Chris Geden, Community Outreach Director Children Education Alliance of Missouri
I recently attended the a Town Hall Meeting for the South Saint Louis 15th Ward Town Hall meeting. Alderwomen Jennifer Florida and Mayor Slay were there to listen to and respond to the concerns of people in the neighborhood. I go to meetings like this on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes people to try and derail what is supposed to be a an opportunity to have an open dialogue with elected officials and neighborhood leaders. You might expect that people would spend time complaining about trash bins, streets, or even crime, however, at this meeting and most community meetings in St. Louis, the topic that comes up the most is education. The concerns expressed by the constituents were legitimate and well thought out. While everyone had a slightly different take on the education in St. Louis, everyone’s comments boiled down to: “How can our kids be successful and our city move forward with out more high quality options?”.
Mayor Slay was very clear. He said it was unacceptable for anyone to provide anything less than the best possible education for the students of this city. The Mayor spoke for several minutes on the importance of having high quality education options. He also spoke about the Turner Case or the Outstanding Schools Act as it is also known as . The Mayor was crystal clear on the fact that he feels the law, which states if you live in an unaccredited district, you have the right to transfer to a neighboring accredited district at the expense of the failing district. While the meeting ended about eight thirty, several of the attendees had questions for me and the elected officials for another thirty minutes. Nearly all the conversations after the meeting that I heard were about education. Each time I go to a meeting like this, I am reminded about how serious and real the lack of high quality educational options is to parents in Saint Louis and all over Missouri. I encourage you to attend your next neighborhood meeting, and listen as people share the comments and concerns about the status of education in and around your neighborhood.