KCPT’s Education Weekly Roundup looks at major education headlines and stories you may have missed from around the web.
Before Congress went on break for its summer recess last week, they reached a compromise on student loan interest rates. Until now, Congress fixed interest rates every year. The new bill, which comes after several months of bickering, ties student loan interest rates to financial markets.
“Undergraduates this fall would borrow at a 3.9 percent interest rate for subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans. Graduate students would have access to loans at 5.4 percent, and parents would borrow at 6.4 percent. The rates would be locked in for that year’s loan, but each year’s loan could be more expensive than the last. Rates would rise as the economy picks up and it becomes more expensive for the government to borrow money.”
Read the full story from Education Week.
Missouri state law requires that when a school district loses accreditation, the unaccredited school district must pay the tuition for students that transfer to a neighboring accredited district. The school transfer process is by no means a simple transaction. In fact, a recent New York Times article focuses on how race and social perceptions are affecting school transfers in Missouri.
“When the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a law in June allowing students from failing school districts to transfer to good ones, Harriett Gladney saw a path to a better education for her 9-year-old daughter.”
“But then she watched television news clips from a town hall meeting for the Francis Howell School District, the predominantly white district here that her daughter’s mostly black district, Normandy, had chosen as a transfer site. Normandy, in neighboring St. Louis County, has one of the worst disciplinary rates in the state, and Francis Howell parents angrily protested the transfer of Normandy students across the county line, some yelling that their children could be stabbed and that the district’s academic standards would slip.”
On the other side of the state, the transfer process is still stalled for students in the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools. A lawsuit filed in 2011 by five suburban school districts (Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown) challenging the state’s transfer statue is still pending.
Although it’s impossible to predict what parent and community reactions will be if the Missouri Supreme Court rules against the KC area districts, there are demographic parallels between the schools in both cities.
“More than half of the 28 public school districts — excluding charter and specialty districts — in the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County combined are at least 75 percent black or white.”
With the exception of Raytown, the suburban school districts are between 64 and 77 percent white, while only about 9 percent of students in Kansas City Public Schools are white. Below is the 2013 demographic data for Kansas City Public Schools, Blue Springs, Independence, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City, Raytown and the state as a whole.