There are some good charter schools in the City of St. Louis and some poor schools. At the good schools, students are getting a free public education that will prepare them well for further studies, and for lives as citizens, workers, and parents. We need more of that, not less.
Last year, I began working with charter school programs across the country asking their educators to bring their best ideas to St. Louis. My office designed an application and review process that will help me determine which quality schools to support. And I pledged to do whatever I could to bring them here. Already, KIPP — a nationally lauded program — has announced plans to move here.
But, the very idea of more and better educational choices for students and their families continues to chagrin some. A local state representative has proposed a bill in Jefferson City that would allow the continued expansion of charter schools in Kansas City, but retard their growth in St. Louis. This disparate treatment suggests that something other than a pure interest in the education of children is probably at play here.
I don’t know how many new charter schools there ought to be in St. Louis, but I do know that every new, quality public school we see open in our City is one more than we had yesterday. That is a good thing for students and for our City.