JEFFERSON CITY, MO (August 28, 2020) — The National Coalition for Public School Options (PSO) Missouri Chapter sent the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) a cease and desist letter demanding that the district immediately stop violating parent’s rights in its effort to block families from accessing the school of their choice as guaranteed under Missouri law.
PSO is prepared to pursue further litigation if the district continues to fail to continue violating state law in its implementation of the Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program (MOCAP).
PSO’s letter states, “The result of these ongoing violations is that Kansas City families and students are being actively denied their rights to access the virtual learning courses or programs that best meet the needs of their family, as guaranteed by Missouri law. At anytime this would be a serious infringement. In the midst of the Covid pandemic, these violations are all the more unconscionable and downright dangerous.”
The letter comes on the heels of new evidence that sheds light on the district’s actions to deny families their rights, including:
- The district 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 law requires that the enrollment for any MOCAP course or program be “substantially similar to the typical process the district utilizes.” This is clearly not the case.
- Key decision making is being driven by financial impact, not what’s best for the student. Kansas City school officials calculated the anticipated financial impact on the district of implement the law properly, and has used this information to determine its compliance with MOCAP. This is in violation of state law as MOCAP requires decision-making to be made based solely on the “best educational interest of the student.”
- Undermining the authority of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) by requiring families to prove statutory compliance by courses and programs approved by DESE and operated with Missouri school districts.
“MOCAP was not intended to diminish the public school system in Missouri, it was designed to give parents choice and control over their child’s educational future,” said Colleen Cook, Parent Board President, PSO. “Education is more important than ever, and it’s disheartening to see a school district undermine parents to fulfill their own bottom line.”
“This letter explains that MOCAP requires Missouri families to be fully informed that they have choice in their child’s education, and PSO is prepared to ensure every family has the opportunity to make that decision and freely exercise their rights,” continued Cook.