Published on LinkedIn February 5, 2017
There are many reasons to live in the Paris of the Plains; cost of living, beautiful parks, plenty of space, and Arts that rival larger cities. Kansas City is an ideal location for growing families. However, for the last 30 years, there has been one huge boulder of a problem within its urban core; the Kansas City Missouri School District. Due to the revolving door of superintendents, careless spending, and low test scores, the school district has had a bad reputation for numerous years.
In its heyday of the early 1970's, the Kansas City Missouri School District housed a large African-American population with schools that were busting at the seams with students. At that time, most African-American families lived within the urban core and black communities were filled with hard working families.
As the school system deteriorated and real estate opportunities began to open for minorities to purchase homes in surrounding suburbs, African-Americans began the mass exodus of leaving the urban core for greener pastures. School districts like Hickman Mills, Raytown, and North Kansas City began to grow exponentially.
The golden age of the suburbs brought African-Americans in droves to outlying areas leaving those remaining within the urban core to deal with failing schools, crime, and drugs. Homes within the core were being taken by the city if a home was considered a "drug house". Those homes were later boarded up or demolished leaving entire city blocks full of uninhabited homes.
As the city looks to turn the corner by building up its downtown and schools within the core beginning to rebound to accredidation; the inner city of Kansas City has become precious land. LandTrust has gobbled up abandoned properties along with wealthy businessmen to sale homes to gain huge profits. With this growing trend, many "well-to-do" suburbanites are selling their homes for the "urban scheik" city that many African-Americans gave away for pennies on the dollar.
I sometimes wonder what would it have been like if our community would have stayed within our own community. Would it have taken 30 years to get our schools back on track? Would Blue Springs win countless football titles and Ray South win countless basketball titles without the help of those student athletes whose families uprooted from the urban core?
As I look at my "suburbafied" sons that get disgusted with me everytime I tell them that I am looking to buy a home within the urban core, I wonder if I should have raised them within the city limits. Now my sons did get a top notch public school education but I often wonder if they really got what they needed to be successful in a country who's racial timebomb is ticking.