¡Adios Amato!

Superintendent Anthony Amato resigned last night after weeks of pressure from the Kansas City School Board.

Rather than write some overzealous polemic, it's important to put the news in perspective.

This is par for the course from The Kansas City School Board.

First I'd like to give a modicum of attention to concerns that were raised against Amato and answer them:

1. Some of the programs Amato tried out were pricey. Raising this issue against the guy once again demonstrates the hypocrisy and arrogance of the School Board considering that over the years this town has thrown away BILLIONS to no avail on one failed school program after the next. From "magnet schools" to fencing coaches to African drum classes the district has presided over so many failures. I like Ladysmith Black Mambazo just as much as anybody else, but there's no hard evidence that listening to it improves test scores.

2. Amato, supposedly, had a brash style. This was just propaganda. Amato actually seemed soft spoken the few times that I met him. Still, I invite anyone to go to a school board meeting and check out the culture and brashness of that group . . . Adopting to that "culture" would be a difficult task for anyone. I wouldn't deny that Amato had trouble getting along with his board, but I wouldn't fault him for it either. It's just disappointing that his attitude was always the topic of discussion and not the fact that he was making progress in slightly improving test scores.

3. Amato, allegedly, called two School Board Members bitches. - This is a tough one for me because I actually don't think there's any place for derogatory language in the office (It belongs on blogs). Just like Gloria Squitiro's "Mammy" comment, if the allegations were proven true then Amato deserved to be reprimanded. However, nobody went to the trouble to provide evidence of the allegations. Unlike Mammy-gate the slur allegedly didn't occur face to face, and I think it's appropriate to call the entire school board a bunch of beyotches considering how many BILLIONS of dollars they have wasted.

But the pressure for Amato to leave wasn't about facts or really anything he ever said. And I don't necessarily agree with the resignation, it make sense from a career standpoint but I've never liked quitters. Normally, this is the part of the post where I would assign blame to "the Black Middle Class," "The Black Power Structure" or note that the Kansas City School District is basically a "Black Middle-Class Employment Agency" And I don't really disagree with any of those statements but that's language intended to incite and inspire (Believe in your dreams!!!) and not the crux of the discussion today.

Unfortunately, the facts in this circumstance are monetary rather than racially inflammatory. Amato is out because he messed with the wrong people's money. A bounty was placed on his head when he cut funding for the LINC program. Even worse, if local reporters do their research they might uncover that Amato canceled a bunch of lucrative consulting contracts held by some of the same outspoken critics against him.

Still, none of this inspires me to get really worked up. This is business as usual for the School Board. New elections aren't going to help, new School Board members think they're going to make a difference but they aren't and any righteous indignation would be wasted.

Some people have experience in a situation like this and others don't . . . Essentially, the Kansas City School District is like a skank that a decent guy shouldn't dare to date or try to change. Think Pretty Woman or Hillary Clinton. The District has chosen it's lifestyle, it will have to deal with the consequences and anybody who gets involved will suffer the same fate. With BILLIONS wasted, an incomprehensible string of decisions to date and a slew of silly statements the district is comparable to Kansas City's Paris Hilton . . .

Her lifestyle is NEVER really gonna change and the day when she (the District) is found dead in a bathroom somewhere is inevitable.

So I'm not angry with the District, the facts might be a tad depressing but in the end the community that supports their decades of failure get what they deserve. What's more important, what I can (continue to) do, is inform anyone who crosses my path that the Kansas City School District isn't any place for kids that people actually care about . . . In particular, Latinos with any income to spare have long since escaped the clutches of the deplorable institution. My parents worked their ass off in order to insure that my siblings and I never had to endure the place. And the word has been out for years in the Latino Community, among almost every strata: "If you can get out, GET OUT!" In Spanish that sounds much nicer.

All of this reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with a former School Board Member, a Hispanic. After years of frustrating service with little progress whatsoever the politico decided not to run again . . . I asked why. The answer was plain and simple, "Tony, the District could care less about Latinos or any kind of education really. It's about power and political favors and the crooks in the Administration. Latinos need to just look somewhere else. It's one of the most dysfunctional places I've ever seen."

I was surprised by the answer for someone who had worked so diligently on behalf of the District. I then asked if there was even the slightest possibility of change, again I received another straight forward response. "There's not a chance in Hell that place will ever change."

Just starting out as a freelance reporter for a small community newspaper my youthful optimism let me ignore the comments and I didn't include them in my story. But I always remembered the conviction with which the words were uttered. This person didn't believe any of the annually circulated talk of reform or turnaround for the district and foretold that they would be in the same place despite so much effort and money.

The conversation took place nearly ten years ago.

Further Reading:

Amato resigns; KC district seeks another superintendent

Amato out, locals tout temporary replacement

Amato To Step Down As KC Superintendent

Amato Out As KCMO Schools Superintendent


Amato, Buh-Bye

Midwest Voices - Shame on the school board.

Who must go....him or them?

Tony Amato being run out of KCMO Schools?

General Blather: School's Out Forever

THE KANSAS CITY POST: Breaking up is hard to do

Please send me a link if you've posted on the topic!!!! :)


  1. Maybe it's time for the state to step in.

  2. I hate to disagree with you TKC but this is a clear case of a man who did not understand the School Board and its Administration. He was so busy trying to change things that he didn't take time to talk with all of the people involved. Like Mayor Funkhouser he couldn't seek cooperation and he didn't build a consensus. The funding issues you're talking about are good dirty laundry but it's not the real reason he was let go. He just did not fit in and the board was right to ask him to leave rather than waste time fighting.

  3. In what way is this not an oversized polemic?

  4. Amato didn't fail, it's the board its self that failed.

    That school board is populated with dumb shit politicians that care more about there own political agendas than they care about the kids and their education. Until the state steps in nothing will change

  5. Charles you lost me, help me out. Test scores were on the rise, albeit slowly. In an interview on one of the local stations the head of the school board even conceeeded to some progress by Amato. The school board put Amato in the position so he must have fit , otherwise this is further evidence of incompetance on the boards behalf. The KCSD has become a joke under the very board you are defending. It took KCSD a long time to get in the deplorable state it is in, how was Amato supposed to turn it around in such a short span of time? Lets face it, anyone who can get their kids in to another district has done so. So now the kids who need the education the most are left to languish in a district that is run by a board that really couldnt care less. The board is the problem, I hope the courts step in again and usurp the current regiem of bullies and dead beats.

  6. tony is this the thanks the black community gave the hispanics in standing behind the city manager. when you have a pres. of school board who will never hire whites which is worst of the two . a mayor who tries to bring the city in on spending or a racist school board.

  7. In what way does any of this have to do with Paris Hilton?

  8. It is a hot topic and Paris is kinda hot.

  9. Shame on the School Board is right. They had their chance to made some steady, slow progress and that wasn't good enough for them. This policy of a revolving door for Superintendents is shameful. Somebody needs to do something, either the state or voters need to replace the school board. This isn't just getting out of hand it's been a problem for as long as I can remember. Thank you for trying to do your best Mr. Amato.

  10. School Board sucks, no question about it. The State should step in.

    I no longer live in KC proper because of just this kind of BS.

  11. Amato was a fool for seeking and accepting this dead end job. Hey I want to go to work on a sinking ship!

  12. I hate to agree with such a pessimistic statement but I had the same thought myself.

    But we need people who are foolish enough to think they can change things if we ever really want to change things. lol.

  13. Damn Paris Hilton is hot. I think she can do way better than 50 Cent.

  14. More race-baiting from TKC. Why am I not surprised.

  15. it's a bit racist that you rant about racial remarks against the Funkhousers and ignore them in the next. I guess racist remarks are okay as long as it's a hispanic that is doing it. I feel sorry for you that you don't see your own racism. If a white person wrote like you they would be labeld a racist. Amato did the right thing by stepping down and we need new people to make the right changes for Kansas City Schools to move upward. You sound like one of those Republicans on the radio and you talk about things you don't really know about.

  16. Does anybody actually read this bullshit? Who cares what some blogger thinks?

  17. support kc schools you are a retard. Calling someone a bitch isnt racist, BITCH, see. So enlighten us about your vast knowledge of the school board. Do you know for example that the KCSD had had 30 plus superintenants in the last 40 years? Do you know that under Amato we were showing forward progress for the first time in a decade. Do you realize that the state is on the brink of stepping in and taking over the school district if they find that Amato being forced out was unwarranted? Do you know you are an idiot?

  18. Excellent post Tony! I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. The school board is fucked with a bunch of wannabe political hacks that are there because they couldn't get a job elsewhere. I remember when Kansas City had some of the nation's top schools (ex:Southwest High). But those days are over and those schools have either closed shop or decided that books from the 1800s are better than up-to-date ones. Great job Amato! You did what you could.

  19. I supported Amato. I think he did a good job. I wonder if their new candidate has such a good resume?

  20. Tony is such a rascist pussy. If it had been a white shcool board president firing a hispanic superintendent then his shit slinging would still be going on. But because this is a minority on minority crime he's all nice and proper. There is nothing but scandals all over this city and if someone stands up for the majority of citizens and says enough is enough he is labeled a racist. But it's okay for the black run school board to continue to line the pockets of their croonies and you say... well.. things will never change, so let's just move on to something else. God, are you such a frickin idiot biggot.

  21. It's spelled: cronies.

    If you're going to be a racist and a bigot at least try to keep up the illusion of white supremacy.

  22. Nice to see minorities fighting with other minorities. Its a sad day for Tony.

  23. They said New Orleans Public Schools would never change. Then Katrina hit. Now, they're the largest charter system in the US and they've changed for the better. There are still a lot of things broken (special ed), but I think they've turned the corner.


Post a Comment


Be percipient, be nice. Don't be a spammer. BE WELL!!!

- The Management