The MVC wrapper for Kendo DropDownList widget, renders input element with the selected value. If the widget is not bound then you will not be able to see the selected text. In other words if the autoBind option is set to false, then the widget will not be bound and thus will not show the selected text. In order to achieve your goal you can either set the AutoBind(true), which is the default value, or set the text and value of the widget. I am not exactly sure what is the problem with strongly-typed extension, but you can check here.
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