Back in December, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon merged into a new organization. We know that you listen to us on air and check our website for news and information about our region. We hope that you look at our website every day, but we know that's not always possible. So, once a week, on Friday, we will highlight some of the website's top stories of the week.
Happy birthday, St. Louis
You don't turn 250 every day.
On the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis, we thought it appropriate to celebrate the people and events St. Louis has contributed to the country and the world.
So, you think you know St. Louis? Take our highly unscientific quiz to see just how deep your St. Louis Soul is.
Education and innovation
It's now up to the Missouri legislature to solve the problem of unaccredited districts and student transfers, both in the short and in the long term. The most immediate issue: the Normandy School District. Without an influx of $5 million from the state, Normandy School faces bankruptcy -- and dissolution -- this spring. As educators and legislators try to deal with the basics, others in education and business are innovating, and that sense of experimentation shouldn't get lost.
One bill, part of a supplemental appropriations request, would provide $5 million in emergency funds for Normandy to help the district finish out the year. The other would result in districts that have received tuition payments for students transferring from unaccredited Normandy paying back some of that money to the district. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, has introduced both bills.
If Normandy School District goes bankrupt and its students are sent to other area schools, the effect would be dramatic both financially and educationally, according to a study released Tuesday by the group EducationPlus. Don Senti, executive director of the group made up of area school superintendents – said that the demise of Normandy would create a domino effect among other districts on the borderline of moving down the accreditation scale, either to provisionally accredited or unaccredited.
JEFFERSON CITY -- From the start of Monday’s six-hour session considering a variety of ways to help struggling schools, the head of the Missouri board of education emphasized that the state is concerned about long-range, broad-based policy, not the operations of individual districts. But as board members heard a number of presentations on suggested reforms, the talk returned time and again to the current transfers out of unaccredited school districts and the impact on the students who live there.
Rapid-fire changes in technology have the potential to turn education on its head, and Lodge McCammon thinks that can be a good thing. “Because the technology is going to be so ingrained and fluid, we won’t really have to teach students how to use technology so much as how to reflect on their own learning and use it in smart ways,” he said.
Have an idea but no tools to develop it? There may soon be a place in St. Louis where entrepreneurs and hobbyists can turn their plans into reality. TechShop, a company already in seven U.S. cities, provides space, industrial equipment and classes for both amateur and professional inventors.
No question, this winter has been brutal. Its severity has underscored a longstanding issue in St. Louis County -- the lack of a permanent homeless shelter. We look at what happens when people, particularly in the county, are homeless and where they can turn.
This winter, St. Louis County did something it hadn't done before - it opened a temporary shelter where homeless men and women could go to get out of the cold. It's a small piece of a 10-year plan to battle homelessness that St. Louis city and County signed onto in 2004. But obstacles remain to implementing the rest of the ideas in that document.
Campaigns and elections
Both Missouri's state Republican Party and Democratic Party have new chairmen, with very distinct outlooks and strategies for success. In 2014, and 2016, Republicans are hoping to duplicate their success in 2010 while Democrats are looking to 2012 for inspiration.
Within a few weeks, it’s Show-Me time for Missouri’s two major political parties — the Republicans and Democrats – as they showcase their new chairmen and their biggest stars for what could be a crucial election year. At a time when the public is increasingly turning away from organized political parties and classifying themselves as independents, it’s still largely up to the political parties and their networks to round up the contenders to run for office.
St. Louis on the Air
Local Harvest Grocery, Café & Catering, Katie's Pizzeria and Pasta and TrackBill are all St. Louis-based companies that have used creative and innovative ways to finance themselves. As one source said, with consumer businesses, the marketing value of crowdfunding can be greater than the value of the money raised.
Crowdfunding is not something to be undertaken lightly. If you do begin a crowdfunding campaign, one business professor said, “Play to win. You should never just throw out a campaign and see what happens. That can reflect negatively on you as a manager.”
It's official -- at least if you read the cover of Rolling Stone. Pope Francis is a rock star. St. Louis on the Air explored the changes that Francis is sparking within the church and the faithful.
In the 11 months since Pope Francis began his papacy, he has gained widespread approval and a reputation for shaking things up. Three theological studies professors from Saint Louis University joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh Wednesday to discuss the pope’s popularity as well as his vision for the future of the Catholic Church.