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School Vouchers Worth Considering in St. Louis

I may be about to lose my liberal credentials but here it goes, I think we should consider school vouchers in St. Louis. Before you scroll down to tell me I’m either insane or to thank me please continue reading.

Like many of you I’ve thought of school vouchers as an evil plot by the religious right to get us to help fund the “education” of a new crop Pat Robertsons. But my perspective has changed of late and it all began on a bus trip to New Town at St. Charles.

By pure luck the guest of honor for this event, John Norquist, sat next to me to and from so we were able to talk about many things. Norquist is a former Wisconsin State Rep., former Mayor of Milwaukee and is currently serving as the CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). Among the many things we discussed was school choice.

When it came up I was wondering if he was some religious nut but I didn’t get that impression from him. Then he made a statement which really hit home:

You already have school choice!

He saw my confused look and pointed out the bus window as we drove along I-270 in the suburbs. Ah ha. His point is that school choice has existed for decades, those with more money simply move to get better schools (or at least what they perceive as better schools). The reverse is true, people don’t move into areas where the schools are bad. A school voucher system in St. Louis, he argued, would allow someone to live in the city with less concern about the state of the public school system.
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Monday Morning Press Conference at Cleveland High School

I don’t know any details at this point but I’m getting word of a press conference to be held Monday June 5, 2006 at 10am at Cleveland High, 4352 Louisiana.

Is this called by the school board? Local leaders hoping to keep the school functioning as a school? I don’t have a clue at this point. Regardless, it should make for some interesting discussion about education, community involvement and neighborhoods.

UPDATE 5/31/06 @ 4pm:
The press conference is being held to launch the newly formed Alliance to Save Cleveland High. At this point their website (www.saveclevelandhigh.org) and phone number (314-442-4551) are not yet operational.

– Steve


School Board to Vote On Cleveland Tuesday

May 19, 2006 Education, History/Preservation, South City Comments Off on School Board to Vote On Cleveland Tuesday

I’ve been told, by a credible source, that the St. Louis School Board will vote on a proposal from Superintendent Williams to “get the students out of Cleveland High School.” Many from the local community, including Alderwoman Dorothy Kirner, had asked the school system to keep Cleveland open until more detailed assessments of the condition and cost of repairs could be made.

The meeting is apparently set for this coming Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 5pm at HQ on 11th. Two board members, Flint Fowler & Bill Purdy, that were expected to vote to delay any action will apparently be unable to attend.

I can accept that Cleveland may not stay open as a school but it seems like the action is being made hastily (like so many decisions). I can’t help but wonder if we are not getting the full story.

– Steve


Official: Cleveland High School To Close!

Back in March I reported a rumor that Cleveland High School was to be torn down. People questioned this, saying it was not possible. Well, today it got a little closer to the truth.

PubDef Weekly’s Antonio French has confirmed school Superintendent Creg Williams is looking at moving classes to another school and possibly selling the building. At this point the fate of the building is unknown.

Photo courtesy of Built St. Louis.

– Steve


PubDef Endorses Downs & Jones w/Video!

March 29, 2006 Education, Politics/Policy Comments Off on PubDef Endorses Downs & Jones w/Video!

PubDef Weekly has endorsed school board candidates Peter Downs and Donna Jones. Publisher Antonio French has also put up a brief video of Peter Downs explaining why should vote for him. Click here to read what French has to say and to watch the video.

The election is Tuesday!

– Steve