Kansas City Schools Lose Accreditation — Again

After failing to meet Missouri’s academic performance standards, the Kansas City School District has officially lost its accreditation, CBSNews reports. Missouri State Board of Education voted unanimously to strip the district’s accreditation on Tuesday. The Board’s decision will go into effect on January 1, 2012.

This isn’t the first time that the Kansas City School District has had accreditation troubles. In 2000, the district also lost accreditation, but avoided a state takeover by implementing improvements and regaining their accreditation provisionally. In order to maintain the provisional accreditation, they needed to meet at least 6 of the district’s 14 performance standards – a full accreditation requires meeting 9 – but in a last review, the district met only 3 standards, thus putting its accreditation in jeopardy once again.

The loss of accreditation means that the district now has only two years to improve and regain it or become a target of the state takeover. This might be a challenging goal to meet for a district that’s not only suffering academic malaise, but has also been struggling with finding a new superintendent.

The District’s previous superintendent, John Covington, has recently been hired to run some of the worst-performing public schools in Detroit, Michigan and the Detroit Free Press is suggesting that the Missouri decision will cast a pall over his tenure in Detroit. After all, the Missouri vote came less than a month after Covington assured Education Achievement Authority board members during his hiring interview that “the Kansas City district was working toward full accreditation.”

While Missouri State Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro admits that Kansas City’s problems predated Covington’s tenure there, he doesn’t entirely absolve Covington of fault.

She said Covington’s resignation last month didn’t cause the district to lose its accreditation, but it didn’t help, either.

Robert Floden, of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, acknowledges that for a district superintendent, losing accreditation “is a big deal,” and will undoubtedly add pressure to Covington’s first few months in his new job as he tries to prove himself.

Floden also said Covington shouldn’t have his potential to succeed in Michigan questioned. “Kansas City has been a very troubled district for a long time. It’s been a difficult place to succeed. We should take that into account and not pin this on him in particular,” Floden said.