Several weeks before a transitional board is scheduled to take control of the unaccredited St. Louis public schools and the same week that state senator Jeff Smith wins Senate approval of a measure that would require teachers in the district to maintain their proficiency, the St. Louis Board of Education will convene a special meeting (at noon today) that will consider a couple of actions that could do a great disservice to City students.
According to its published agenda, the St. Louis Board of Education will consider asking neighboring school districts not to accept City students who try to transfer in the future to an accredited school in a county school district. If the Board is successful in convincing other districts to do that, it will have successfully trapped students whose parents cannot afford private or parochial school alternatives to a public school district that has failed most of its students for more than 20 years.
And the Board will also consider buying out the contracts of many of its teachers. The Board’s plan is to offer buy-outs to district employees with more than 12 years experience. This could strip the district of many of its most skilled and innovative teachers, leaving veterans who have not been exposed to new information in decades and rookies who are too new to have developed all of the skills their craft requires. Using the public’s money to reward people who won’t be teaching in the district, rather than using it to train, evaluate, and compensate the good teachers who remain, is a cynical plan that puts district children second.