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.

Ways to Connect

University of Missouri students protest a series of racist incidents on the Columbia campus in this photo from Nov. 9, 2015.
Bram Sable-Smith | KBIA

The University of Missouri should emphasize diversity in its recruitment, train professors in the importance of diversity in their courses and increase outreach to improve diversity among faculty and staff, a systemwide task force recommended on Wednesday. Those proposals were among priority items included in the task force’s report . It was responding to a comprehensive audit of diversity, equity and inclusion practices at the university conducted by the consulting firm IBIS.

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

Two parents of children in charter schools in St. Louis are taking their fight to be involved in a school-funding lawsuit to a federal appeals court. Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court judge rejected attempts by Ken Ross Jr. and LeDiva Pierce to intervene in a motion brought by the St. Louis Public Schools and the NAACP. The court actions seeks to stop money from a 1999 sales tax from going to charter schools and want the charters to pay back $50 million in tax proceeds they have received over the past 10 years.

Paul Ziegler, new executive director of EducationPlus
Provided | Education Plus

Paul Ziegler, the superintendent of the Northwest R-1 school district in Jefferson County, will become executive director of EducationPlus on July 1, 2017. Ziegler will succeed Matt Goodman, who has been interim executive director of the area school collaborative. Don Senti stepped down as head of the agency in April following questions about finances.

empty classroom
KT Klng | Flickr

The Missouri Charter Public School Commission had a good reason to locate its office in the heart of the Cortex entrepreneur mecca in St. Louis. Robbyn Wahby, who became the commission’s first executive director last year after serving as education adviser to Mayor Francis Slay, said she hopes to work with a wide range of people who are interested in starting charters. Her office in the CIC building on South Sarah is a good place to bring such people together, she said in a recent interview there.

Incoming UM President Mun Choi speaks to a reception at UMSL Tuesday, 11-29-16
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

As he begins visiting all four campuses in the University of Missouri system, incoming president Mun Choi is taking time to listen and learn about many of the issues facing the school. But he made clear during a visit to the St. Louis campus on Tuesday that he intends to make the university a destination for students from all over who are seeking a world-class education in a changing environment, and he intends for UM to be active in the communities it serves.

William P. Johnson, new dean of Saint Louis University's law school
Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University has named William P. Johnson, a member of its faculty since 2012, as the new dean of its law school. Johnson, 45, who has been director of the school’s Center for International and Comparative Law, takes over Jan. 3 from the retiring Michael Wolff, who has been dean since 2013. Johnson also has directed the SLU Summer Law program at the university’s campus in Madrid, Spain.

school buses
Flickr

After area school superintendents voted Friday to phase out the current race-based student transfer program – and possibly replace it with a new one down the road – those who have been part of the program so far cited a lot of reasons it should continue. Harlan Hodge, a city resident who graduated in 1992 from Parkway North High School, put his experience this way: “The kids at our school, the teachers lovingly embraced us the same way they have everywhere else. It really became about excellence. I’m as committed to Parkway as I was 25 years ago when I started. I believe in the school district. I believe in teachers. I believe in our education. It was a great experience.”

KB35 | Flickr

If the voluntary student transfer program that has served more than 70,000 St. Louis area students over more than 30 years is going to continue beyond 2036, it probably will be based on a factor other than race. At a meeting Friday, the board that oversees the program is expected to approve a final five-year extension that would begin phasing out the transfers in the 2023-24 school year. Students who begin kindergarten that year could remain through high school graduation.

Ashley Mosely waves to the principal of Koch Elementary, thanking him for his hands-on approach at her sons' school during a public hearing on unaccredited Riverview Gardens Nov. 14, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

If the parents and staff of Riverview Gardens were making the decision, the school district would soon no longer be unaccredited. Parents, students, teachers and principals praised the district’s improvement by the dozens Monday night at a public hearing state officials held at Westview Middle School.

Washington University Professor Peter Kastor teaches his freshman politics seminar on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

On Election Day, as he does every day, Washington University freshman Jordan Phillips called his grandma in Florida. His message was a definite one. “I called her about an hour before the polls started closing,” Phillips said. “She jokingly said, ‘Jordan, who's going to win the election?’ I said I would bet everything I have that Hillary Clinton's going to win. “Then I called her the next day, and she's like, ‘So you owe me everything you have.’”

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon talks to students at Moline elementary school in Riverview Gardens Monday, Nov. 7, 2016.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 7 at 3:55 with Nixon comments: No Missouri school districts scored in the unaccredited range on this year’s annual report cards, but that doesn’t mean that the state’s two unaccredited districts – Normandy and Riverview Gardens – are automatically headed for an upgrade. And among charters in St. Louis, one – Preclarus Mastery Academy – scored in the unaccredited range for the third straight year. Two others that scored in the same territory, with less than half of the possible points – Jamaa Learning Center and Better Learning Communities Academy – closed at the end of the last school year.

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

Stung by the negative reception given its recent revamping of the Billiken mascot, Saint Louis University wants public input for a do-over. SLU President Fred Pestello resorted to his favorite communication channel, Twitter, on Tuesday in a politically themed presentation titled "Decision 2016." It directs anyone interested in helping to shape Billiken 3.0 to an online poll to give views on the color, eyes, hairdo and other features on the upcoming revision.

Students at Adams Elementary in St. Louis Sept 2016
File photo, Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

While state education officials try to work around obstacles that have blocked efforts to move control of the St. Louis Public Schools back to an elected board, talks on the issue have been suspended until January at the earliest. And with school board elections set for April, the balloting could take on additional significance.

Millennium Student Center at UMSL
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 31 at 3:05 p.m. with background — Nearly one year after former President Tim Wolfe stepped down amid racial unrest in Columbia, the University of Missouri system plans to introduce his successor on Wednesday. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the new president will be Mun Y. Choi, the provost at the University of Connecticut. Unlike the university’s last two presidents, Wolfe and Gary Forsee, Choi comes to the University of Missouri from an academic background. He joined the mechanical engineering department at Connecticut in 2008, after serving on the faculty at the University of Illinois from 1994 to 2000 and at Drexel University starting in 2000. He received his B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987 and M.A. and Ph.D. in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University.

(Wikimedia Commons)

Consider a student who may be weary of strict academic lectures and wants to see where all of this classroom learning is going to fit into the real world. Then consider a business owner who wants to find new ideas and new energy but isn’t sure where to look. A new cooperative program between Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and Madison County hopes to match the expertise of academia with the needs of business and the community to make all sides stronger and more successful.

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

Three more Missouri school districts scored in the provisional accreditation range and one additional charter school scored in the unaccredited range in this year’s preliminary data compared with last year, the state school board was told Tuesday. As with last year, just one district scored in the unaccredited range, with less than 50 percent of the points possible. But because the annual performance reports (APR) for individual districts will not be available until Nov. 7, no districts were identified by name.

food waste photo from Mizzou video
University of Missouri-Columbia

You have leftover French fries on one plate and leftover beef ravioli on another. Sure, it’s not the most balanced meal, but that’s not your concern. What you want to figure out is this: Which will have the bigger impact on the environment when you toss it into the trash? And how can that impact be reduced?

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 said he is optimistic the district will return to provisional accreditation, following a recommendation from the state department of elementary and secondary education board on Nov. 23, 2016.
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.”

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