Same Old Song: Kansas City’s Billion Dollar School Experiment Loses its Accreditation

Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
 – Kansas, Dust in the Wind

One day, every school child will learn of the folly that occurred here

It was only a few years ago that Clayton County (that once bustling metro Atlanta county that is now majority Black) lost its accreditation for its school system. It was only last year that a major scandal engulfed the Atlanta Public School system (another majority Black system, with a bevy of Black administrators), jeopardizing the accreditation of its school district in the process. 

Scandals are brewing in majority Black Washington D.C. and Philadelphia as we speak. 

But it’s in one particularly interesting school district, host to perhaps the most notorious social experiment in American higher education history, that confirms that the dream of closing the racial gap in learning will never end:

As of Jan.1, the Kansas City Missouri (KCMO) School District has lost its accreditation for the second time in 11 years. The last time the KCMO School District lost its accreditation was in 2000 because of its failure to meet the minimal academic performance standards of the state.  In 2002, KCMO schools were able to make improvements to gain the district provisional accreditation and avoid a state takeover. According to MSNBC, the district has maintained only this provisional accreditation for nearly a decade.

The State of Missouri assesses each district on the criteria of 14 predetermined standards. These standards are: Mission and Goals, Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal, Institutional Resources, Leadership and Governance, Administration, Integrity, Institutional Assessment, Student Support Services, Faculty, Educational Offerings, General Education, Related Educational Activities, and Assessment of Student Learning. In 2010, KCMO passed its assessment by only meeting four of the listed criteria. According to Kansas City News Pro, in 2011 only three of the 14 accreditation standards were met resulting in the loss of its accreditation.

Who are these students performing so miserably on these tests? The answer shouldn’t be surprising, with the blueprint for the school systems demise similar to those of Atlanta, Washington D.C., Birmingham, Memphis, Philadelphia, and Detroit. White flight to ‘drifter colonies’ surrounding Kansas City has left Black people in charge of an infrastructure they can’t maintain and a school system filled with students incapable of achieving the academic standards of those who departed for temporary sanctuary in the suburbs. 

Here’s the New York Times on the collapse:

In the wake of the Kansas City school board’s decision to shutter 28 of its 61 schools, many people were left scratching their heads. While school closings as a result of demographic change and tight budgets are commonplace across the country, rarely does a system lose half of itself in one sweep. 

The sudden move suggests a depth of dysfunction here that is rarely associated with Kansas City, a lively heartland town with a reputation for order. But a closer look at the school board’s recent history reveals a chaotic, almost nonfunctioning body that put off making tough choices and even routine improvements for generations. Experts said that in the board’s years of inaction is a cautionary tale for school districts everywhere. 

“This is extraordinary,” said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a research group in Washington. “The school board was dysfunctional for years. There was very poor governance for a long period of time, and it was like a revolving door with superintendents.” 

Mr. Jennings also said the board was plagued with “a general unwillingness to face the facts” of the chaos it created. 

Students have been leaving the Kansas City public schools in droves. Close to 18,000 students exited to better suburban districts or charter schools in the last 10 years alone. The student enrollment is now 17,400 children, who are mostly black and impoverished. 

And achievement levels in the schools are abysmal: Fewer than a third of elementary students in the city schools read at or above grade level. And in most of the schools, fewer than a quarter of students are proficient at their grade levels.

Academic reforms to improve the Kansas City school system include shipping under-performing Black students into the drifter colony school districts that miraculously work. These primarily white students don’t need tricks or gimmicks to pass tests or meet minimum standards. But with an influx of Black students, these school districts will inevitably collapse as well, leaving the state of Missouri with no choice but to cite the failure for academic progress in the Black students there too.

What happened in Kansas City (and continues to happen) requires us to look back in time and discuss the noble intentions of a desegregation order – and the billions wasted trying to close the racial gap in achievement between Black and white students – that should give any thinking person an obvious answer to the question of nature vs. nurture. District Court Judge Russell Clark presided over a case that will serve to educate students in the future of the sheer folly that ruled American educational discourse in the 21st century:

By almost any standard, Missouri v. Jenkins, the Kansas City, Missouri, school desegregation case, was extraordinary. Between 1985 and 2003 federal judges ordered more than $2 billion in new spending by the school district to encourage desegregation. Not only did they double property taxes to pay this huge bill, but they imposed an income tax surcharge on everyone who lived or worked in the city. The court order turned every high school and middle school (as well as half the elementary schools) into “magnet schools,” each with a distinctive theme—including not merely science, performing arts, and computer studies, but also classical Greek, Asian studies, agribusiness, and environmental studies. The newly constructed classical Greek high school housed an Olympic-sized pool with an underwater observation room, an indoor track, a gymnastic center, and racquetball courts.

The former coach of the Soviet Olympic fencing team was hired to teach inner-city students how to thrust and parry. The school system spent almost a million dollars a year to recruit white kids from the suburbs, and even hired door-to-door taxi service for them. By 1995 Kansas City was spending over $10,000 per student, more than any comparable school system in the country. Despite this massive effort, litigation failed either to improve the quality of education or to reduce racial isolation. Test scores continued to drop, and the percentage of minority students continued to rise. Eventually, black parents—who had long opposed the court’s heavy emphasis on “magnet schools” designed to draw whites into the school system—insisted upon a return to neighborhood schools.

Paul Ciotti of the Cato Institute produced perhaps the most devastating paper on the Kansas City experiment in Utopian dreams, revealing that no amount of money could another minute buy hopes of closing the racial gap in achievement.

George Will wrote about it at the Washington Post:

Thirty-five years ago, Kansas City’s district had 54,000 students. Today it has fewer than 17,000. Between then and now there was a spectacular confirmation of the axiom that education cannot be improved by simply throwing money at it.

In the 1980s, after a court held that the city was operating a segregated school system, judicial Caesarism appeared. A judge vowed to improve the district’s racial balance by luring white students to lavish “magnet schools” offering “suburban comparability” and “desegregative attractiveness.” And he ordered tax increases to pay the almost $2 billion bill for, among other things, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a planetarium, vivariums, greenhouses, a model United Nations wired for language translation, radio and television studios, an animation and editing lab, movie editing and screening rooms, a temperature-controlled art gallery, a 25-acre farm, a 25-acre wildlife area, instruction in cosmetology and robotics, field trips to Mexico and Senegal, and more.

Neither test scores nor the racial gap in academic achievement improved, and racial imbalance increased. Today, African Americans are 28 percent of the city’s population and 63 percent of public school students. And Covington (“We’re not an employment agency. We are a school district”) has survived the tumultuous process of closing schools. He won the support of a narrow majority on the elected school board. Except for one incumbent board member who ran unopposed, all those candidates in the next election who had opposed the closures were defeated. Now what?

Now what? Cue up the Kansas.

Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see

Education reform is not my specialty. But the answer is not Charter Schools or busing Black students into drifter colonies in the hopes that, through some of educational osmosis, they magically produce the same test scores as their white counterparts.

The answer is one that the Federal government can never consider, for it would undermine the very foundation of its current mission (the totalitarian enforcement of what we have dubbed Black-Run America: BRA).

 Disingenuous White Liberals (DWLs) and I Have a Dream (I HAD) people – these are your standard Republicans/conservatives – have a vested interest in ensuring that the very question is never even asked.

Those haunting lines from Dust in the Wind provide the answer that should be obvious to any person, but because  our society values maintaining a lie (equality), we must obfuscate reality further. Ensuring that civilization crumbles to the ground in the process.

Kansas City, Detroit, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Baltimore, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Newark, and a growing list of cities must be sacrificed to perpetuate this lie.

No worries. Kansas City is one of those cities where Flash Mobs Mahogany Mobs are scaring away shoppers and potential investors hoping to revitalize the downtown area, which is home to some of the most dangerous Black people on the planet (now you should understand why white flight happens; to live in communities free of crime, murder, and mayhem).

The lie of equality will continue to limp along, taking countless lives in the process and wasting trillions of dollars (not to mention the unquantifiable opportunity costs associated with maintaining it). All in the name of “progress”, which really means stunting our advancement.

Never forget: We could have been on Mars, but we had to conduct the great Kansas City experiment. And the Detroit experiment. And the Memphis experiment. And the Philadelphia experiment.

The results were always the same. Here’s how to save American education: admit racial differences in intelligence. This would instantly undermine BRA, so committing suicide is not an option for DWLs and I Had people. Our future must be sacrificed, instead, while we patiently look to the skies waiting for Superman to come save us all.

Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see



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