To the Editor:
I was dismayed by the headline and tone of the post “Student Transfers Will Likely Bankrupt Missouri District” that recently appeared in the District Dossier blog (edweek.org, Aug. 5, 2013). I have worked as a teacher and a community developer and have been the state policy director of the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri for nearly a decade in the St. Louis region.
I can assure you that the students choosing to transfer out of the failed Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts are not at fault for their districts’ financial troubles.
A horrific combination of low expectations, horrendously poor academic outcomes, financial mismanagement, an astounding lack of innovation, poor customer service, and a culture that is not student-centered in the least has led to the precarious and uncertain futures that await both these districts.
When an organization opens its doors and approximately 25 percent of those it serves go running out looking for another option, the problems are both organizational and systemic. As a result, the future bankruptcy or insolvency or reorganization should not be blamed on the people who exercised their right to go elsewhere, but on the administrators and school board members who let it get so bad to begin with.
State Policy Director
Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri
St. Louis, Mo.
A version of this article appeared in the August 28, 2013 edition of Education Week as It’s Officials, Not Students, At Fault in Missouri Woes