Thousands of City kids — black and white — live in safe neighborhoods, attend good schools, and will have great futures.
Others do not. They will not finish school; and they will not find good jobs. At ten years old — fifteen years old, seventeen years old — they are already disconnected from our community.
And, we want them back. They are our future and responsibility.
I have met with new SLPS superintendent, Dr. Creg Williams. I like him — and I think he is doing the right things.
I have also met with Archbishop Raymond Burke about keeping as many parochial schools open as the parishes can afford, and to consolidate weak schools to increase the viability of all parochial schools.
I am now working with community groups and businesses to create more, and better charter schools in the City; and to increase the number of private schools.
I support charter schools for the City of St. Louis. At my request, the General Assembly recently considered legislation that will allow us to create a workforce charter school in Downtown. The same legislation includes a provision that will allow private universities to sponsor charters.
The promises made by charter schools are, first, an immediate improvement for their own students, followed by a longer-term improvement for the traditional public school district with which they compete.
But, not every charter school is a success. And substituting one kind of underachieving schools for another is really not an educational reform. If a charter school is so poorly managed that its students are not learning better or are not safer, it is the responsibility of parents; charter school administrators and teachers; and the charter sponsors to make changes. And, if changes are not made, the charter should be revoked.
At the end of this year, I want to have increased the number of good choices — public, parochial, charter, and private — that City parents have for their kids. Without high school diplomas and the skills that come with them, no child can succeed in today’s world.