Hundreds of mostly poor minority students who used a controversial Missouri law to transfer out of failing schools will be sent back to their home districts next school year, following a tense battle in the legislature and a slew of politically charged decisions by the department of education.
The reversal puts the academic fate of some of the state’s most needy and disadvantaged students at risk.
Last summer, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling that allowed students from unaccredited school districts to transfer to better schools. Thousands of students from the African-American suburbs of St. Louis streamed across the border to much wealthier, white districts and better-performing schools closer to home. But the exodus triggered a number of unexpected consequences. The failing districts were financially responsible for paying all transfer-related expenses, including tuition and transportation costs.