Before the accomplishments of good students, dedicated teachers, concerned parents, supportive taxpayers, and generous businesses are lost in a forest of pointing fingers during next year’s campaign for two seats on the St. Louis Board of Education, remember a few things.
Some test scores for the District’s youngest students show encouraging improvement; most test scores for the district’s older students do not.
Some of the state’s best schools, students, teachers, administrators, and athletes are in the St. Louis Public School District. Some of the most disappointing schools are, too.
The District is much better off financially today than it was when institutional reform began almost 3 years ago.
There are now a promising new superintendent and a top-flight curriculum in place.
Charter schools, independent public schools, are starting to show promise. There are some terrible charter schools, but others are doing things in character-building, parental involvement, discipline, student evaluation, facilities management, budgeting, attendance policies, teacher recruiting, and curriculum development that should be lessons for all St. Louis public schools.
One suggestion: The local newspaper needs a permanent, full-time reporter covering public education - good and bad elements - in the City. Transfers, resignations, and retirements at the newspaper have left that important beat without any institutional memory or much experience. As a result, most taxpayers, legislators, voters, and City parents end up reading about the district as if it were a highway - mentioned only in the event of occasional crashes and jams.