A Charter School for Normandy?
The Normandy School District might be getting its first charter school. That is, unless a coterie of local functionaries scupper the plan. The Post-Dispatch has all of the details.
Two paragraphs in the Post-Dispatch story are worth highlighting:
Normandy schools have not been fully accredited for the last decade and are under the control of the Missouri Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Starting in 2013, the district paid tuition and transportation for about 1,000 students to transfer to higher-performing districts, as allowed under state law. The district nearly went bankrupt after spending $35 million on the transfer program. It returned to provisional accreditation in 2017, effectively ending the transfer program.
The district’s test scores still rank as lowest in the state, with 15% of students proficient in English and 7% proficient in math in 2019. There have been recent improvements, including the graduation rate at Normandy High rising from 53% in 2013 to 78% in 2019.
Families are already voting with their feet. Normandy has been shedding students, either through the transfer program or now just the old fashioned way (the Post-Dispatch reports elsewhere in the story that enrollment in the district is down 316 students, or 11 percent, this school year).
It is the school board of this district that approved a resolution last month expressing its “complete discontentment” with the Missouri Charter School Commission’s process of soliciting and developing a charter school in the district, as the board wanted to be included more in the process. Why on earth should a district that has manifestly failed to educate its students or even keep its financial house in order have any say on a new school that is coming in to try and do better? Lunacy.
And it is the civic leaders quoted in the story who believe that this district should have a monopoly on education provision within the boundaries of the Normandy School District. Also lunacy.
The question has to be asked of these leaders: How can you, in good conscience, look into the eyes of the children of Normandy and tell them that they don’t deserve a different option? Why must they stay tethered to a district that has been foundering for longer than they have been alive? Would you accept this for your own children?