The challenge was seemingly simple. Over 120 local superintendents, school building administrators, executive directors, educators, and city leaders gathered at Turn the Page KC's GradNation Summit on September 1 to develop a citywide plan to address student mobility across schools and districts in the Kansas City region.
But the issue of mobility proved much more complicated than students and families just moving to different schools.
Data collected from Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as Center, Grandview, Hickman Mills, Independence, Kansas City, Liberty, North Kansas City, Park Hill, and Raytown school districts and compiled by KC AERC show that mobility is a particularly unique problem in the Kansas City metro region. With 15 separate school districts and 20+ charter school operators in Kansas City boundaries, patterns of mobility are governed not just by families exercising school choice, but by systemic issues such as poverty, homelessness, and race (Black students are 17% more likely to transfer than white students while Hispanic students are 11% less likely to transfer than white students).
These systemic factors are most apparent in Kansas City's urban core, where many individual schools experience churn rates of 70% or more before the end of September. (Churn rate is the number of transfer students into a school + number of transfers out divided by the total enrollment at the end of September).
Couple this with statistics from KC AERC that show highly-mobile students have an average 4.5% lower attendance rate than their peers, resulting in drastic consequences on academic achievement: they are only 60% as likely to be proficient in communication arts and 62% as likely to be proficient in math.
transfers in + Transfers Out