• Letter to the Editor: School districts, cultural institutions and universities could all collaborate

    July 28, 2013 12:00 am

    The announcement of the collaboration between St. Louis Public Schools and KIPP charter schools is good news indeed. And the Post-Dispatch’s editorial exhortation ("Open doors," July 22) to imagine additional partnerships is well-taken.

    Therefore: What if our fine local cultural institutions joined with ailing districts to provide more than just supplemental programming? Imagine a Missouri Botanical Garden Elementary, a Missouri History Museum Middle or a St. Louis Art Museum High. Such collaborations were very much on the minds of legislators when they passed charter school legislation in 1998.

    Consider, too, besides simply sponsoring charter schools, local universities may also operate them. What if the people charged with educating the educators had a greater stake in the elementary and secondary schools they serve? Imagine a St. Louis University Elementary, an UMSL Middle or a Washington University High.

    Finally, imagine permutations of all the above. Local districts, cultural institutions and post-secondary educators may pursue far deeper and broader partnerships with one another than have been attempted thus far in St. Louis.

    None of this is by chance. Missouri’s charter school statutes are deliberately designed to encourage such rich collaboration for the sake of all students.

    All that is required is a little imagination.

    Dave Camden    Des Peres