Letters from the week of March 26

Martin: “Do-Nothing Do-Gooders,” March 19

Please Summit

The kids in the Kansas City, Missouri, School District deserve action on education reform. Kansas City leaders have spent years developing recommendations that struggle to get traction, as noted in David Martin’s March 17 article on efforts to help the school district.

Mayor Mark Funkhouser’s plan to hold an education summit could transform this situation by hosting hard-hitting public discussions that examine recommendations, explore tradeoffs and identify priorities for action. Dozens of cities and states around the nation have found that a large-scale public process creates the momentum and political will for action on seemingly intractable issues.

A public process on education reform will allow hundreds of people to learn about the issues and efficiently come to agreement on next steps. Elected and community leaders participate and respond publicly to what they hear, ensuring a high level of transparency. The resulting mandate can be implemented through work groups created during the process.

It is time for Kansas City leaders to leverage what’s been already accomplished and host a public process to instigate action.

To find out more about the method the mayor has recommended for addressing education reform, visit Americaspeaks.org.

Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, President and Founder, AmericaSpeaks

Editor’s note: AmericaSpeaks is the democratic consulting organization that Funkhouser proposed to moderate an education summit.

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