claiming that public schools (e.g., Academie Lafayette) are as good as other private schools, e.g., St. Paul's, Barstow, and Pembrooke.

Yes, I am claiming that. If you want to disagree, please show me any metric where those schools win out.

Its just tiring to see people like you and Hawk trump up Catholic schools, but then not be able to show any proof to back up your claims.

6/21/2008 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Starbuck said...

I am the author of 6/20/2008 4:44 PM, 6/20/2008 9:49 PM and 6/21/2008 9:57 AM.

I went to public schools in New Mexico. People there said the same thing. That the Catholic/private schools were better than the public schools.

When asked for proof they were better, they couldn't provide it and would fall back on "you have to be wealthy to go so they must be better."

So if you have some study, report or hard evidence that Catholic schools are better than public, by all means please share it. Otherwise, please stop spreading misinformation.

6/21/2008 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are several county officials who are taking a close look at the two election board situation. The Neighborhood Action Group newsletter (NAG Letter) has been calling for the consolidation of the two for about a year now.

6/21/2008 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Someone is actually saying that the KCMSD is as good as Barstow and Pembrooke. Gee, someone needs to tell the private school parents that they are wasting dollars and should send their kids to the KCMSD instead.

Is this guy for real?

Either the guy moved to KC five minutes ago, or he is a KCMSD employee, or he is just an idiot.

And no one is making the broad claim that ALL private schools are better than ALL public schools. But, here in KC, that is certainly true. (I have no idea what the situation is like in New Mexico.)

6/21/2008 3:11 PM  
Anonymous starbuck said...

6/21/2008 3:11 PM

Someone is actually saying that the KCMSD is as good as Barstow and Pembrooke.

I said Academie Lafayette was better than Barstow amd Pembrooke, not that KCMSD was better. Maybe you need to learn how to read.

And no one is making the broad claim that ALL private schools are better than ALL public schools.

Actually Hawk claimed that Catholic schools are better than public schools. Again maybe you need to learn how to read.

It sounds like anonymous over paid for his private school lessons. Please learn some reading comprehension before your next post.

6/21/2008 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Whistleblowme said...

I think you're both trying to put words in each others' mouths. Quit posturing and being douchebags when you're acting like you care about children's education, okay?

If you're interested, here's a report card on Catholic education in KCMO.

PS - Thanks, Mainstream, for saving me the research.

6/21/2008 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quit posturing and being douchebags

Well he started it!

6/21/2008 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Whistleblowme.

There is the hard evidence that the Catholic school basher was asking for. Catholic HS students have better ACT scores and 30% more attend college.

Now, will you please concede that Catholic High Schools are better than the KCMSD?

Academie Lafayette is better than Barstow and Pembrooke? Ummm, okay. Good luck finding someone to agree with that one.

6/21/2008 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So they are incompetent. So merge them with the Kansas City Election Board and then we will know where to look for a great repository of incompetency if we ever need it.

7/14/2008 10:18 PM  

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