Assessing blame for failing St. Louis schools

Monday, July 15, 2013

n 2007, the St. Louis public school system lost its accreditation. Gina Breitenfeld, who lived in St. Louis but was paying tuition to send two children to Clayton schools, asked Clayton to send the bills for her children’s tuition to the St. Louis school district. Clayton officials refused, and Breitenfeld and three other parents sued. They cited a 1993 statute that said children in unaccredited districts could transfer to schools in accredited districts, and the home school system would be responsible for covering tuition and transportation costs.

That was a bad law in two ways.

First, if a district is struggling, it is not going to be in a position to send its money and its most motivated students to another district. Second, the districts at the receiving end are likely to be overwhelmed with students. Where are they going to put them? How are they going to deal with an influx of kids from a failing district, kids who, by definition, are not up to grade level? Will there by a two-tiered system?

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