The State of Charter Schools in St. Louis

The Education Funders Affinity Group had a breakfast meeting last week to talk about the state of charter schools in St. Louis.  Margo Quiriconi of the Kauffman Foundation and Hank Webber of Washington University were brought in as the featured speakers.  The goal of the meeting was to give Gateway Center for Giving members an update on some of the latest research that has taken place regarding charter schools in the state and discuss ways that funders could come together to advance education in our region and specifically advance the charter school system.

One of the most interesting points that was made during the meeting came from Mr. Webber who pointed out that in cities where charter school systems have thrived, the public schools systems in general are some of the best.  It’s naive to assume that a charter school system can truly succeed in a city or state where the public school systems are not succeeding.  The data found in the report- Delivering on the Promise: How Missouri Can Grow Excellent Accountable Public Charter Schools– begs the question, “Should we even be pursuing a charter school system in Missouri given the relatively poor results seen thus far from the charter schools that currently exist in our state?”  Mr. Webber pointed out that the national data is resoundingly in favor of charter schools and that policies and systems need to change in Missouri in order for a charter school system to be successful here.

Margo Quiriconi highlighted a number of  recommendations to help advance the charter schools system in St. Louis and in Missouri.  First and foremost in her opinion is that the state needs a strong education public policy advocacy group.  And second, she noted that groups in Kansas City and St. Louis need to unite to advocate on behalf of charter schools.

The materials below include some great resources about education and charter schools in our state.

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