Interview with Charlie Shields, President of the Missouri State Board of Education

Steve Kraske’s KCUR interview with Charlie Shields this fall made headlines when he said there was a possibility KCPS might regain full accreditation sooner than later. But the interview also led Shields to share sage advice about the perception of Kansas City schools. The idea of expanding school choice in Kansas City continues to be promoted as a necessity to ensure our students receive a quality education. But this advice from Shields is what our politicians, education philanthropists, and education portfolio advocates really need to hear. From the president of the state board of education came a powerful reminder that we should celebrate our district schools and educators for the progress they have made, for the work they have done with community partners to support our students, and the acknowledgement of what many will not say, that Kansas City’s students are “not starting at the same place.” The Integrated Schools community advocates for parents to look beyond what we are familiar with (i.e. the “best” schools, and the need to seek out the best for our kids), to see our community’s schools with new eyes, and to make your own assessment of what is good in our schools. Shields’ advice should have a lot of weight, not only because of his current position, but because it comes from a longtime Missouri public servant with a rounded perspective on health, education, and our community. Speaking on the progress of KCPS towards full accreditation, Shields said,

“…moving into Kansas City, the old school of thought was that when you had an underperforming school district you had to make other choices, and I think maybe this sends a different message to our community that you don’t have to make other choices. There are viable choices in the charter school community, but there are equally viable choices within the school district.”
– Charlie Shields, President of the Missouri Board of Education

Listen to this episode of KCUR’s Up to Date with Steve Kraske:
Seg.1: Missouri Health Care And Education Updates

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