Charter school expansion on the table again in Missouri
Carmen Ward’s teenage son Paul was diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities at the age of five.
Paul bounced around public and private elementary schools in St. Louis for years, but it wasn’t until he reached fifth grade that Ward found somewhere that met her son’s special educational needs: KIPP St. Louis Public Schools, part of a national nonprofit network of public charter schools.
Ward was able to enroll her son there because St. Louis is one of two cities in Missouri where charter schools can operate, Kansas City being the other. There is a lot of opposition to expanding charter schools beyond those borders for many reasons, including fear of financial hardship for public school districts and lack of accountability.