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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Race isn't an issue in school closings

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

"As a parent, wouldn't you want your child in the best school possible?"

Just when it appeared that you've heard just about every possible piece of bad news about the St. Louis school district, now comes a report of the district spending $444,000 on faculty lunches and weekend workshops at just one restaurant in St. Louis. It's that kind of nonsense that makes hard-working, honest taxpayers want to revolt.

But it gets worse. Much worse.

Parents of minority students are calling for an opening-day boycott next week because of the planned closing of a dozen schools in the predominately black north St. Louis area. A New York consultant hired by the school district recommended the closing as part of a plan to bring the district out of financial ruin. They picked the schools based on a number of elements - the lack of air conditioning, the age and shape of the school buildings themselves and the overall student achievement of the schools.

As a parent, wouldn't you want your child in the best school possible? Would you want your child to spend the day in hot classrooms, in a building that was virtually falling around them? Would you want your child to be part of a student body at a school where nearly 80 percent of the students are below state averages in every category?

But how quickly we make this a racial issue. It's not about race, it's about performance. And in St. Louis, many schools simply are not doing their job. They lack both the resources and the parental involvement essential to a successful school.

Maybe it's time for St. Louis to declare themselves an independent state. If they are satisfied with the below par expectations, then so be it. But when their kids fail in school and then fail in life, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

How long are taxpayers expected to take limited resources from one segment of the population to finance the failures of another segment? It's time to accept the facts. St. Louis schools - especially those in the inner-city - are failing miserably. Money is not the solution and it never has been.

Adding racial fuel to this fire will only harm the students and the system. But by now, that system may be so broken it is beyond repair.

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