Category Archives: KC Star

When Math Isn’t About Math

Missouri Colleges Examine Math Requirements

I remember after taking (and failing) Introduction to Algebra for like the sixth time, I had a full breakdown. I mean, I didn’t go to work or school for like an entire week. Every dream I had for myself slipped away because they all hinged on me successfully completing three semesters of algebra. I spent that week thinking to myself, “This is it. This is my life. It will never be any more than what it is right now. I’ll never be the person that I know I can be. Never.”

College algebra has been the general education math requirement for graduation for decades. For many students, that’s also meant sitting through remedial math, or taking algebra two or three times – Missouri could offer options to college algebra more relevant to students’ majors | The Kansas City Star.

I understand the critical thinking that math offers. I know how to look at a large complex problem and break it down into smaller components, gather my like terms, do my simple order of operations, and solve. I can do that and I use that math skill every day. But there’s no way to measure that math skill for someone like me. People think I hate math but I rather admire its logic (except for when previously established intransigent rules suddenly have no meaning). I may not be calculating the path to Pluto but I know how to tip appropriately. I know figure out if a BOGO Sale is really a sale. I know how to balance my bank account. I know how to pay my bills.

A committee appointed by the Missouri Department of Higher Education is recommending that two- and four-year public schools that require algebra instead give students the option of taking a class in statistics or another math subject more relevant to their field..

If the KC Star article was about reading or writing, I’d be sad because reading and writing are such joys for me. Yet, I also know that for some people reading is their math. Writing is their math. Public speaking is their math. If there are people out there who are living what they know for them is a meager life, a life short of their dreams, simply because of reading or speech or math, then we’ve got do to what we can to help them. That’s what college is all about.

“Students have been told, ‘You don’t think mathematically,’ because they struggle with algebra, but algebra is just one small aspect of mathematics.” 


Comments Off on When Math Isn’t About Math

Filed under Diversity, JCCC, KC Star, NEWS

JCCC Trustees Select Replacement Trustee (video)

Board of Trustees Special Meeting – Sept. 26

Trustees select Top Four Candidates


Board of Trustee Special Meeting – Oct 1

Trustees Interview Candidates, Select Replacement

The board was divided over which candidate to appoint for the vacant seat. Wolf didn’t survive an initial vote. It then took three more ballots for the board to reach a majority of votes for Drummond.

In the final vote, the trustees voted 5-1 to appoint Drummond to the board, with Gerald Lee Cross Jr. casting the dissenting vote.

via Familiar face returns to Johnson County Community College board.

Comments Off on JCCC Trustees Select Replacement Trustee (video)

Filed under JCCC, Kansas, KC Star, NEWS, Trustees, YouTube

JCCC Trustee Candidate Forum

JCCC and the League of Women Voters presented a Trustee Candidate Forum 7 p.m. Friday, March 22 in GEB 137.

Five of the six candidates participated in the forum. Participants included: Jerry Cook, Lee Cross,  Melody Rayl, Stephanie Sharp, and Richard Schroder.  Robert Drummond was unable to attend. Dave Helling, multimedia reporter and columnist for The Kansas City Star, moderated.

In addition to his prepared questions, Helling also presented questions submitted by the audience.

Thanks to Sunflower Brew podcast for the video

Part 1:

Part 2:

Comments Off on JCCC Trustee Candidate Forum

Filed under budget, JCCC, Kansas, KC Star, NEWS, Trustees, YouTube

Speculation and Support for Missing JCCC Student Aisha Khan

#FindAisha Day 5: 

Aisha Khan and her last known location.

Aisha Khan and her last known location: outdoor study area at the University of Kansas' Edwards Campus

Today there was another organized search for Aisha Khan who has been missing since December 16.

A message on the Help Find Aisha Khan facebook page served to help coordinate the search. Yet it also expressed concerns about letting speculation detract from the search for the missing Johnson County Community College student.

“Please meet at the Clarion Hotel on 7000 W 108th St (next to the Metcalf 435 overpass) in Overland Park at 1PM,” the message read.

“Also, as stated before, there will be absolutely no speculation, accusation or negative comments tolerated on this page,” the message continued. “It was made strictly to mobilize people in this effort to find Aisha and to garner positivity for the Khan family.

“All negative comments will be deleted and commenters will be banned from the page. Please, let’s remember that we need positivity more than anything at the moment. Thank You.”

Speculation has also been at play in the coverage of Aisha by the media as presented in the segment on Nancy Grace:

Relative says missing college student was not in “forced” marriage

The cousin of a Kansas college student who vanished last Friday said that she was not “forced” into her marriage earlier this year.

“They’ve always liked each other and there was no forced marriage here,” Farouk Sheikh told HLN’s Nancy Grace on Wednesday.

via Relative says missing college student was not in “forced” marriage – Nancy Grace – Blogs.

The Facebook page administrator has urged it’s 29,000 supporters to focus on ways of expanding the search and keeping Aisha in the news.

“We have people coming in and out to pick up the new fliers that we are distributing at key locations,” the message read. “Please come to the Clarion Hotel located at 7000 W 108th St (next to the Metcalf 435 overpass) in Overland Park to pick up a stack of fliers plus get assigned a distribution area. We ask for the help of anyone and everyone who is available.”

In addition to flier distribution, the organizers of the search made a plea for needed supplies including: ponchos, gloves, umbrellas, flashlights, staplers, tape, tacks, paper, pencils.

“Anything that you might think we would need would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.”


Watch News Reports on the #FindAisha playlist

If you know of a video not on the list, let me know and I’ll add it.


Support the search for Aisha:

Twitter: #FindAisha

Facebook: Help Find Aisha Khan

Comments Off on Speculation and Support for Missing JCCC Student Aisha Khan

Filed under facebook, JCCC, Kansas, KC Star, NEWS, twitter, YouTube

JCCC Backpack Journalism

Dave Helling, The Kansas City Star, and Jana Corrie, KMBC 9, talk to students at JCCC.

Comments Off on JCCC Backpack Journalism

Filed under facebook, JCCC, Kansas, KC Star, NEWS, The Ledger, twitter

JCCC Harassment Scandal Goes Public

Walking on the Ledge

How I Killed Camelot

Carlsen JCCC

KMBC 9 news story on JCCC scandal

Five years ago today The Campus Ledger published my story “Was it a Complaint?”

After posting my recorded log describing the day of Carlsen’s interview, I wanted to see what my log had recorded for the day the story was published.

I remember it as a very exhausting day. Kevin Mimms [a longtime Ledger reporter and editor] and I stayed up all night in The Ledger office. We wanted to be on hand if, for some reason, the printer had problems and needed us to send it again to the FTP server. I was also concerned that I might get a call from the printer saying JCCC ordered them to cancel the print.

For some reason I didn’t write much about that day but rather recount a few events from the previous night as I prepared the story. I literally wrote it at the last moment. I didn’t want to do that way but once I had my interview with Carlsen, the story was like a river. It took everything I had just keep up with the moment-by-moment changes and to try to figure out if the changes affected the initial story I was trying to tell.

I remember when the paper was finally delivered, I loaded up a flatbed cart so I fill The Ledger bins around campus. As soon as I wheeled the cart out of the COM elevator, people started grabbing it. The papers were still bound with string — but that didnt matter. People grabbed it even if it meant that they’d get a torn copy. It was exciting and scary. I remember my eyes getting watery as I cut the string ties. I stood back and watched people take handfuls of the paper and I cried. I knew they were taking a copies for those employees who, for whatever reason, were no longer at JCCC.

I admit, I took special joy in filling the bin outside the president’s office near the cement staircase. I filled that particular bin probably five or six times that day.

My account of that day also includes the moment I met Benjamin Hodge for the first time.

Continue reading

Comments Off on JCCC Harassment Scandal Goes Public

Filed under JCCC, Kansas, KC Star, The Ledger, Trustees

The Day That Changed JCCC

Walking on the Ledge

Notes on a Scandal

Five years ago today I walked into Charles J. Carlsen’s office with a reporter’s notebook, recorder, and a folder full of documents. I ask the then president of Johnson County Community College if he sexually harassed an employee.

JCCC Carlsen

I wasn’t scared. I passed scared 13 months earlier when I first learned of the allegations. I was terrified — terrified, but focused.

At some point I may post the audio recording of my meeting that included Carlsen; Susan Lindahl, vice president of College Relations and Strategic Initiatives; and Anne Chrisitansen-Bullers, adviser of The Campus Ledger.

I kept a log of that time just in case I found myself in court. On this fifth anniversary of that meeting, I want to share an edited version of that day’s entry. I edited it because during my 13-month investigation into the allegations, I spoke with many brave JCCC employees. Because of their bravery, I promised to hold certain information private.

This edited version is not an attempt to reframe history but rather an attempt to continue honoring my promise. Continue reading


Filed under JCCC, Kansas, KC Star, Latino Reporter, NEWS, The Ledger, Trustees, Walking on the Ledge