A story in Sunday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch confirmed with data what some of us have begun hearing from our friends and neighbors: the steady development of charter schools — free, public schools controlled by the state, not the elected St. Louis Board of Education — has begun to offer City parents more good educational choices for their children.
New students are flocking to St. Louis charter schools by the busload.
But they’re also driving up one-by-one in the sedans and hatchbacks of mainstream America. They are coming from county schools as they transplant to the city, from city schools as parents throw up their hands in frustration, and even from religious schools, as parishes die around them.
The numbers are small, anywhere from a dozen to a couple hundred per school each year, according to state data. But they show a clear trend. In certain higher-performing charter schools, free and reduced-price lunch counts — education’s measure of poverty — are dropping.
Middle-class students are enrolling in charter schools.As the reporter pointed out, the numbers are modest: there are still six times as many public students in the SLPS as in the charter schools. But, the trending is clear.
There are good and bad schools of all sorts — SLPS, charter, private, and parochial. But, giving parents more good educational choices is one of keys to the City’s growth.