Steven Bernstetter

The SLPS have again broken through to the international media. The Economist has featured an article about the ongoing troubles with SLPS, and, not surprisingly, the diagnosis isn't good. The most salient point in the article is this:

St Louis has made huge progress in attracting a new generation of young professionals to its downtown area, building new business developments and installing new infrastructure. The fiasco in its schools puts all that in jeopardy.

Attracting young professionals is hard enough for any city; I know because I am such a young professional (I use that term quite loosely), and am constantly encouraged by friends living elsewhere to leave this humble midwestern town for some place, well, a little more hip. But regardless of how "hip" St. Louis may be, whatever young professionals it does manage to attract won't stick around if they can't get a decent education for their children. Instead, those young professionals will do what generations of young Saint Louis professionals have done before them: LEAVE. Go to the suburbs, or the exurbs, or some other state. Convincing those young professionals to stay in St. Louis and invest in its education infrastructure could help bring SLPS out of purgatory. Unfortunately, no sane person will invest in a poorly managed and possibly corrupt system. As the Economist notes:

The district, which in the past five years has turned a $52m surplus into a $24.5m deficit, has already closed schools, cut services and squeezed spending hard. But as its critics point out, the elected school board still found plenty of money for junkets and public relations.

Hopefully the state takeover will lead to some positive change, and produce a school district that those young professionals will at least be willing to take a chance on. Nothing less than the future prosperity of this once world class city depends on it.

About the Author

Steven Bernstetter