A recent editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers a good example of how even well-intentioned people can contribute to the continuing chaos in the St. Louis Public Schools. After some on-target observations about the current mess in the public school district — most of it derived from the good reporting being done by P-D education writer Steve Giegerich — the editorial offers up this weak-kneed solution to the Board of Education: Resign or behave.
That may have been acceptable advice in early April, but the subsequent forced resignation of Dr. Creg Williams and the disregard for his major reforms, the departures of several key staffers, the vote of no-confidence in the district by the local philanthropic community, the failure to address the district’s urgent budget problems, the controversy surrounding the accuracy of the superintendent’s report to DESE on academic matters, and the battles among the Board’s leaders — all reported by Giegerich — make the newspaper’s late November editorial “ultimatum” too little, and way too late.
It would be controversial to give up local control of the St. Louis Public Schools, but it would be plain wrong to allow the district to continue to betray the futures of thousands of students. It’s past time for a state takeover. Why not just say that?