The headline “KC schools’ statistics prove troublesome” (12/11, A-1) simply restates the reality of the last two generations of the Kansas City schools. The reports always have excuses for inaccuracy, evasions and failures.
I don’t think this report will be “troublesome” enough to anybody in a position of responsibility to do anything but make feeble, misleading promises to correct this accepted criminal abuse of Kansas City children.
The article in The Star detailing the abysmal performance of the (provisionally accredited) Kansas City school system makes many salient points but completely misses the underlying tragedy.
Aside from some apparently anomalous mathematics (inexplicably, the combined student graduation and dropout rates exceed 100 percent), I honestly wonder why the dropout rate isn’t higher.
Given that a “passing grade” on no fewer than nine of fourteen standards is required to achieve “full accreditation” (Kansas City “passed” only four), what employer would ever be willing to accept a Kansas City schools diploma as evidence of appropriate educational attainment without additional corroborating (think ACT scores) evidence? Indeed, it is highly likely that the dropout rate of Kansas City school students is an entirely rational response predicated upon the fact that graduation from a Kansas City high school has essentially zero credibility in the market.
So, the tragedy isn’t that students are dropping out at an alarming rate; that’s merely a symptom of the underlying problems.
Rather, the real tragedy is that patent mismanagement and a complete lack of competition has led many Kansas City students to the sad conclusion that the only time they were wasting was the time they spent in school.
Stephen W. Pruitt
Professor of finance, UMKC