Monday, November 2, 2015

Corporate CEOs give selves pat on the back for disenfranchising people of St. Louis

I think accreditation has always been a political instrument that reflects only in a very oblique way the quality of what might be happening in SLPS.   Accreditation was taken away for a political reason (to appoint the SAB).  Provisional accreditation was returned for a political reason (to stop the flood of transfer demands and lawsuits that would have followed Turner v. Clayton).  The possibility of accreditation returning is equally political (to justify the dismantling of democratic process and the corporate and mayor-led takeover of the district to promote charters, real estate development deals and other private interests).

We can never really know what accreditation means until there is much more transparency in these processes of evaluation and decision-making.  And, since the takeover was meant as much to shut out the public as anything else, we cannot expect much transparency going forward.

Here's a new note, coming from Susan Turk, regarding the editorial written by Civic Progress and the Regional Business Chamber, St. Louis' two leading capitalist self-interest groups (whose kids definitely do not attend SLPS):

St. Louis Schools Watch

Civic Progress’s Ambition

By Susan Turk

November 2, 2015—St. Louis--The following letter to the editor appeared in the Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015 Post-Dispatch.

SLPS making progress thanks to superintendent, Special Administrative Board
"We were pleased to read the St. Louis Public Schools' announcement that they have earned enough points to qualify for full accreditation. The progress SLPS has made shows that when a community comes together, we make progress that matters. And, having strong schools is a critical part of our region’s capacity to attract companies that invest in St. Louis.We applaud Superintendent Kelvin Adams, the Special Administrative Board and the entire SLPS team for their achievement. Superintendent Adams has proven what he has been quietly saying since he joined the SLPS in 2008 — that positive change is possible if adults stay focused on the needs of students. His team, working with parents, students, teachers and a wide range of other stakeholders, has addressed the district's most difficult challenges using a data-driven model to develop plans and track progress.Without the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education creating the Special Administrative Board, this accomplishment would not have been possible. Stability, commitment and leadership by Rick Sullivan, Richard Gaines and Melanie Adams are valuable beyond measure. Appointed in 2007, these leaders are unwavering in their determination to improve outcomes for all SLPS students. The region owes them a debt of gratitude for helping the district qualify for full accreditation for the first time in 15 years.  DESE needs to support this effort by leaving the SAB in place.As Superintendent Adams always says, full accreditation is not the goal — it's a milestone in a much longer journey. The work of Adams, his team and the SAB is a model for transforming a failing urban district into one that embodies best practices for high student achievement."
George Paz  •  St. Louis CountyCEO, Express Scripts
Anthony R. Tersigni  •  ClaytonCEO, Ascension

Its authors are Civic Progress President George Paz and Regional Business Council Chairman Anthony Tersigni. Their gauntlet has been cast down.  We now know what their plans for future governance of the SLPS.  No democracy. We know the mayor’s plan.  Limited democracy.
What is your plan?
Please write letters to the editor of the Post and let them know.  Letters can be submitted to letters@post-dispatch.com.
And please sign the petition to return the elected board of education to power at http://wordpress.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=febf37d8c53a262d3cca40d04&id=7a7325e7fb&e=3fe73d6d79
Susan Turk