The Next Big Thing
The state-appointed Special Administrative Board that currently oversees St. Louis’ unaccredited public school district will be announcing today a new plan to improve student performance in the city’s schools. The plan appears to include efforts to close underutilized facilities and to increase the accountability of teachers and principals for their students’ academic performance, among dozens of other proposals.
Even if the board manages to implement these changes effectively, the solutions proposed seem to avoid the most direct solution: Let parents choose which schools their children will attend. Despite the district’s lack of accreditation, there are some good public schools in St. Louis — and parents who pay taxes to support them ought to have at least a chance to send their children to those schools!
The parents will recognize (far better than the district’s bureaucrats) which principals and teachers are doing the best work for their children. If any given school cannot retain a critical mass of its students, the district can close that facility and focus on — and perhaps increase capacity at — the schools with excess parental demand. In addition to offering parents the best chance to find schools that will work best for their children, giving parents this sort of opportunity means that the district won’t have to spend nearly as much money paying “experts” to come in and decide which teachers, principals, and schools are effective and which should be fired/closed.