In 2005, I opined that E.H. Lyle, a charter school founded by local members of a prominent national sorority, had the potential to do good things for kids in St. Louis. With an outstanding sponsor in Missouri Baptist University’s education department and an economically diverse student population that included the kids of City employees, firefighters, and police officers, E.H. Lyle could have been a star. Instead, disputes with its management company and internal squabbling on its board squandered much of its potential and wasted time and money.
As I have written here before, a good thing about public charter schools is that the good ones can thrive, and the bad ones can be closed. Even as several promising new charter schools I have encouraged are getting ready to open, Missouri Baptist University and Missouri University Science and Technology have with my strong encouragement told the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that they are withdrawing their support of EH Lyle and Paideia Academy (another under-performing charter school).
As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said last week: the rule of charter schools must be good ones open; bad ones close. Otherwise, how would charter schools really be any different from the status quo?