Former Kansas City students get the chance to sound off on Kansas City schools

Students share perspective on KC schools

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Another debate over the future of Kansas City Public Schools pulled in a large crowd Tuesday night.

It was a different debate on the University of Missouri - Kansas City campus than any before because it's the first time former Kansas City students got the chance to talk about what they think will get the district back in track.

There were direct questions and passionate answers from three students who graduated from Kansas City schools.

Three members of Debate KC argued about what's best for the hundreds of students enrolled in Kansas City Public Schools.

Marcus Leach, a Central High School alumnus, is currently getting a masters after graduating from Howard Law School.

He argued to keep a community board in place.

"We have been researching this since we have been students in the district. A lot of the failures that we see are a result of larger social economic issues that I believe have not been addressed," explained Leach.

Latoya Williams, a Lincoln Prep graduate, is now a senior at Emporia University. She argued for mayoral control.

And Ryan Walsh who graduated from Central is also a senior at Emporia University. He argued for a state takeover.

In the audience, current students listened.

"We can't let, I guess, bureaucratic quarrels taint the profession of our school district," said Corey Fisher, a Lincoln Prep junior. He said he wants the district to address the revolving superintendent issue.

The district lost state accreditation at the beginning of the year.

NBC Action News asked the students if anything changed in the classroom.

Jared Freemon, also a junior of Lincoln Prep, wants to regain state accreditation. He said since the district was stripped of state approval at the first of the year, he thinks students are working ever harder.

"I actually believe that we have gotten better to try and meet the standards so we have tried to work extra hard so the school district can be seen as proficient," said Freemon.

Students said they have heard from so many adults about the problems in KC schools, they were relieved to hear from those who actually got their education in the district.

Kansas City is also getting national attention on the issue. A reporter and producer from NPR was at the debate reporting on the state of Kansas City Public Schools.

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