Justin Hauke

An article in this morning's St. Louis Post-Dispatch details the rising trend in "educational larceny" — the term used for families who cross district boundaries to send their children to school. Over the past few years, the number of larceny cases has increased precipitously as families seek to escape troubled school districts.

Parents enrolling their children in better performing districts may use the address of a relative or friend, a business, or even a blank lot. But when school administrators uncover the truth, students are forced back to their home districts, often with legal ramifications for their parents. "Sometimes they'll beg you to stay. It can be heartbreaking," says Vershaun Howze, Director of Enrollment for the Hazelwood School District.

The University City School District investigated 113 suspected larceny cases last year, and found 82 violations, while Hazelwood School District reported 92 infractions. And the Ladue School District has uncovered 11 violations this year alone — the same number as the entire 2006-2007 school year.

Parents shouldn't have to resort to fraud in order to provide their children with decent educations. The rising trend in educational larceny demonstrates the need for significant school reform in Missouri and the steps parents will take to provide their children with decent educations. How much more evidence does the Legislature need?

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Justin Hauke