Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 11:11 am
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We are in St. Louis, Missouri today for a special broadcast from St. Louis Public Radio. We're going to be giving you a bit of St. Louis flavor. In a few minutes, we will talk about one of the city's biggest bragging rights. Hint, it has nothing to do with swinging a bat or throwing a ball.
Many state officials have been receptive to a fresh proposal to overhaul the state’s school accreditation system, but the plan would take years to implement and won’t help the districts facing bankruptcy over student transfer and tuition costs.
This fall more than 2,500 students climbed on board buses and into taxis leaving the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens Districts for accredited districts in St. Louis and St. Charles Counties.
The migration began after a ruling this June by the Missouri Supreme Court, which upheld a controversial state law.
It just so happens that the two unaccredited districts are predominantly African-American, and the districts chosen to receive them are largely white.
As St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports that’s drawn some comparisons to an earlier time.
The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit that's delaying the implementation of the state's student transfer law in the Kansas City area.
A lower court ruling declared the transfer law to be an unfunded mandate for school districts in Independence, Lee's Summit and North Kansas City, but not for Blue Springs and Raytown. Attorney Duane Martin argued Blue Springs' position before the High Court, saying the transfer law would be an unfunded mandate for them as well.
A joint House-Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on the effects of Missouri's school transfer law, which allows students from unaccredited K-12 schools to transfer to nearby accredited districts.
The 5 1/2-hour hearing kicked off with Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Chris Nicastro telling the committee of the dire situation facing the state's unaccredited school districts.