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Educators Gather in Missouri to Address Failure, Fixes

Kansas City, like most major cities, has grappled with how to improve its K-12 education system.  (David Wilson/Flickr)
Kansas City, like most major cities, has grappled with how to improve its K-12 education system. (David Wilson/Flickr)
May 22, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Focusing on your biggest failures isn't a comfortable task, but education experts from across the United States converge on Kansas City Monday to do just that.

The Failures to Fixes conference has drawn leaders in education reform from across the country, including from Harvard, Stanford and the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

Michael McShane, director of education policy at the Show-Me Institute, says the conference will focus on a number of issues, including the No Child Left Behind Act and test-based teacher evaluations.

"Unfortunately, too often in education folks are afraid to admit when something hasn't gone well,” he states. “You know, there are political ramifications, there are philanthropic ramifications."

McShane says the irony is that anyone who has spent a day in the classroom knows that failure is an essential part of learning.

The Failures to Fixes conference comes at a time scrutiny is high regarding the effectiveness and direction of American schools.

McShane says the Failures to Fixes conference shouldn't be mistaken for an exercise in finger pointing. It's about helping educators reach a common goal.

"So rather than making every conversation some big referendum on whether x, y, or z idea is good or bad, we can talk about, 'Well, what about the particular implementation of this policy?’” he states. “’What worked there? What didn't work there?'"

McShane says even the value of experts is brought into question at the conference. The first presentation is titled, "The Limits of Expertise."

Kevin Patrick Allen, Public News Service - MO