Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Parents and Teachers Win!

Parents and Teachers Win!

Peter Downs and Donna Jones were elected to the St Louis Board of Education yesterday! I am elated.

While the challenges facing SLPS have not changed, I still believe that Downs and Jones will add important perspectives to the board.

It also goes to show that grassroots organizing really can work, especially in a low-turnout local race like this. And perhaps the negative campaign mailings by the Clinkscale/Buford "Educate St Louis" committee that had weak, cruddy portrayals of Downs as anti-reform, did backfire by providing him with more name recognition.

And I do believe Downs and Jones will support Dr. Creg Williams - just not blindly. Many of the superintendent's reforms are not at all new ideas. Also, if you implement a whole bunch of dramatic changes like 9th-grade-centers and single-sex schools all at the same time, how can you ever prove statistically which ones worked and which didn't?

I wouldn't necessarily call this a referendum on Mayor Slay's performance. Many voters are still pretty satisfied with him (for whatever reasons), and he won re-election last year quite handily.

But also recall that last year, only one of the three candidates endorsed by the mayor actually won. Who remembers Joe Moramarco and Joe Keaveny now, except for their neighbors? Veronica O'Brien (a parent with kids in Clayton via deseg) and Bill Purdy (a district retiree) were elected along with Flint Fowler, who has exceptional name recognition as head of Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club.

So this does represent a pretty dramatic rebuke of some of the strategies employed by the (up to now) current board majority of Clinkscale, Jackson, Archibald, and Schoemehl/Buford.

What will be very interesting to see is what happens next year, when Bob Archibald and Ron Jackson are up for reelection. I kinda wonder whether Archibald will bow out early like Schoemehl did this time around.

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