Knowing where to focus is often the hardest part of a really big project. With the help of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) and IFF, we now know where to target new high quality public schools in St. Louis. Public Schools in St. Louis: Place, Performance, and Promise, a study conducted by IFF and paid for by NACSA, looked at where school-aged children lived, attended school and if they had access to a performing school in their zip code.
The point of the study is to give a road map. I asked for it so we SLPS, charter school operators, and all those who care about having high quality public school options in the City can use our scarce resources to the help the greatest number of children. We are
I encourage you to read the study in detail. It will be available on the City’s home page in a few days. In the meantime, let me share with you these key findings:Only four of the 91 SLPS schools and 14 charter schools studied met Missouri State Standards in 2007-08, all of which were SLPS schools — three magnet schools and one neighborhood school. These schools serve 1,167 children or 3.5 percent of students enrolled in SLPS.
Fourteen additional SLPS schools and one charter school performed at one-half Missouri State Standards. Combined with the four schools that meet Missouri State Standards, these 19 schools provide a total of 7,818 seats of Tier 1 capacity and serve 22.9 percent of the students enrolled in public schools. An additional 26,369 performing seats are required to meet the needs of public school students.
There are 9,714 children who live in four contiguous zip codes 63106, 63108, 63113 and 63115 who do not have access to a single public school that is performing even at half state standards.
While there are some Tier 1 schools in 63116 and 63118, there are still 6,476 more children who do not have access to a performing public school in their neighborhood.
We could address the needs of 52 percent of the students in our City by bringing in quality charter schools and through innovative district schools to these six zip codes.
We have already begun. Last month, Dr. Adams opened five new Pilot Schools one in 63106. Three new charter schools opened, one in 63115. I look forward to working with Dr. Adams and other educational entrepreneurs to see to it that all children have access to a quality public school, no matter what City zip code they live in.