The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

Staff Ed: VST program should be continued to preserve diversity

In 2004, CHS students staged a walkout protesting the suggested termination of the Voluntary Student Transfer program. The students took a stand, embodying the passion and principles we are still taught today. The District voted to extend the program in 2008 despite the reductions in state funding for the program. However, the battle is far from over. The program is set to end by the 2013 school year. After this time, unless the program is extended, no new VST students could enter the district.

The VST program was established nearly 30 years ago. It was introduced into the St. Louis public school system by a court order in 1983. In 1999 a settlement was reached making the program voluntary, agreeing that the schools participating would continue accepting new transfer students until the 2008 school year. A five-year extension was approved in 2007.

Clayton participates in the program along with 13 other St. Louis area schools. Within the next two years the district will once again have to decide whether or not to extend the program.

One of Clayton School Districts guiding principles is as follows:

“We are committed to diversity in our school population because it enriches our lives, mirrors our world, and reflects our future.”

As a school that values diversity, the VST program is a necessity. In 2004 the program came under fire and was terminated in some districts throughout St. Louis. In an editorial issued on Sept. 9, 2004, the St. Louis Post Dispatch discussed the fact that there was still a need for the inter-district school desegregation program.

According to the Post-Dispatch “the need for the city-county desegregation program will disappear when housing in the suburbs is integrated and the schools in the city of St. Louis are excellent.”

In 2004 St. Louis was nowhere near integrated neighborhoods in the suburbs or excellent schools in the city. We’re still not there. There is still the same need for the VST program. And there is still the same moral obligation to providing quality education to children in the city of St. Louis.

Twelve years after the program ends no students from the VST program will remain in the district. The diversity that is supposed to enrich our lives, mirror our world, and reflect our future, will be terminated along with the program.

According to the Voluntary Inter-district Choice Corporation (VICC), “studies completed since 1990 show that in integrated classrooms there is no evidence of academic harm to any student and show benefits to students in math, science, and language arts.”

The past 30 years have been a testimony to the program’s capability of being successful. The program tears down educational barriers and provides students with the opportunity to receive a great education.

According to studies conducted by the VICC the graduation rate for students participating in the program ranges from 80 to 100 percent compared to the 49 percent in city schools.  Studies also show “higher achievement levels over time on state standardized tests… and more positive attitudes and success in integrated environments.”

The program in no way takes away from the experience of other students in the district. The state provides funding for the program, which is used for transportation and tuition based on the districts’ costs of education. There are no extra costs to Missouri taxpayers, as the VICC receives no additional revenues.

Nor does the program harm the St. Louis Public Schools. The funding reductions are in proportion to the number of students transferring. Thus there is no impact on the state per pupil funds received by the schools.

According to the VICC, “while city schools’ enrollment levels are reduced by students choosing to attend county schools through the VICC program… there is no adverse selection in terms of academic standing or socio-economic factors on the St. Louis Public Schools’ student body.”

There are currently over 6,000 students benefiting from this program; 6,000 children given a quality education, enriching the lives of the students and faculty around them.

Despite the passage of three decades, not enough has changed. School systems throughout the nation are failing. It was our obligation 30 years ago, and it is still our obligation today, to continue to provide children throughout the city with the opportunity to learn.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Globe
$150
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clayton High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Globe
$150
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

The Globe is committed to fostering healthy, thoughtful discussions in this space. Comments must adhere to our standards, avoiding profanity, personal attacks or potentially libelous language. All comments are moderated for approval, and anonymous comments are not allowed. A valid email address is required for comment confirmation but will not be publicly displayed.
All The Globe Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student News Site of Clayton High School.
Staff Ed: VST program should be continued to preserve diversity