Author

Maria Benevento

Maria Benevento

Maria Benevento is the education reporter at The Kansas City Beacon. She is a Report for America corps member.

Kansas City’s historic northeast pushes back against proposed school closures

By: - November 29, 2022

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon.  Gregg Lombardi estimates the Lykins neighborhood in northeast Kansas City is on track to win the battle against blight by next year. The Lykins Neighborhood Association and Neighborhood Legal Support of Kansas City, both of which Lombardi directs, have been working to support residents and make abandoned homes […]

Proposal to close 10 schools in Kansas City, improve academics hinges on community support

By: - October 17, 2022

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon.  Kansas City Public Schools is proposing a far-reaching reorganization that would close 10 schools, build or expand others and — leaders say — free up funds for academic goals. But the district knows that the plan could tank without community support. Disgruntled families could leave. […]

Schools for sale: What happens to Kansas City Public Schools buildings after they close

By: - July 11, 2022

This story was originally published by The Kansas City Beacon.  Askew Elementary School has been vacant for more than a decade. The inside shows signs of the nearly 100-year-old building’s age and long disuse. Walls are peeling, debris litters the floor and some classroom ceiling panels have fallen. To enter the former school for a July […]

William Jewell has two groups doing slavery research. Some say that’s a problem

By: - May 4, 2022

This story was originally published by The Kansas City Beacon.  William Jewell College brands itself as “The Critical Thinking College.” Three “key questions” are central to the curriculum of the Liberty, Missouri, institution: What is real? What can we know? How should we live? But as a student- and faculty-led group called the Slavery, Memory and Justice Project applied critical […]

Student Wearing Mask in Classroom

More than 120 K-12 education bills already filed for 2022 Missouri legislative session

By: - December 20, 2021

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon. During the past year, concerns about COVID policies, critical race theory and controversial books have highlighted tensions in public education. In addition, the pandemic has exacerbated teacher shortages and increased calls for “school choice” for families — which could include charter schools, virtual schools or state […]

Scholarships, guns, teaching about racism: Missouri higher education bills to watch

By: - December 17, 2021

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon. Expanding state financial aid programs, banning COVID-19 vaccine requirements on campus, and restricting lessons about racism and sexism are just some of the topics of higher education laws being proposed in the Missouri legislature. The next legislative session starts Jan. 5, but representatives and senators  […]

Student Wearing Mask in Classroom

Can you live on retirement benefits as a Kansas or Missouri teacher? It depends

By: - October 18, 2021

This story was first published by The Kansas City Beacon. As local school systems are dealing with a teacher shortage, a new report ranks Missouri and Kansas in the bottom half of the pack nationally when it comes to state educator retirement programs. But a teachers union representative and the director of Missouri’s retirement program […]