Dale Singer

Education Reporter

Dale Singer began his career in professional journalism in 1969 by talking his way into a summer vacation replacement job at the now-defunct United Press International bureau in St. Louis; he later joined UPI full-time in 1972. Eight years later, he moved to the Post-Dispatch, where for the next 28-plus years he was a business reporter and editor, a Metro reporter specializing in education, assistant editor of the Editorial Page for 10 years and finally news editor of the newspaper's website. In September of 2008, he joined the staff of the Beacon, where he reported primarily on education. In addition to practicing journalism, Dale has been an adjunct professor at University College at Washington U. He and his wife live in west St. Louis County with their spoiled Bichon, Teddy. They have two adult daughters, who have followed them into the word business as a communications manager and a website editor, and three grandchildren.

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College of St. Louis community college meramec, umsl and washington university
St. Louis Public Radio file photos

As faculty members at the University of Missouri-St. Louis continue talking about forming a union, part-time teachers at Washington University are working under the first semester of their union contract.

And though some Washington U. adjuncts have questions about how much benefit the union will actually provide, organizers say the contract is working well, though they acknowledge that a period of adjustment is normal when conditions change.

students try out a voting machine in Jennings
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Just because they’re too young to vote doesn’t mean that students at Jennings Junior High lack strong opinions about the presidential candidates.

At an assembly held at the district’s high school Tuesday, the students got to take part in a town-hall style mock debate, then cast ballots at a real electronic voting machine — if their credentials weren’t turned away.

derekGavey | Flickr

Missouri school districts need to tighten controls over student data and other information to help ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands for the wrong purpose, a state audit said Thursday.

Using information she gleaned earlier this year from audits on five districts, including Orchard Farm in St. Charles County, state Auditor Nicole Galloway said schools need to pay more attention to cybersecurity in several areas including who has access to the information and what needs to be done when a breach is discovered.

Reporters interview surrogates following the presidential debate at Washington University.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Inside a spin room packed to the gills with reporters, campaign surrogates tried to put their best face forward about the debate.

“The first 20 minutes started out a little rocky,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican from Salem, Missouri. “But the next hour and 10 minutes was focused on a lot of policy and issues that Americans are really paying a lot of attention to: health care, taxation, the Supreme Court vacancies. So I thought that was pretty good.”

But Smith’s colleague, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, had a much dimmer view of Trump’s performance.

(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

After lengthy fly-in sessions in St. Louis and Kansas City to meet prospective candidates and narrow the list, the head of the University of Missouri Board of Curators will say only that the search for a new system president “is going well.”

Pam Henrickson refrained from giving any more specific information after the curators met at the university’s Kansas City campus on Friday.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

As Washington University gets ready to host the second presidential debate on Sunday night, 18 of the school's freshmen are not only learning about how the face-offs affect who will win the White House. They’re also excited to cast their first presidential ballots.

In class, history Professor Peter Kastor and his students engage in lively debates themselves, about how the candidate sessions shape the election. And, Kastor said, they have many questions for him.

The new Billiken mascot introduced in September 2016.
Bill Barrett/provided by SLU

The new Saint Louis University mascot is turning out to be a lot like New Coke.

After the revamped Billiken was introduced last month to a barrage of criticism, with adjectives like “petrifying,” “terrifying” and “the laughing stock of the nation,” SLU President Fred Pestello took to Twitter Tuesday to hint broadly that the new Billiken is in for big changes.

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon
Kimberly Ney | Riverview Gardens School District

Updated at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 30 with information on charters and standout districts — Superintendents of Missouri’s only two unaccredited school districts say the latest standardized test scores show their students are improving.

But state school officials caution that because the tests taken in the spring were from a different source from those taken the year before, year-to-year comparisons aren’t really valid, so there is no good way to truly gauge how much progress students have made.

Still, the superintendents in Normandy and Riverview Gardens are pleased.

Darnetta Clinkscale, left, joins Rick Sullivan and Richard Gaines (right) on the SAB board for her first meeting Sept. 26, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

​Updated 9 p.m. Sept. 26 with comment from Clinkscale  Darnetta Clinkscale, a former member of the elected board for the St. Louis Public Schools, is now a member of the three-member appointed board that has run the district since 2007.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay on Monday named Clinkscale to the post on the Special Administrative Board. She replaces Melanie Adams,  who resigned because she has accepted a job in St. Paul, Minn. 

University of Missouri-St. Louis | Provided

The effort to unionize faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus has generated a lively online discussion on both sides of the issue.

After success in its drives to organize part-time faculty members at Washington University, Saint Louis University, St. Louis Community College and St. Charles Community College, the Service Employees International Union is taking the move one step further and trying to enlist all members of the UMSL faculty.

SLU's new version of its Billiken mascot
Bill Barrett/provided by SLU

Saint Louis University wanted its new Billiken mascot to be a little edgier, but based on reaction after it was introduced earlier this week, the school may have fallen over the edge.

Comments on Facebook, numbering more than 600 by Thursday morning, were overwhelmingly negative, starting with a mild “This is not ok” and going swiftly downhill from there. Signatures on an online petition calling on SLU President Fred Pestello to bring back the older, cuddlier version rose quickly past 1,500.

A person filling in a standardized test bubble sheet with a pencil.
Flickr | Alberto G.

Students from low-income students in Missouri and Illinois will be getting money from Washington to help pay for taking Advanced Placement tests.

Under a program announced Tuesday by the federal Department of Education,  a total of $28.4 million will go to 41 states and the District of Columbia to help defray the costs of taking tests that can lead to students getting college credit for high school courses.

Benjamin Yates, right, works on a puzzle with his mother, Tracy Yates, and his brother, Nicholas, at their Webster Groves home.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

On a late summer morning, when most 6-year-olds have returned to the classroom, Benjamin Yates knelt on a blue mat in the living room of his family's home in Webster Groves.

He was working on a human body puzzle with his mother and his 3-year-old brother, Nicholas. And he was clearly having a good time, which echoed in his response to the simple question: What do you like about learning at home?

“I get to choose what I learn about, so it's more fun.”

The St. Louis Public Schools elected board discusses business during its June meeting as state board of education member Vic Lenz looks on.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated Sept. 14 with comments from Bill Monroe — The vice-president of the Missouri Board of Education warned the elected board of St. Louis Public Schools Tuesday night that if the elected board can’t work together then talks to transition district authority back could be put on hold until after the April election.

“We went around the room (during the state board meeting) and it was pretty clear that if we can’t have a working together meeting to make things happen, then we’re wasting our time,” state board vice president Vic Lenz told the elected board during their regularly scheduled board meeting.

The downtown headquarters building for the St. Louis Public Schools
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

The state board of education will discuss the stalled transition talks for the St. Louis Public Schools at its meeting Tuesday and could decide whether the on-again, off-again talks will resume or will be off for quite a while.

“We’re not going to continue to try to hold meetings as they were planned if, every time, we have to suspend the meeting or call it off,” said Vic Lenz of south St. Louis County, one of two state board members who has been involved in the discussion of when and whether an elected board will resume control over the city schools. “We’re not going to waste people’s time like that.”

An archway entrance to Saint Louis University
chuteme | Flickr | Creative Commons

Georgetown University made headlines last week when it announced it would make amends for selling 272 slaves in 1838, a transaction worth $3 million in today’s economy.

The slaves were shipped from Jesuit plantations in Maryland to Louisiana — and some accompanied Jesuits in 1823 to a small school in St. Louis that would become Saint Louis University. There, according to an account, they helped build what would grow into the university.

A person filling in a standardized test bubble sheet with a pencil.
Flickr | Alberto G.

Fewer than half of the students in grades five through eight who were tested in Missouri in the spring scored proficient or advanced in math, according to new numbers from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

In English, scores were better, with the percentage of students scoring in the top two categories hovering around 60 percent in grades three through eight.

State education officials say the latest numbers shouldn’t be compared with those from previous years because the English and math tests were new.

An archway entrance to Saint Louis University
chuteme | Flickr | Creative Commons

As it approaches its 200th anniversary, Saint Louis University is mobilizing to combat shrinking enrollment, a reduction in federal grants and contracts and a rising amount of scholarship aid paid to its students.

A new report looking at issues raised by the university’s strategic plan cautions that in a changing higher education landscape, SLU must change as well.

kevindooley via Flickr

Public campuses and universities in Missouri, hampered by a legal limit on tuition increases and dwindling state support, are resorting to increasing fees to raise money, a state audit found.

The audit, released Tuesday, emphasized what the schools have been highlighting for some time: Students and their families are being forced to shoulder a greater share of the cost of higher education in Missouri.

Madison Jones sits with her grandmother, elected school board member Donna Jones, before Monday night's meeting. Madison's mother, Susan Jones, is president of the board.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:30 p.m. Monday: After the most recent meeting broke up after just five minutes, talks about when, how and whether the elected board might regain power over the St. Louis Public Schools are on hold until state officials discuss how they might proceed.

Based on discussions at the elected board’s meeting Monday night, infighting may not be ending any time soon.

An archway entrance to Saint Louis University
chuteme | Flickr | Creative Commons

Even before the National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that graduate student assistants at private universities have the right to form unions, Elizabeth Eikmann and her colleagues at Saint Louis University were talking about organizing.

Now, their campaign has begun.

District website

A Ladue high school student who filed suit saying he was harassed by classmates who called him names like “faggot” will receive $75,000 from the district under a settlement unsealed Wednesday.

The settlement also calls on the district to conduct training in bullying and harassment and for parents of students subjected to such behavior to be notified as soon as possible.

Mizzou's Columns
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The committee searching for a new president for the University of Missouri system is working to narrow the list of candidates from a few dozen before starting interviews.

Committee co-chair Jim Whitaker of Kansas City said Wednesday the group made up of the system’s curators plus representatives of all four campuses still hopes to have a successor to Tim Wolfe chosen by the end of the year.

Melanie Adams
Missouri History Museum

Updated at 4:45 p.m. with comments from Adams: Melanie Adams, one of the three original members of the Special Administrative Board that has run the St. Louis Public Schools since 2007, is leaving her job at the Missouri History Museum and her spot on the SAB.

Her successor on the board will be named by Mayor Francis Slay; his spokeswoman, Maggie Crane, said the search process is underway and will be completed as soon as possible.

Ferguson-Florissant parent Redditt Hudson, attorney Dale Ho, and past school candidate Willis Johnson at a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the Ferguson-Florissant schools on December 18.
Diane Balogh | ACLU of Missouri

Updated Aug. 22 with Sippel's ruling. — A federal judge has ruled that at-large elections for seats on the board for the Ferguson-Florissant School District violate the rights of African-American voters in the district.


U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, says a new government study shows changes are needed in the way federal agencies track and report cases of sexual assault.

The report by the Government Accountability Office, released last week, found that four separate federal agencies – the departments of Education, Defense, Justice and Health and Human Services – keep track of data on sexual violence.

Those departments have at least 10 programs to collect the information, and they use 23 different terms to describe sexual violence, the GAO found.

The downtown headquarters building for the St. Louis Public Schools
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 8:50 p.m. Aug. 16, with results of an attempted meeting - A meeting to discuss moving the St. Louis Public Schools back under the control of an elected board was adjourned just five minutes after it started Tuesday evening because one member of the elected board who was not supposed to be there refused to leave.

The dispute could scuttle any effort to have the elected board replace the appointed Special Administrative Board that has run the district since 2007.

Bill Eigel
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Dale Singer welcome Republican Bill Eigel to the program for the first time.

Eigel is a St. Charles County-based businessman who emerged victorious in a highly competitive GOP primary for the 23rd District Senate seat. He faces Democrat Richard Orr this fall, but the 23rd District seat is considered to be a decidedly Republican seat.

LeDiva Pierce with her daughters Alfreida (left) and Unique. Pierce is one of two charter school parents seeking to intervene as plaintiffs in St. Louis Public School's dispute with the state over funding.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Aug. 10 with appeal — Two St. Louis charter school parents are renewing their effort to have a say in a lawsuit that could change the way public schools are funded in the city.

LeDiva Pierce and Ken Ross Jr. filed an appeal Wednesday to join a suit against the state of Missouri by St. Louis Public Schools.

Karen Apricot | Flickr

Retired teachers in Missouri are learning a hard but simple math lesson: Longer life spans plus smaller investment returns equal no cost-of-living raise in their pensions for next year.

In dollars-and-cents terms, that means that the board of the state’s Public School Retirement System has voted that if inflation falls below 2 percent for 2016, which appears all but certain, school retirees will get no raise in their pensions.