Today, I had a chance to meet the three candidates for St. Louis school superintendent. You should, too, at a 5:30 p.m. forum tonight at Vashon High School, 3035 Cass Avenue.
I asked them about their vision and their ideas to turn around the district. I told them that I support the St. Louis Public School District and will do my part to help it succeed.
The District has two primary challenges, which are related. First, the District must dramatically improve the quality of education provided to most of its students. (Yes, there are success stories and some good schools, but there are also way too few of both.) Second, the district must win over (win back?) families who have chosen to educate their children somewhere else - parochial schools, public charter schools, or St. Louis county schools.
I told the candidates that we cannot (and should not) force City families to send their children to failing schools. If the SLPS under any of these candidates hopes to improve its budget situation, it must convince more parents to choose District schools over other alternatives. Doing that will necessarily mean more change, and better schools.
I hope the board selects the candidate who understands that best.