I believe that the last best hope for the tens of thousands students enrolled in the City’s public school district is a change of governance. That assessment is the same one reached by majorities of every group of major stakeholders - parents, teachers, taxpayers, administrators - surveyed recently by the state advisory committee that is studying the district’s financial and academic status.
Over the past several years, the district has seen a half dozen new superintendents, several slates of new elected school board members, a couple of major new achievement plans, and a new teachers contract. None of these things has done much to change the district’s direction.
Were public education an optional urban amenity rather than a fundamental civic responsibility, we could simply ignore its failure here. But, offering a great, safe, free education to every child who wants one is part of the City’s (and the state’s) most solemn trusts with their taxpayers. We can’t ignore the obvious fact that the St. Louis Public School District is failing the vast majority of its students. It is past time for a new direction.
Almost everyone agrees.