Just about everyone living in the St. Louis region knows that the St. Louis City Public School District has a reputation for doing a poor job of educating their students.
In March of 2007, the Missouri Department of Education voted to strip the only public school district in St. Louis City of their accreditation after years of ineffective leadership and poor student performance. The result was the creation of 3 person government appointed board with one appointment each by the Missouri governor, St. Louis City major and alderman president.
Controversy and protests followed, and money was raised by parents and residents to fight the decision.
The fight ended on December 16, 2008.
The Missouri Supreme Court upheld the state’s right to remove the power from the elected school board for unaccredited schools.
I’m not taking a position on if the state should have removed the board from power or not. I don’t live in the St. Louis City and don’t have kids in the schools.
I do know that for years the elected school leadership has not met the standards for educating the city’s children that every other district in the state manages to do (except for Wellston School District, the only other district in the state with unaccredited status).
Yes…there are some great city schools. The city has 24 magnet schools, charter schools, and some successful individual schools. Still, with over 27,000 students enrolled in 84 schools, the majority of kids are not getting the education they deserve.
Take a look at the statistics below comparing the St. Louis City schools to Missouri averages and to the other largest districts in the area.
Want to know the numbers for your school district? Visit the Dept of Education site and click on the school Report Card.
Of course, the City does have some challenges that the other districts don’t have. Poverty is a big one.
The percentage of children eligible for free or reduced school lunches in St. Louis City schools is 71.9%. Compare that to Missouri’s rate of 42.1% and the other large districts:
- Ferguson-Florrisant – 62.7%
- Fort Zumwalt – 13.9%
- Francis Howell – 11.1%
- Hazelwood – 46.1%
- Mehlville – 19.7%
- Parkway – 17%
- Rockwood – 13%
- Wentzville – 27.1%
Still, there are other districts in the county with the same challenges as the SLPS district that are successfully educating their children. Now that the challenges to the legality of the appointed board are over, I’m hoping that sweeping changes will be made to turn this school district around.
Without good public schools, the city will never reach its potential.