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Oct. 16, 2012 (ST. LOUIS) – This morning the Missouri State Board of Education voted unanimously to reclassify the Saint Louis Public School District as provisionally accredited, a step above its current status as unaccredited. The reclassification came after the Special Administrative Board of the Saint Louis Public Schools (SLPS) wrote a letter to the State Board and Commissioner asking for a review of the District’s accreditation status.
It is undeniable that SLPS has made slight progress in the five years that it was unaccredited and for that, the students, parents, teachers and administration deserve credit. However, the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri (CEAM) does not believe that this reclassification is a victory for Saint Louis families.
“Saint Louis Public Schools is being awarded provisional accreditation in spite of the fact that 3 out of 5 high school students fail to graduate in four years, 7 out of 10 students are reading below grade level and the achievement gap is widening in all areas and subgroups. These outcomes should make it clear to the public that the expectations are far too low,” said Kate Casas, State Policy Director for the CEAM. “I sincerely hope that the State Board of Education is prepared to hold Saint Louis and other districts to a higher standard with the implementation of MSIP 5, Missouri’s revised accountability system, in the 2012-2013 school year.”
During the State Board meeting, Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro made clear that there is a long way to go before the district can declare success. She and State Board members reiterated continuously that continued performance at this level will not get them to full accreditation.
“The reclassification of the Saint Louis Public Schools by the Missouri State Board of Education really doesn’t change much for my kids or me,” said Tiffany Lewis, a Saint Louis Public School parent. “It doesn’t change the fact that in my son’s 3rd grade class, only 3 percent of students are on grade level. As a parent, I’m doing everything I know to ensure he and my other children receive the education they deserve, but I often feel like the decisions about my kids’ education are being made by adults for the self interest of adults.”