Francis Howell School District

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Man, this Normandy transfer is really a tough one. I just don't see this as a good solution for anyone, Normandy or St. Charles. I feel sorry for both parties.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/francis-howell-parents-vent-anger-concerns-about-potential-transfers/article_68c7e3e9-6d26-5965-ab16-36180655e2c0.html

If I were ever to leave St. Louis, the city I truly love, it would be because of my family being a victim of violent crime or sub-par/uncivilized schools. I empathize with the St. Charles parents, I mean they moved out there to have their kids in a school with good student:teacher ratios and high test scores, and lots of midddle class kids. What's wrong with that? This was kind of dropped into their laps a month before school starts. Many will call St. Charles people racist, but you can't deny the fact that Normandy teenagers and St. Charles teenagers couldn't be more different and each present their own set of problems and challenges.

Tough situation. I'm just thankful that more and more, I can say I'm happy my kids are in the SLPS.
I don't have much to add other than the facebook comment that I already made on the article:

This story is becoming fascinating to me, and is forcing us to answer an important question: what happens when the once-foolproof sanctuary of "White Flight" begins to collapse? As a region, as a metropolitan area, as a community in which we are all invested, at some point one part of the community's problem inevitably becomes everyone's problem. And as a community, we have the wherewithall to face down those problems. No, busing Normandy kids in is not going to solve the problem in the long run, and this is just a temporary-at-best "band-aid" for a far bigger problem. But I think the FHS district, and all the administrators and parents and kids there should embrace this as a challenge; maybe they can actually make a difference in these Normandy kids' lives. The Normandy families obviously need to meet them halfway and put in the necessary effort, as well.

P.S. I absolutely love the juxtaposing of one FHS mom angrily protesting into a microphone, and other FHS moms hugging a Normandy mom after the Normandy mom expressing fear at her child and family being prejudged. All in all, I must say that the Post-Dispatch deserves kudos for telling this particular story.


On the topic of this thread, I can't help but grin at the irony of people taking increasing satisfaction in sending their kids to the SLPS district. I'm glad to see it.
Mark Groth wrote:
I empathize with the St. Charles parents, I mean they moved out there to have their kids in a school with good student:teacher ratios and high test scores, and lots of midddle class kids. What's wrong with that?


It shows that moving further west doesn't solve problems; the problems will eventually follow when you are still a part of the metro area. I realize that answer is oversimplified, but it's the truth. People move to St. Charles because they want the benefits of the metro area (jobs, attractions, restaurants, sports teams, etc.), without the problems that come with it (crime, poor schools, poverty, etc.).
Mark,
I am not as sympathetic as you to the parents out in the St. Francis Howell District. In fact, this and the people out in Affton who are fighting the senior housing development on Lindbergh have me really bummed out. They are the face of the Ugly Society. There is no part for the darks and the poors to play in their society. The comments on the news by the African American couple who were just aghast at what they witnessed said it all -- in some places it really is 1965 but just dressed up in code language.

Having said that, of course there are many exceptions, and certainly the program itself needs to be tweaked (it truly is unfair to a single district if hundreds are dumped into your system a month before classes start -- this needs to be more of a regional solution), but for far too many it is the uglier forces at play here that gives rise to mass outpouring of protest.
Mark,
I am not as sympathetic as you to the parents out in the St. Francis Howell District. In fact, this and the people out in Affton who are fighting the senior housing development on Lindbergh have me really bummed out. They are the face of the Ugly Society. There is no part for the darks and the poors to play in their society. The comments on the news by the African American couple who were just aghast at what they witnessed said it all -- in some places it really is 1965 but just dressed up in code language.


Agreed. There's an easy tendency to never take ownership of a problem. All of us are guilty of it in some form or fashion. We like to live in these little bubbles.

By rejecting these Normandy transfers, they only exacerbate this cultural divide. People get bitter. And it only makes it tougher to come to a solution.
Mark Groth wrote:
Man, this Normandy transfer is really a tough one. I just don't see this as a good solution for anyone, Normandy or St. Charles. I feel sorry for both parties.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/francis-howell-parents-vent-anger-concerns-about-potential-transfers/article_68c7e3e9-6d26-5965-ab16-36180655e2c0.html

If I were ever to leave St. Louis, the city I truly love, it would be because of my family being a victim of violent crime or sub-par/uncivilized schools. I empathize with the St. Charles parents, I mean they moved out there to have their kids in a school with good student:teacher ratios and high test scores, and lots of midddle class kids. What's wrong with that? This was kind of dropped into their laps a month before school starts. Many will call St. Charles people racist, but you can't deny the fact that Normandy teenagers and St. Charles teenagers couldn't be more different and each present their own set of problems and challenges.

Tough situation. I'm just thankful that more and more, I can say I'm happy my kids are in the SLPS.


As somebody that has worked in and attended both urban and suburban school districts I find this statement easy to disagree with. Your statement implies that all or even most kids from Normandy are hardened criminals and all St. Charles kids are perfect little angels, which couldn't be further from the truth. There are just as many nerds, jocks, goons, bullies, preps in our poorest districts as there are in are more urban districts.

Do I feel sorry for St. Charles residents? Why should I? If they are "good parents" and "civilized citizens" then they should have no worries. I saw more anger, hate, fear, and confusion in the faces of Francis Howell parents than concern, insight, and solutions. People want to keep their kids in some kind of safe, white, utopian bubble that hardly reflects the true America. I've found the most intelligent, interesting and successful people have usually spent a considerable amount of time around people of different backgrounds. Just saying.

Personally, I wish there was more focus on issues of poverty and economic development that negatively effect educational and social outcomes in particular neighborhoods.
goat314 wrote:
Mark Groth wrote:
Man, this Normandy transfer is really a tough one. I just don't see this as a good solution for anyone, Normandy or St. Charles. I feel sorry for both parties.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/francis-howell-parents-vent-anger-concerns-about-potential-transfers/article_68c7e3e9-6d26-5965-ab16-36180655e2c0.html

If I were ever to leave St. Louis, the city I truly love, it would be because of my family being a victim of violent crime or sub-par/uncivilized schools. I empathize with the St. Charles parents, I mean they moved out there to have their kids in a school with good student:teacher ratios and high test scores, and lots of midddle class kids. What's wrong with that? This was kind of dropped into their laps a month before school starts. Many will call St. Charles people racist, but you can't deny the fact that Normandy teenagers and St. Charles teenagers couldn't be more different and each present their own set of problems and challenges.

Tough situation. I'm just thankful that more and more, I can say I'm happy my kids are in the SLPS.


As somebody that has worked in and attended both urban and suburban school districts I find this statement easy to disagree with.
goat314 wrote:
Mark Groth wrote:
Man, this Normandy transfer is really a tough one. I just don't see this as a good solution for anyone, Normandy or St. Charles. I feel sorry for both parties.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/francis-howell-parents-vent-anger-concerns-about-potential-transfers/article_68c7e3e9-6d26-5965-ab16-36180655e2c0.html

If I were ever to leave St. Louis, the city I truly love, it would be because of my family being a victim of violent crime or sub-par/uncivilized schools. I empathize with the St. Charles parents, I mean they moved out there to have their kids in a school with good student:teacher ratios and high test scores, and lots of midddle class kids. What's wrong with that? This was kind of dropped into their laps a month before school starts. Many will call St. Charles people racist, but you can't deny the fact that Normandy teenagers and St. Charles teenagers couldn't be more different and each present their own set of problems and challenges.

Tough situation. I'm just thankful that more and more, I can say I'm happy my kids are in the SLPS.


As somebody that has worked in and attended both urban and suburban school districts I find this statement easy to disagree with. Your statement implies that all or even most kids from Normandy are hardened criminals and all St. Charles kids are perfect little angels, which couldn't be further from the truth. There are just as many nerds, jocks, goons, bullies, preps in our poorest districts as there are in are more urban districts.

Do I feel sorry for St. Charles residents? Why should I? If they are "good parents" and "civilized citizens" then they should have no worries. I saw more anger, hate, fear, and confusion in the faces of Francis Howell parents than concern, insight, and solutions. People want to keep their kids in some kind of safe, white, utopian bubble that hardly reflects the true America. I've found the most intelligent, interesting and successful people have usually spent a considerable amount of time around people of different backgrounds. Just saying.

Personally, I wish there was more focus on issues of poverty and economic development that negatively effect educational and social outcomes in particular neighborhoods.
Your statement implies that all or even most kids from Normandy are hardened criminals and all St. Charles kids are perfect little angels, which couldn't be further from the truth. There are just as many nerds, jocks, goons, bullies, preps in our poorest districts as there are in are more urban districts.

Do I feel sorry for St. Charles residents? Why should I? If they are "good parents" and "civilized citizens" then they should have no worries. I saw more anger, hate, fear, and confusion in the faces of Francis Howell parents than concern, insight, and solutions. People want to keep their kids in some kind of safe, white, utopian bubble that hardly reflects the true America. I've found the most intelligent, interesting and successful people have usually spent a considerable amount of time around people of different backgrounds. Just saying.


Not at all what I meant. I don't think Normandy is hardened criminals and don't think St. Charles doesn't have a ton of d-bags...that's part of why I make the choice not to live there. I'm just saying that from my experience living in an integrated neighborhood (60/40 black) in an integrated school (54/32 white), there are glaring differences between black and white child rearing stlyes and accountabilities. For instance, the role of the father is drastically different. And, white kids are way more sheltered.
I can understand some of the questions. I went to a county high school in the early 80's that got a far great proportion of the voluntary deseg students . At least at our school crowding became such a problem that
-making it from one class to another in the allotted time was impossible
-sharing of textbooks was sometimes needed
-some students had to triple up in lockers

It felt unfair that we got "dumped on" while the other didn't shoulder anywhere near as much burden. I imagine that's how some Francis Howell parents feel and I don't blame them for that part.
Image
A few thoughts, not directed at (or in response to) anyone in particular:
1. The motivation wasn't mainly skin color then, either.
2. Fear is powerful when we feel our children threatened.
3. Whatever the motivation, though, the result is the same.
JNOnSTL wrote:
Mark Groth wrote:
It shows that moving further west doesn't solve problems.


Let's hope.
Still trying to get my head around this quote from the article.

“I’ve worked hard to get my kids out to Francis Howell,” said another parent, Leslie Steinlage. “I grew up with it. I won’t have it for my son.”
I wonder how the reaction of FHSD will affect the reaction of Mehlville School District. Will MSD parents one-up the FHSD folks? Will they take the opposite tack and welcome the kids from Riverview Gardens?

The real debate should be what happens to NSD and RGSD if they run out of money. It's not like property taxes are dispersed throughout the year; district fund balances are often quite low in the early summer (end of fiscal year). State law says the state can reorganize districts if they fail in their primary mission; if bills aren't being paid, how long can they hold out?
We should all remember that there are very serious, legitimate issues underneath all the ugly rhetoric.
Presbyterian wrote:
Image
A few thoughts, not directed at (or in response to) anyone in particular:
1. The motivation wasn't mainly skin color then, either.
2. Fear is powerful when we feel our children threatened.
3. Whatever the motivation, though, the result is the same.


For what it's worth, Beaumont High School in SLPS accepted three members of the Little Rock Nine after their terrible treatment in Arkansas, including Elizabeth Eckford (shown above), who completed her coursework there.

Sorry for the double-post.
FH are the same folks that likely think the city of St. Charles is too gritty and nonwhite and urban...
onecity wrote:
FH are the same folks that likely think the city of St. Charles is too gritty and nonwhite and urban...


Not everyone. To throw a blanket statement like that out there is unfair.
If you have time I encourage you all to listen to the whole meeting. You will hear many perspectives beyond just fear, uncertainty, doubt, and nastiness. I found fascinating the comments from the mom who wants to transfer her kids from Normandy, the black parents who have fled districts to move to FH and the current FH students.

http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/fra ... y-students
^totally agree, this is a tricky situation and feel bad for all parties a few weeks before school is to start. The racist undertones are all some people want to talk about...but a lot is being said from both sides.
stlhistory wrote:
Presbyterian wrote:
Image
A few thoughts, not directed at (or in response to) anyone in particular:
1. The motivation wasn't mainly skin color then, either.
2. Fear is powerful when we feel our children threatened.
3. Whatever the motivation, though, the result is the same.


For what it's worth, Beaumont High School in SLPS accepted three members of the Little Rock Nine after their terrible treatment in Arkansas, including Elizabeth Eckford (shown above), who completed her coursework there.

Sorry for the double-post.


Fascinating. This is the type of thing of why I love this crazy site.
dweebe wrote:
onecity wrote:
FH are the same folks that likely think the city of St. Charles is too gritty and nonwhite and urban...


Not everyone. To throw a blanket statement like that out there is unfair.


Not as unfair as this:

Mark Groth wrote:
Not at all what I meant. I don't think Normandy is hardened criminals and don't think St. Charles doesn't have a ton of d-bags...that's part of why I make the choice not to live there. I'm just saying that from my experience living in an integrated neighborhood (60/40 black) in an integrated school (54/32 white), there are glaring differences between black and white child rearing stlyes and accountabilities. For instance, the role of the father is drastically different. And, white kids are way more sheltered.


I think we need to tone down the generalizations. Personally, I believe that the majority of parents came to that meeting with animus and fear and not with constructive desire of learning how the best can be made for all out of a tough situation. But certainly not all people and there were some commendable comments expressed. And it seems like the Super is a calm voice of reason in this. It is times like these when true colors come out, no?
This is arguably the thing I most dislike about the St. Louis region. We can't be honest about what we feel about race without worrying about offending those who are easily offended. Regurgitating politically correct, smoothed our PR takes on racially charged issues gets us nowhere. Nothing I said was negative or hateful, it is my honest experience. If that is unfair, then I guess we are not ready to talk about race in St. Louis.
roger wyoming II wrote:
I think we need to tone down the generalizations.

As long as everyone understands that they are generalizations and not facts... meh...

Mark Groth wrote:
there are glaring differences between black and white child rearing stlyes and accountabilities. For instance, the role of the father is drastically different. And, white kids are way more sheltered.


Anyway, there are a noticable differences as Groth mentioned, it may not be as drastic as some would believe or as prominent, but I've not heard many Clayton SD partents tell the teachers "it's okay to smack my kid if they get out of line".

I went to Clayton, but my Mom was a kindergarten teacher in Normandy for 30+ years (36 I think) and one can tell that the culture and parenting styles are different
Naturally, this instantly becomes hate speech riddled with "code words" the second someone doesn't want their kids to be exposed to students from a district recently named "The most dangerous school in the area" by the STL Post Dispatch (http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/educ ... d8380.html). It has to be racism. It has to be. It can't be the element that let those schools get to the condition that they are in the first place. I am friends with a 30-something black man with 3 kids, one of them in the Hazelwood district (I believe the other 2 are graduated). He is no more excited about this than the typical white FH parent. Is that because he's racist, too? As the judge told Cartman on South Park when he hit Token and was charged with a hate crime;
I am making an example of you, to send a message out to people everywhere: that if you want to hurt another human being, you'd better make damn sure they're the same color as you are! Court is adjourned!


Let's face it. People move to the suburbs to avoid the issues of bad schools - not just test scores, but a dangerous, criminal element. Of course people have different experiences, but a lot of people don't. I bought a microwave cart from a woman in Dutchtown a couple of years ago. Her white son had been pushed down steps and stabbed with a pencil in the 1 month he had attended St Louis Public Schools. Her tires on the car out front of the house she had lived in for 2 months were slashed for reasons unknown to her. I doubt she much cared what color the people were that were beating the crap out of her kid. Is that racist, too? I don't give a crap what you call me. When I left the city for the burbs, school district was most important to me. If Kirkwood was 20% white, 20% black, 20% green, 20% zombie, and 20% Mexican I wouldn't care if I could entrust the teachers with my children all day and could feel safe in knowing that for the most part, the kids got along and parents were involved. I really feel like I have that in Kirkwood. No, I absolutely do not want students to start dumping in to Kirkwood schools from unaccredited schools. I do not believe that bad teachers and administrators are the reason why these schools are failing. I believe it is most likely the majority parents who don't care. I will say that for the most part, I believe that only the kids with parents who care will be the ones getting transferred. That, for me, is not a problem. I love human beings. I love black people - ALL MY BEST FRIENDS ARE BLACK (I'm kidding)!

People SHOULD be able to move away to get their kids into good schools where they don't have to worry on a daily basis whether or not their kid is safe. People should be able to vote with their feet and MOVE from a district that they do not like. People should NOT have to fear that if they move to a good district, a bad unaccredited district (oh, and recently called "the most dangerous school in the STL area") will suddenly choose to start dumping their kids into their children's district.

If you do live in the city and send your kid to a private school and are hailing this wonderful decision to allow these failing districts to send their kids elsewhere, you are a hypocrite - nothing more, nothing less. If you don't have kids in school then your opinion, as far as I'm concerned, does not apply.

Go ahead and celebrate this decision (the law will likely be amended, I'm sure) - all it will eventually do when SLPS loses its accreditation again is send STL Co and St Charles county people headed for the hills (like...Hillsboro, for example).

Good luck to Normandy getting their accreditation back when the remaining parents who do want their children to succeed take them elsewhere.
I love this whole good school/bad school dichotomy we have in the US. Some how all the "good schools" are white and suburban and all the "bad schools" are black and urban. It so apparent that "black culture" produces these "bad schools" because after all most of the "bad schools" have black students. It is also common knowledge that all black people raise their kids the same way, which is vastly different than the way "civilized" white people raise their kids. I mean most blacks don't even care about their children or want anything better for them, that's why we have to fill up this school auditorium to prevent them thugs from coming to a "good school". Remember that poverty, a legacy of inequality, and systematic racism has nothing to do with it. It's been proven that if white people were in the same predicament as blacks in this country they would have better results. We as a country have given blacks everything and they just cant get it right. Maybe some blacks do well, but that is only after they accept "civilized" cultural norms that can only be learned at a "good school". I'm tired of all this political correctness because it's obvious that blacks are responsible for the moral, social, and physical decay in this region. Now if you call me a racist it's obvious you're a racist because I'm black and my family is black and most of my friends are black, so that gives me free reign to make as many baseless suggestions, allegations, and proclamations as humanly possible.

The End
Mark Groth wrote:
This is arguably the thing I most dislike about the St. Louis region. We can't be honest about what we feel about race without worrying about offending those who are easily offended. Regurgitating politically correct, smoothed our PR takes on racially charged issues gets us nowhere. Nothing I said was negative or hateful, it is my honest experience. If that is unfair, then I guess we are not ready to talk about race in St. Louis.


Mark, I know what you mean but can you see how blanket statements such as "the role of fatherhood for blacks is glaringly different to whites" or that teens from the two districts "couldn't be more different" are a wee bit problematic? I see many great black fathers in my kid's predominantly African-American school and I know that teens from both districts are at heart more similar than different. And your blanket generalizations are virtually obliterated when socio-economic factors like income and education levels are taken into account. Your blanket remarks deserved to be noted.