Teachers Union Instrumental in St. Louis Schools’ Reaccreditation

WASHINGTON— AFT St. Louis and its national affiliate, the American Federation of
Teachers, have cheered the full reaccreditation of Saint Louis Public Schools,
highlighting the collaborative work between the union and the district that set the
stage for the decision.

At its meeting earlier today, the Missouri State Board of Education approved the
district’s reaccreditation, 16 years after it was partially removed.

Collaborative work between the local union and the district drove the turnaround
after the board stripped power from the elected school board, replacing it with a
three-member appointed Special Administrative Board in 2007.

The St. Louis Plan, jointly administered by the union and the district, focused on
building shared responsibility for teacher-led support for instructional change by
strengthening professional learning, as well as many other collaborative steps to
drive improvement in the classroom. Richard Gaines, of the SAB, was critical in
encouraging cooperation between the district and the union.

AFT St. Louis President Mary Armstrong, who is also an AFT vice president, said:
“Today’s reaccreditation was the culmination of a joint effort between the union and
the district that drove the improvements necessary to return the district to health.
We worked closely for nine years with Superintendent Adams to get to this point, and
while there’s still a ways to go, our kids will be the real beneficiaries.” 

AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “In St. Louis, our pioneering long-term
union-district partnership showed what can be achieved for student learning when we
work together, and respect and invest in the capacity of our teachers. While there
is still progress to be made, the St. Louis Plan serves as a national model to
strengthen public education throughout the country. I am so proud of our members and
our allies who stepped up again and again—despite the obstacles—to ensure our kids
have the conditions and opportunities they need to thrive.”