JEFFERSON CITY, MO (September 11, 2020)—The National Coalition for Public School Options (PSO) Missouri Chapter sent the Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) a letter today demanding action against the Kansas City Public School District (KCPS) for continuing to block families from accessing the school of their choice as guaranteed under Missouri law.
This latest letter comes on the heels of a cease and desist letter sent on August 28 by PSO to KCPS in response to the district’s ongoing efforts to hinder participation in the state’s Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program (MOCAP), a popular choice for families looking for safe and quality educational options during the pandemic.
PSO’s latest letter states, “DESE and the Board are not powerless to address a clear and ongoing violation of the education code by a district, particularly those that are directly harming parents and violating their rights. The reality is, most parents caught in the process described in these documents would not even know that their statutory rights and the education code was being violated.”
The letter summarizes the district’s violations, including:
- KCPS is requiring students interested in enrolling in a MOCAP course or program to jump through far more hoops and bureaucracy to complete the enrollment than they do for the district’s own courses and preferred alternatives.
- The district’s internal documents reveal key decision making is being driven by financial impact, not what’s best for the student.
- Undermining DESE’s authority by conducting their own analysis of whether an approved MOCAP course or program deserved to be listed.
“Families deserve choices and control over their child’s education—which is exactly what the MOCAP program was designed to provide,” said Colleen Cook, Parent Board President, PSO. “PSO is calling for DESE and Education Commissioner Vandeven to require Kansas City School District officials to do the right thing and take immediate action to correct the situation with KCPS,” continued Cook.
Read the letter here.