The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. The self-destructing St. Louis Public School District seems unable to take this step, so the Missouri State Board of Education is staging an intervention. In a 5-2 vote, the board created a three-member committee to oversee the chronically troubled district. Whether its role will be to govern or advise the district will be decided later this month (so they say), based in part on how district leaders react. Early signs aren't promising, however. At the state board meeting, St. Louis Superintendent Diana Bourisaw (the sixth superintendent in four years) protested that the district is now "being asked to provide data that is far beyond what other districts are being asked to do," while board member Donna Jones hurled accusations of racism at state school chief Kent King. (Her exact quote was, "Racism! Racism! Racist! Racist!") As with most downward spirals, it's the innocent bystanders that get hurt the most. In this case, that means the children of St. Louis.

"State's clock ticking for St. Louis schools," by Steve Giegerich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 16, 2007

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