Tim Lloyd

Reporter and Co-Host of We Live Here

Tim Lloyd grew up north of Kansas City and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Since joining St. Louis Public Radio in 2012, he has won eight Edward R Murrow Awards in categories that include Writing, Hard News, Continuing Coverage, Use of Sound and Sports Reporting.  In 2015 he won the Education Writers Association's national award for best beat reporter, broadcast.  In 2010 he received the national Debakey Journalism Award and in 2009 he won a Missouri Press Association award for Best News Feature.  Previously, he launched digital reporting efforts for Harvest Public Media, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded collaboration between Midwestern NPR member stations that focuses on agriculture and food issues.  His stories have aired on a variety of stations and shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, ​Marketplace, Only A Game and Here and Now.  

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Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Missouri students took a new MAP test in the spring, but results released Tuesday show that the achievement gap between all students and disadvantaged students persists.

According to figures released at the meeting of the state board of education in Jefferson City, students who are black, Hispanic, low-income, disabled or English language learners -- known in education language as a "super subgroup" --  lagged behind students as a whole in all four content categories measured: English, math, science and social studies.

Willis Arnold / St. Louis Public Radio

This isn’t the Ferguson show.

It’s a mantra we adopted when we launched We Live Here back in February.  Now, to be clear, Ferguson is what prompted St. Louis Public Radio to start this show in the first place.  No doubt about it. But racial and economic fault lines stretch far beyond a north St. Louis County municipality with 21,000 residents.   Peering into — and exploring ways to bridge — those deep, historic divides is what this show is all about. 

A classroom inside of Eliiot Elementary. The sub-ceiling is down, paint is stripped off the walls, all the copper is out of the building and the alarm system’s been ripped out.
Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Virginia Savage can remember being a nervous fourth grader walking into Marshall Elementary for the first time in the Ville neighborhood in north St. Louis.    

“It was a great school to me,” Savage said. “And when it shut down, I was hurt.”

Left vacant for six years, the building now has vines crawling into the broken windows that fill Marshall's once stately facade. Savage lives nearby and sees something much worse than a crumbling building.     

“Drug dealers, drug users, eyesore. That’s what I see,” Savage said.

File photo

Updated at 4:10 p.m. with Nixon news conference:

Gov. Jay Nixon said Friday he is vetoing this year’s attempt at a school transfer bill because it doesn’t solve the problems of unaccredited Missouri school districts and it creates new difficulties for public education.

Gov. Jay Nixon's criticism of the legislature was relatively low key. 5.15.15
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated at 9:30 am on Friday, June 6.   

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans to veto this year’s version of a school transfer bill, legislative sources said Thursday.

Judy Baxter, via Flickr

The rationale for a new collaboration between public school districts in the St. Louis area and Missouri’s association of charter schools can be summed up in five words:

Charter schools are public schools.

Melvin Bain, a homeless Navy veteran, says a criminal record that included nonviolent offenses that he says makes it hard for him to find a job and get back on his feet.
Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Let’s say you’ve been arrested for something minor, like misdemeanor trespassing.  Odds are that you’ll plead guilty; that’s what court data indicate.  And in this hypothetical situation, we’ll say that you’re able to come up with the money to pay the fine.  You figure this alleged transgression is behind you, and now you can move on with your life.

But not so fast. Even pleading guilty to a misdemeanor can come with some other penalties.  These are called collateral consequences, and they're the focus of this episode of We Live Here.

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

Proponents of a fix to Missouri's student transfer process scored a victory last week when they passed a bill that addresses the problem. Among the options parents would have to educate their children are expanded opportunities to enroll their children in full-time virtual schools. But the new potential new choices are raising questions about who will make sure that virtual schools are up to snuff.

State law already requires that virtual schools — which do not have brick and mortar buildings and offer classwork online —  have to meet a list of qualifications that includes having Missouri-certified teachers and offering courses that align with state curriculum standards. But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Wood, R-Versailles, said the legislation doesn’t make clear whose job it is to ensure virtual schools are following the rules.      

From left, SheRon Chaney helps her daughters Anandra and BrenNae with homework at their dining room table.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

This week lawmakers put a bill on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk that’s supposed to fix the state’s student transfer law that doesn't include a hard cap on how much receiving districts can charge.

A lack of a tuition cap has rekindled concerns that the cost of student transfers will bankrupt the Normandy school district. And for the Chaney family, who St. Louis Public Radio profiled back in May of last year, it’s just the latest twist in what’s been a roller coaster ride.

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

Whether it's maintaining privacy online, or knowing how connected students are at home, even well-funded school districts can have a hard time keeping up with the speed of digital change. With that in mind, superintendents and administrators from more than 35 districts across the Midwest will gather for The Future Ready Regional Summit in St. Louis Tuesday to share ideas on how to weave technology into classroom instruction.

Family attorney Anthony Gray announces that the parents of Michael Brown have filed a civil lawsuit in the Aug. 9, 2014, shooting death of their son Michael. In back from left are attorney Daryl Parks, mother Lesley McSpadden and father Michael Brown Sr.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The parents of Michael Brown filed a wrongful death suit Thursday against the city of Ferguson, former Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Brown.

Attorney Benjamin Crump pointed to a U.S. Department of Justice report that uncovered racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department.

From bottom left: St. Louis area residents Bala Anant, Will Johnson, Derrick Hopgood and his daughter Skylyn. Anne Cody, Lisa Heimberger and Brandy Bold.
Photo of Gateway Arch from Francisco Diez | Flickr, additional photos from Joseph Leahy and Kaitlyn Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

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Let’s be honest, talking about race can be tough — even nerve-racking for some.  

Often the conversation comes with trap doors leading to potentially awkward moments. It’s that fear of a misstep, perhaps, that nudges people into sidestepping clear language about race.

Robbyn Wahby, head of the Missouri Charter School Commission
Courtesy Robbyn Wahby

The Missouri Charter Public School Commission has hired St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s top education adviser as its first-ever executive director. Robbyn Wahby has worked with the mayor’s office on school reform policy since 2001, when charter schools first started taking root in the city. She will start her new job in early May.

Will Rivers and Brandon King on the scene at the race summit
Courtesy Jane Bannester / Ritneour High School.

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Now that we've looked at the jigsaw puzzle of St. Louis County, we consider the children. In a place where people from different backgrounds — and especially different races — seldom live next to each other, we ask the question: What does that mean for kids?

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

The high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high in America of 81 percent, and in Missouri it climbed to 85.7 percent during the 2013-14 school year. As more students earned high school diplomas, the gap between graduation rates for white and minority students also began to narrow, both nationally and in Missouri.

St. Louis Public Schools


(Updated at 9 p.m., 3/10/15)

St. Louis Public Schools is reconsidering its discipline policy following a report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA that found the district suspended roughly 29 percent of African-American grade school students at least once during the 2011-12 school year.


Missouri suspends African-American grade school students at a higher rate than any other state in the country.  This was a key finding in a national report issued last week by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA.  But troubled districts have been making some progress.

Margie Vandeven, Missouri commissioner of elementary and secondary education, visits with students in Warren County.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Margie Vandeven has been Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education for less than two months, but she’s hardly a newcomer to the state’s schools.

(via St. Louis Public Schools)

(Updated Fri., Feb. 20) Angel Matthews decided to leave the Riverview Gardens School District after her cousin, who graduated from the district’s high school, had trouble enrolling in college.

“She was told her diploma didn’t mean anything because it wasn’t accredited,” Mathews said. “So she had to get her GED to go to the school she wanted to go to. I decided I’d rather go to an accredited school and take advantage of the opportunities they have.”

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Tim Lloyd welcome St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman to the show.

Zimmerman grew up in St. Louis County — attending Clayton schools — before attending Claremont McKenna University and Harvard Law School. He worked for Attorney General Jay Nixon and former Gov. Bob Holden before getting elected to a state House seat in 2006.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time, two St. Louis city schools -- Nottingham Community Access Job Training High School and Busch Middle School of Character – have earned the label “Missouri School of Character.”  A total of 11 St. Louis area schools received the designation this year.      

In the St. Louis Public Schools, the designation comes after staff at the two schools spent years proving that their focus on students' character improved academic achievement, student behavior and created a school environment that championed learning.

Students talk about racial issues during a panel discussion at Ritenour High School on Feb. 25, 2015.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 2:55 p.m., Wed., Feb. 25)

Students from across the St. Louis area regrouped this morning as a follow-up to a first of its kind race summit last month.  

At the initial event, students voted on what they thought was the best solution to bridge racial divides in the St. Louis area. The winning idea was to create a sister-school program. Students from matched schools would temporarily "exchange" schools as a way to build relationships and understanding.   

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Schools' plan to turn around its lowest performing schools is starting to take root, but plenty of work remains. That was the message delivered to the district’s Special Administrative Board (SAB) by Superintendent Kelvin Adams on Wednesday evening.

“I’d say it’s about a seven or eight out of 10,” Adams said, when asked how schools are progressing. “Right now it’s preliminary.  We’re only about five months into this.”

NathanReed / Flickr

Cheap living, a network of startup incubators and a couple of hometown success stories have raised St. Louis’ profile among investors looking to get in early on the next big thing.

Though much of the focus has been on financial services, the life sciences and agriculture, momentum is building in another field -- education. And even though plans are still being drawn up, an effort is underway to harness local startup energy toward improving classroom success.

At the same time, questions linger about what education should look like in the digital age.

Eighth-grade communications arts teacher, Kate Berger, leads students through a classroom exercise at South City Preparatory
Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio


(Updated Feb. 18 with details on South City Prep's new location and the closing of Construction Careers Center High School.)

A stream of eighth graders flowed into Kate Berger’s classroom at South City Preparatory Academy.  College and university banners line classroom walls and hang from ceilings.           

“Find yourself,” the language arts teacher told students.  “Go to where you need to be.”

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon sits with school children from Marion Elementary School as they discuss the school's "Lead the Way," program in Overland, Missouri on January 22, 2015. Lead the Way is a project-based program that provides hands-on learning exp
Bill Greenblatt | UPI / UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon sat in the library of Marion Elementary School in the Ritenour School District as fifth graders learned about the robots they would build this semester.

The class is part of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a national nonprofit that uses hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The overwhelming number of Missouri schools with PLTW programs offer it only at the high school level. Nixon was at the school to promote his plan to expand this type of learning into 350 grade-school classrooms across the state.  

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The deep economic and racial divides in the St. Louis-area’s education system take a devastating toll on children and neighborhoods. But there are strategies that can help ensure all young people have an equal chance for success. This was a central theme during Tuesday night’s Ferguson Commission meeting on education inequality and child well being.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

Washington University has rolled out a blueprint for making the highly regarded school more accessible for low-income students.

“For Washington University to take its place as one of the great institutions of this country, we have to make sure we’re doing our part to provide opportunity,” said Provost Holden Thorp. 

Thorp said the initiative will reduce the number of students who are not admitted because they can’t afford a tuition that will top $47,000 next fall.    

“We will be doing less of that in the future,” he said.

Tiffany Anderson appears before the state board of education in Jefferson City Tuesday.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Updated at 11:33 a.m. with testimony at board meeting:

Riding the crest of improvement on the state’s annual evaluation, Jennings Superintendent Tiffany Anderson sees full accreditation and further gains in the future for the north St. Louis County district.

And Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon, whose district is now the only one in Missouri that is unaccredited, says his staff have laid the foundation for classroom success.   

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Commission member Brittany Packnett opened the meeting with a clear message: “This work isn’t about making people comfortable, it’s about telling the truth.”

And during Saturday’s forum at the Florissant Valley campus of St. Louis Community College, young people responded.

“We’ve been saying for so many months that we want our voices to be heard, and finally, someone has listened” said Rasheen Aldridge, who at 20-years-old is the youngest member of the commission.