"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kirkwood School District and Washington DC School Council Have a Common Thread: Education Equity

 We wrote about Washington DC's idea about mandating and paying for all students to take the ACT/SAT and apply for college:

Mandates are in the works for universal preschool and the Washington DC council may be taking the first stab at mandating mandatory post-secondary education.  A bill has been introduced that will mandate that everyone apply to at least one post-secondary institution and take either the SAT or ACT. It apparently doesn't matter if the individual doesn't want to attend a post-secondary institution, he/she will be compelled to apply to a college, trade, seminary or vocational program.  

Kirkwood (Missouri) School District administrators believe in education equity for all students even if they can pay for half-day kindergarten or ACT testing. 

Kirkwood is not a high poverty area in Missouri.  Here is  2010 Census information from Wikipedia:

As of the census of 2010, there were 27,324 people, 11,894 households, and 10,276 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,993.5 people per square mile. There were 12,895 housing units at an average density of 1,333.7 per square mile (514.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.4% White (88.2% Non-Hispanic White), 7.0% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

The median income for a household in the city was $70,261, and the median income for a family was $89,219. Males had a median income of $51,515 versus $36,235 for females. The per capita income for the city was $32,012. About 2.8% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 3.6% of those age 65 or over.

Why would the school administration with an area poverty level of 6.1% of those under age 18 living in Kirkwood offer to provide ACT testing for ALL high school juniors at an additional cost of $17,000 to the taxpayers?  The district has just implemented "free" all day kindergarten (half day was paid for and mandated, full day was not funded nor mandated) for ALL residents, regardless if they were above that 6.1% poverty level.  This will cost the district $850,000 to implement the program with continuing costs every year. The superintendent explained in an informational meeting with citizens this was an issue of "educational equity".  Regardless if a family could pay the way for their child to attend kindergarten, it was incumbent on the taxpayers to foot the bill for this unmandated program.  I suppose "educational equity" for kindergartners should be expanded to "educational equity" for high school juniors.  Has the district considered:

  • Not all students WANT to go to college. 
  • Not all students SHOULD go to college.  
  • Not all students ARE READY to go to college. 
Why should the taxpayers foot yet another wealth redistribution program for students whose parents can well afford the $34.00 for the test?  Why should the taxpayers pay for a test some students have no desire to take?

If the administration wants ALL students to take the test and it is a financial problem for some students, then maybe the PTOs or the Kirkwood Foundation (a private fund raising group supported by citizens in the district), could raise funding for those students  unable to afford the test.  To burden taxpayers with a cost for test taking because it is "educational equity" is poor financial planning especially as the tax base is shrinking.    Kirkwood School District funding: 
  • 92.60% local, county and Prop C monies
  • 5.10% state funds 
  • 2.30% Federal funds
 KSD relies heavily on local taxes for its operating budget.  The school spends $12,200 per student, well above the average Missouri per pupil expenditure of $9,619.13. If the district is determined to provide this test for all high school juniors, it could review its expenditures in education and see if it can eke out $34.00 per pupil from this $12,200 per pupil yearly figure to accomplish its goal.

If this plan goes to the School Board for a vote, the voters must ask the existing School Board members and the candidates running for election in April their thoughts on this proposed expenditure.  The voters should also ask this administration if applications to colleges (as in Washington DC) should be considered "education equity" as well and if that's the next "free" offer from Kirkwood School District.


  1. Do have to love it-- With one of the worst (and most expensive) systems in the nation the percentage of DC High School Graduates qualified to go to college isn't that high--

    Next. most High School Grads happen to be 18 or older. They are adults who might not want to apply for college-- Sure the city can hold graduation over their heads-- but if 10,000 refuse the City's Drop Out Statistics start looking real bad--

  2. It is amazing what they drum up as excuses to spend money!


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