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

David Laskin
Tom Cobb

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - In 2010, David Laskin and his daughter Emily traveled to Israel to start a worldwide journey of discovery and remembrance. He had not met his Israeli cousins before; and as soon as he sat down with them, he had concerns that his mission – tracing three branches of his family through decades of history – was never going to work.

He worried, as he writes in the epilogue to his book “The Family,” “that the Israelis would find me intrusive, insensitive, presumptuous.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - As lawmakers, educators and others prepare for what shapes up to be a lively discussion about changes in Missouri classrooms, St. Louis area superintendents say they would like to see more money directed to struggling schools so that students could learn where they live rather than having to travel elsewhere.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After collecting opinions from a variety of campus groups, Saint Louis University has begun seeking a president who will be expected to “maintain SLU’s Jesuit core values and existing strengths, while building boldly and creatively on the university’s potential for future growth.”

Two members of the Normandy school board were absent for last week’s vote rejecting bills from districts that have accepted transferring students. But their presence may not have made any difference in the outcome.

What often is a routine part of a school board meeting attracted a lot more attention Thursday night when a motion to pay $1.3 million in bills submitted by receiving school districts for tuition and transportation in September came up for a vote.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Despite a vote by the Normandy school board rejecting payment for tuition and transportation costs for students transferring elsewhere, Missouri education commissioner Chris Nicastro emphasized two points on Friday:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Leading the search for the new president of Saint Louis University, Jim Smith is focusing on lots of facets of the school’s operations – finances, academics, the climate on campus and the importance of its Jesuit mission.

But he isn’t too concerned about SLU’s drop in rankings by U.S. News & World Report – down to 101st in the most recent listing.

After all, Smith told the Beacon in an interview this week, “My company does those ratings.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After agreeing to save money by laying off 103 teachers and staff members and offering early retirement incentives to 98 more, the Normandy school board took an unexpected stand Thursday night by voting against paying $1.3 million in tuition and transportation bills for transferring students for the month of September.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: More than 100 teachers and staff members in the Normandy School District may be laid off for the second semester and Bel-Nor Elementary School may be closed as the district works to close a multimillion-dollar hole in its budget.

At the first of two meetings held Wednesday, teachers were told this morning that 103 employees were likely to be laid off. Details of the plan are scheduled to be presented to the Normandy school board at its meeting Thursday night.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: More than 100 teachers and staff members in the Normandy School District may be laid off for the second semester and Bel-Nor Elementary School may be closed as the district works to close a multimillion-dollar hole in its budget.

At the first of two meetings held Wednesday, teachers were told this morning that 103 employees were likely to be laid off. Details of the plan are scheduled to be presented to the Normandy school board at its meeting Thursday night.

The professor and students can see each other, participate in chat and see course materials at the same time.
Screenshot from promotional video

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bill Lowry considers himself to be a “pretty low-tech guy – no iPhone, no apps, any of that stuff” – so he thought it was pretty ironic that he is teaching the first class at Washington University’s entry into the growing field of internet education.

Dubbed Semester Online, the program joins Washington U. with other schools, including Emory, Northwestern and Notre Dame, for online instruction that is less open, less massive than the so-called MOOCs – massive online open courses -- that have been popping up all over in recent years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Lots of teachers tell students to stay away from Wikipedia. At Washington University, Joan Strassmann has her students write articles for it.

Her undergraduate course in behavioral ecology is an officially designated Wikipedia course, where students learn not only about subjects like social insects but also about how to translate their scientific knowledge into terms the Wikipedia-using public can understand.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Collaboration and cooperation are common buzzwords on campus these days, but Washington University and the University of Missouri at St. Louis engineered their own special partnership back in 1993.

That’s when they began a program in which aspiring engineers could take their basic science and math courses at UMSL, then get their upper-level engineering training at Washington U.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal knows firsthand about the ins and outs of transferring from one school district to another.

When she was a student growing up in University City, her family moved to the city of St. Louis, where she attended a private school for a year. Then, she took advantage of the area’s voluntary desegregation plan and transferred to school in Clayton.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Even with a long list of qualities to live up to, and the strife that preceded the departure of the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the presidency of Saint Louis University is a plum assignment that will draw dozens of applicants, a key figure in the search said Monday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Preparing for a legislative session expected to make changes in Missouri’s student transfer law, state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal is drafting a bill designed to rebuild unaccredited districts, preserve gains made by those on the bubble and sustain those that are solidly in the accredited category.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: While Normandy Superintendent Ty McNichols works behind closed doors to make budget cuts to help his district survive, he is also spending a lot of time in the public eye making sure everyone hears good things about his schools.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Since the Rev. Lawrence Biondi left his post as president of Saint Louis University, strained relations between the faculty and the administration have improved, leaders of the Faculty Senate say.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As insight into the self-absorbed mindset and atmosphere that led to this week’s partial shutdown of the federal government, author Mark Leibovich points to what is called the "Washington read.”

Leibovich, chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, described how in the nation’s capital — subject of his new book, "This Town” — you can see people go into a bookstore, flip to the back of a particular volume, then either buy the book or walk out.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Missouri school officials release a flood of data every summer, the numbers usually result in a flurry of news, good or bad, then quickly sink from view.

But where the public’s attention ends, school districts’ work is just beginning.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: JEFFERSON CITY -- For several hours Tuesday afternoon, members of the Missouri House and Senate heard suggestions on changing the law allowing students in unaccredited school districts to transfer.

Should the way tuition is calculated be changed? Should state education officials have more power to devise regulations for transfers? Should failing districts simply be dissolved, with their students distributed to nearby accredited schools? Should transfers be stopped, with attention paid instead to making sure unaccredited districts improve?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Commissioners of the Zoo-Museum District voted Monday for the maximum tax rates for the five institutions that get public support, including the Missouri History Museum, but they also talked about changes needed in the district to make sure tax subsidies remain sufficient in the future.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Despite an improved showing in this year’s performance report, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will not recommend that the Kansas City schools be upgraded from their current unaccredited status.

The decision opens the door for students living in the Kansas City district to possibly follow those in Normandy and Riverview Gardens and transfer to adjacent accredited districts under a law upheld in June by the Missouri Supreme Court.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Critics of the Missouri History Museum plan to try again on Monday to cut the amount of tax money it receives, but supporters say that changes adopted over the past year show that any problems with the museum’s operations are history.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The transfer of students from Normandy and Riverview Gardens to accredited school districts has forced a lot of dislocation and financial stress, but panelists at an education forum said Tuesday it has also prompted people to look at students in a new way.

And, insisted Chris Nicastro, Missouri’s commissioners for elementary and secondary education, despite what some people say, the process has not resulted in a mess.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri’s commissioner of education said Monday that until three years of data are available from the St. Louis Public Schools under the state’s new evaluation system, she doesn’t see a move toward restoring control of the school district to an elected board.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri board of education is asking lawmakers for another $6.8 million to help the Normandy school district survive until the end of the school year.

Without the money, state education officials say, Normandy may disappear and its students be divided up among other districts. If the legislature does not come up with the supplemental money, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not have funds to keep Normandy afloat, a spokeswoman said.

Destiny Esper
Dale Singer | St. Louis Beacon | 2012

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When classes began last month, Normandy schools lost more than 1,000 students who decided to transfer to accredited districts nearby. The district also lost a former valedictorian who had come back to her old middle school to teach.

Destiny Esper, who had studied journalism and public relations before deciding  to go into education, started her career teaching English at Normandy Middle School last year after going through the Teach for America program.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Many of the factors typically cited for dropout problem in American schools – money, overcrowding, poverty, testing – came up during a live television town hall Monday night, but the one that seemed to resonate most was more personal than institutional.

St. Louis Beacon graphic | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Anyone who wants to play what Normandy’s school superintendent calls the “MSIP game” better make sure to know the rules.

Since his district’s annual performance review score was revealed last month to be 11.1 percent – lowest in the state – Ty McNichols and other Normandy administrators have been poring over the numbers, trying to determine the best way to rise out of unaccredited territory by achieving a score of at least 50 percent.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A federal judge has ruled that mandatory drug testing for students at Linn State Technical College is unconstitutional unless they are enrolled in certain programs where drug use could pose a safety hazard.

The 62-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey is the latest in a two-year legal battle between the college, which instituted the mandatory drug testing for all students, and students who say their constitutional rights have been violated.

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