Education

University of Missouri system President Mike Middleton prepares to testify Wednesday before the Joint Committee on Education.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

After nationally watched protests over race relations and the departure of key officials, the leaders of the University of Missouri system promised lawmakers that change is on the way.

But legislators on the Joint Committee on Education questioned whether the four-campus system’s direction was truly righted – especially since a controversial professor is still employed at Mizzou.

Edward T. (Tad) Foote II helped start New City School, worked on desegregation plan and headed the Washington University School of Law.
Provided by the University of Miami

Edward T. Foote II was a fellow who took on extraordinarily complex problems and proceeded to solve them, sometimes leaving friends and family wondering how he successfully navigated such dangerous waters, and just as often, secretly wondering why he took on the jobs he did.

Mr. Foote, formerly of St. Louis, died Monday in a nursing home in Cutler Bay, Fla., of complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 78 years old.

It happens every year around this time.

Outstanding high school athletes get up in front of their peers and announce which of the colleges that have been vying for their services they will attend in the fall, and proud alumni tally their school’s take. Signing day is a big deal for anyone who follows college sports.

David Russell, who retires at the end of this month as Missouri’s higher education commissioner, would like to see the same fervor and excitement around academics, not just athletics.

State school board President Charlie Shields and education Commissioner Margie Vandeven listen to Tuesday's discussion.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of progress made by schools in St. Louis and Riverview Gardens, state education officials want appointed boards to continue in both districts for another three years.

For those following the unrest at the University of Missouri last fall, Melissa Click became a household name after she confronted a student trying to record a gathering of students on a campus quadrangle, shoving the student’s camera and calling for muscle to have him removed from the area.

UMSL Chancellor Tom George joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss financial issues at the university and what's in the works going forward.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor Tom George is under pressure. This year, the school must find a way to fill a $15 million-sized hole in the budget — and that means layoffs. Who or how many will be laid off remains to be seen.

In November, George announced that instead of seeing a 2 percent increase in enrollment, the university actually saw an enrollment decrease of about four percent and that was the root cause of the shortfall.

A student panel discusses diversity efforts at the University of Missouri Board of Curators meeting on Feb. 5, 2016
Stay Tuned/Nine Network of Public Media

The interim president of the University of Missouri said Friday that the school has to stop looking backward at the recent turmoil and concentrate on moving forward on issues of race and diversity.

But before he spoke, a student panel told members of the Board of Curators that such progress won’t happen until university leaders pay more attention to what students want and need.

The columns at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

After demonstrators interrupted a meeting of the University of Missouri Board of Curators Thursday to restate their demands that led to the resignation of President Tim Wolfe, the curators got down to the business of how to choose Wolfe’s replacement.

About two dozen representatives of the group Concerned Student 1950 -- which was instrumental in the protest that led to Wolfe’s departure in November as well as the demotion of Mizzou Chancellor R. Brady Loftin -- entered the curators’ meeting at the Alumni Center on the Columbia campus about 15 minutes after it began.

Washington University

Nine months after contract talks with newly unionized adjunct instructors began at Washington University, negotiators have tentative agreements on a dozen workplace issues.

But the thornier issues of salary and benefits still remain to be settled.

Former UM curator David Steward
University of Missouri

As they set tuition rates for the next school year, deal with the continued fallout from the resignation of a president and begin the process to find his replacement, the University of Missouri Board of Curators will operate at two-thirds strength.

All six of the seats on the board that usually has nine members will be filled by white lawyers, who will have to deal with the issues of race that prompted protests in Columbia and echoes throughout the four-campus system. And it could be mid-May at the earliest before any new members join the board.

Yvonne Sparks of St. Louis (left) was sworn in as a member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators in December. She resigned from the board this week.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:10 a.m. Monday with Steward resignation and statement, Graham still on board:

Now the St. Louis area has just one representative on the University of Missouri Board of Curators. And all of the members are white

Following last week's resignation of Yvonne Sparks from St. Louis, David Steward of St. Louis County, a  founder of World Wide Technology, has also resigned from the board. Gov. Jay Nixon's office confirmed the news Monday, releasing this statement:

Students from Jefferson elementary schools cheer for the Normandy school board Thursday night, Jan. 28, 2016
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

On an evening when students in the Normandy Schools Collaborative expressed appreciation for their appointed board, the board voted to try to get more active involvement from the community at large.

Members of the Joint Executive Governing Board voted unanimously Thursday night to set up a community engagement group designed to help set long-term goals for the unaccredited district.

Jennings Superintendent Tiffany Anderson takes her turn as a crossing guard.
Jennings School District

Updated 7:10 p.m. Friday with Anderson being hired in Topeka, her comments: Tiffany Anderson, whose leadership in the Jennings school district since 2012 resulted in its earning full accreditation, will become the new superintendent of schools in Topeka, Kan., starting July 1.

The head of the school board in Topeka, Patrick Woods, made the announcement late Friday. Anderson had been one of two finalists for the job.

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

The chancellor of the University of Missouri-St. Louis says a $15 million hole in the campus’ budget, prompted by reductions in state support and student enrollment, will probably lead to layoffs later this year.

Washington University

Donors to Washington University are giving more than anticipated – and students will be paying more in the fall as well.

The university said Thursday that it is ahead of its timetable for its $2.2 billion fund-raising campaign slated to end on Dec. 31, 2018, so it is raising its goal to $2.5 billion. As of the end of last month, the university said, alumni, parents and others had contributed $2.12 billion to the campaign, which is titled “Leading Together.”

Deer visit the SIU-Edwardsville campus.
Pete Burzynski | Flickr | 2007

The interim chancellor of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville insists that his campus is financially strong and will not close because of the state’s budget stalemate.

But Stephen Hansen wrote to his colleagues at SIUE that he expects the political rhetoric between Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers to escalate as the spending standoff moves toward a critical point.

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

Does the method of electing the Ferguson-Florissant school board discriminate against African-Americans? Or would proposed changes give them less power than they have now, not more?

After listening to arguments on both sides, it will be up to a federal judge to decide whether board members should be elected from districts, not at large as they are now.

Dwaun Warmack is installed as president of Harris-Stowe State University in April 2015.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

After compiling a solid record of achieving goals needed to get extra money from the state of Missouri, Harris-Stowe State University met only one out of five of the necessary criteria in its most recent evaluation.

Data from the state Department of Higher Education shows that in its first year under President Dwaun Warmack, Harris-Stowe met only the performance target of having a higher percentage of first-time full-time freshmen students successfully complete 24 credit hours.

Interim President Mike Middleton addresses the University of Missouri Board of Curators
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 12:35 p.m. Thursday with details of search - A committee of more than a dozen people from all four campuses of the University of Missouri will lead the search for a new president of the system.

The board of curators, meeting by teleconference on Wednesday, decided that a search firm would also be hired to find a successor to Tim Wolfe, who resigned his position in November after prolonged protests on the Columbia campus. In the meantime, Mike Middleton will continue serving as acting president.

school buses
Flickr

JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri state board of education unanimously approved on Tuesday a framework for an accelerated review of the accreditation status of the Riverview Gardens School District.

But a key question that hangs over the whole process remains unsettled: What happens to students who have transferred from the district under state law if its status is upgraded?

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon (center) talks with state board member John Martin (left) and deputy education commissioner Ron Lankford at the state school board meeting in October 2015.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:55 p.m. Monday with Adams not getting L.A. job: St. Louis schools will get another hearing by the state school board Tuesday on their request for an upgrade to full accreditation, while board members will also discuss a framework that could lift Riverview Gardens up to provisional accreditation.

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

Are African-American voters in the Ferguson-Florissant school district shortchanged because board members there are elected at-large? Or would dividing the district into subdistricts actually weaken the clout of black voters, not increase it?

Joseph Davis superintendent candidate 1.29.15
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Updated at 9:12 a.m. Jan. 8 with comment from school board: A report by the state auditor in North Carolina says that Joseph Davis, who now is superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, misspent money when he was in charge of the Washington County schools in that state.

Kelvin Adams 2012
courtesy St. Louis Public Schools

Kelvin Adams, who has been superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools since 2008, has surfaced as a candidate for the top school job in Los Angeles.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Los Angeles Times said Wednesday that a five-hour meeting to choose a new superintendent Tuesday ended with no consensus. But, it added, “sources have said that the shortlist has included LA Chief Deputy Superintendent Michelle King and St. Louis Superintendent Kelvin Adams.”

St. Louis County Library

Uh-oh. You just found a long-overdue library copy of “Hop on Pop” wedged deep under your child’s bed, and you don’t relish the thought of paying as much in fines as it would have cost to buy the book in the first place.

If the book was checked out from the St. Louis County Library, you can relax. As of New Year’s Day, the library has decided that children’s books, CDs and DVDs are exempt from overdue fines.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In August, 9-year-old Jamyla Bolden was fatally shot in north St. Louis County while doing homework in her mother’s bedroom. She was a student at Koch Elementary, part of the Riverview Gardens School District, where school administrators have been working to bring hope to the students coping with the loss of their classmate.

Stephanie Zimmerman

Even as hundreds of students living in the Normandy school district continue transferring to nearby accredited schools, challenges to a court ruling in the longstanding case continue.

The next court date will be Feb. 9 in the Missouri Court of Appeals. At issue is whether the state board of education acted properly in classifying Normandy as accredited when the district became the Normandy Schools Collaborative at the start of the 2014-15 school year.

File photo

After two successes in the General Assembly and two vetoes by Gov. Jay Nixon, Missouri lawmakers will consider once more what changes can be made to the state’s student transfer law.

Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, who has been active on the issue as head of the the Senate Education Committee, has pre-filed one of three bills dealing with the transfers. St. Louis area Democrats – Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal of University City and Sen. Scott Sifton of Affton – have filed the others.

Riverview Gardens students sing before a public hearing on the district in December 2015.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

A mandatory state hearing on the status of the Riverview Gardens school district Thursday night turned into a cheerleading session on the progress the unaccredited district has shown over the past two years.

But the question of whether it will win the upgrade it has asked for, to provisional accreditation, remains unsettled.

Students at Jamaa Learning Center. The charter school, under the sponsorship of the University of Missouri-Columbia, will close at the end of the current school year.
Jamaa Learning Center Facebook with permission

Update 11:45 a.m., Dec. 17 with parent reaction. After five years dedicated to helping “educate and empower students and families” – but losing its charter from its sponsor – Jamaa Learning Center will close its doors at the end of the current school year.

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