NORMAN — In the 1943 musical “Oklahoma,” the most famous song was “Kansas City” with the tag line: “Everything’s up to date in Kansas City.” But, unfortunately that is no longer true. Kansas City has fallen on hard times.
Its public schools are unaccredited. The position of Superintendent of Schools has become a revolving door which makes certain that no one lasts more than two years in this position. The school board is dysfunctional and parents still sending their kids to Kansas City schools are almost guilty of child abuse.
Teenagers like to gather on Friday and Saturday nights in Kansas City’s famed Plaza area. The Plaza, featuring Spanish architecture, was the country’s first outdoor mall and architectually it is a sight to see. At Christmas time, more than 75 miles of Christmas lights decorate it. The teenagers who gather in the Plaza on weekends have nothing else to do and their gathering and mischief scares Plaza customers and shop owners. Mayor Sly James has tried to combat this mayhem but he is hindered by his own son who has repeatedly been stopped by police for driving while intoxicated.
Everything is definitely not up to date in Kansas City but everything is up to date in Norman, Oklahoma. Norman is home to the University of Oklahoma and its famed Oklahoma Sooners football team.
The Superintendent of Schools since 2000 has been Dr. Joe Siano and under his leadership, the graduation rate from Norman’s two big high schools, Norman North High School and Norman High School is 99.2 percent.
On February 11, 2014, the people of Norman passed a $126 million school bond issue with 84 percent voting in support of it.
In Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas, state legislatures have been cutting all school budgets but in Norman, concerned parents have taken concrete steps to support their schools. 2014 is the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Norman Public Schools Foundation. Started in 1984, 78 people each donated $1,000 to the Norman Public Schools Foundation.