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Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon:David Letterman isn’t the only one paying attention to Top 10 lists.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been working for a while on its Top 10 by 20 initiative, a push to bring the state into the leaders in educational achievement by the year 2020.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Faculty, staff and students got together at Saint Louis University to focus on the school’s future, but their discussions inevitably concentrated on the recent past.

Wednesday’s meeting was billed as an effort to draw up a people’s strategic plan for SLU as it nears its 200th birthday in 2018. The call to arms talked about an effort to devise a “not-so-secret” blueprint, compared with what organizers said had been put together behind closed doors by university officials, then kept under wraps.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A bill that would bring big changes to how Missouri teachers are evaluated – and how those evaluations could affect their jobs – lost big in the Missouri House last week, but those who favored the changes aren’t giving up yet.

The legislation – House bill 631 – had sailed through committee to the House floor, but when it came up for a vote last Wednesday, opposition from teachers unions, some school districts and others resulted in a lopsided defeat, 102-55.

Saint Louis University board of trustees who has been a focus of faculty discontent during the stalemate over the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, will step down from his chairmanship at the end of the school year.

Brouster told the Beacon he was leaving because his business and his family required more of his attention than he could give if he remained in the board chairmanship, which he assumed last September – the beginning of a year of tumult at the university.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Saint Louis University needs new leadership, say nearly three-fourths of the faculty members who responded to a survey taken by the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

In a news release Thursday morning, the faculty group said its survey validated earlier “no confidence” votes on the leadership of SLU President Lawrence Biondi taken by faculty and student government groups.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Instead of insisting that only the legislature, not the department of education, can adopt new national standards for Missouri schools, state Sen. John Lamping has changed course.

The new version of a bill filed by the Republican from Ladue gives the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education responsibility for conducting hearings around Missouri on what the common core state standards are, how they would change what Missouri students learn and how much they might cost to put into effect.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Saint Louis University is threatening a faculty group with a copyright infringement lawsuit if it proceeds with its own supplemental survey on the climate on campus.

The survey, which is designed to focus more sharply on the strained relationship between professors and the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, president of the university, was set to go out last week. But it is on hold because of the threatened legal action.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Questioning whether a student who is taking a course like drafting is really a danger to others, a federal judge has blocked most mandatory drug testing at Linn State Technical College.

The school instituted the testing in the fall of 2011, saying that its students are training for fields in which they will operate heavy machinery and will be in positions where impairment by drugs could pose significant threats to public safety.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Depending on who you talk to, a new tuition policy at Saint Louis University law school will either save summer students money or cause them to pay up to 60 percent more.

In recent years, summer students, who generally are those working part time toward a law degree, have paid a flat fee of $4,500 for courses, regardless of how many hours they sign up for. The new policy, which students were notified of last week, gets rid of the flat fee and instead charges $1,200 for each credit hour.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Depending on who you talk to, a new tuition policy at Saint Louis University law school will either save summer students money or cause them to pay up to 60 percent more.

In recent years, summer students, who generally are those working part time toward a law degree, have paid a flat fee of $4,500 for courses, regardless of how many hours they sign up for. The new policy, which students were notified of last week, gets rid of the flat fee and instead charges $1,200 for each credit hour.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon Beset by dwindling enrollment, cuts in government funding and free competition, the Nursery Foundation will shut down its long-time pre-school program in the Central West End on Thursday.

Founded in 1946 as one of the first integrated nursery schools in the St. Louis area, it had seen dwindling enrollment in recent years, from a peak of close to 100 two years ago down to just more than half of that in recent weeks.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Peter Downs served on the St. Louis school board for just a short time, in 2006-07, but what he saw gave him a pretty good picture of what he thinks is wrong with public education in general and the city schools in particular.

He’s put his thoughts down in a new book, “Schoolhouse Shams," that discusses situations familiar to anyone who has followed the fortunes of the city schools in recent years. But he also has views that may be surprising.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The East St. Louis schools, in chronic financial straits, need $9 million to finish out the year and meet their payroll.

Despite the state’s tight financial situation, the Illinois legislature approved the money, leaving the final say up to the state board of education.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Illinois state Board of Education Wednesday tabled a move to provide $9 million in emergency state funds to the East St. Louis school district.

The money, which has already been approved by the state legislature, was originally part of the consent agenda for the board's meeting in Belleville. But it was pulled from that larger group of items so the board could discuss it separately in closed session.

Then, unexpectedly, the board decided to table the issue without a vote.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Swayed not so much by passion as by a plan and a pledge to increase enrollment, St. Louis school Superintendent Kelvin Adams has spared Cleveland NJROTC from threatened closure.

Backtracking on a recommendation made last month – and after a similar threatened closure of the school a few years ago – Adams said that Cleveland will work to establish partnerships with several middle schools, including one charter, to boost the number of students who sign up.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Illinois state Board of Education Wednesday tabled a move to provide $9 million in emergency state funds to the East St. Louis school district.

The money, which has already been approved by the state legislature, was originally part of the consent agenda for the board's meeting in Belleville. But it was pulled from that larger group of items so the board could discuss it separately in closed session.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If students get grades in school, should the schools get grades as well?

That’s the theory behind legislation that has been passed by the Missouri House but has received a mixed reception from education groups in the state.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When my wife and I found out we were having a baby, we began looking for pediatricians. We wanted the best doctor; and because we had choices, we were able to find a pediatrician we loved. In almost every area of our lives, we have choices, but many families do not have options regarding where their children are educated.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: State Sen. John Lamping says he isn’t necessarily against the content of education standards that he is trying to block Missouri from adopting as other states proceed with them. He’s more concerned with the way the state decided to join the crowd.

And the freshman Republican from Ladue doesn’t even think his bill to prohibit the state from the putting the new standards into place will pass the General Assembly.

But he’s glad it has stirred conversation that he says is long overdue.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites --

Typically, the fate of an interim dean at Saint Louis University would be of little interest to anyone beyond the campus. But these are not typical times for SLU, and Tom Keefe is not your typical law school dean. As a result, events that might have played out as a quiet kerfuffle turned into a public circus this week.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Moving quickly to lay this week's controversies to rest, the new dean of the Saint Louis University law school has asked students to help him move "into the next phase of this great law school’s life."

In a note distributed to the student body on Thursday, former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Michael Wolff acknowledged the bad publicity raised by the resignation earlier this week of interim dean Tom Keefe amid allegations he had made comments that were politically incorrect -- or worse.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Two photos that grace the yearbook for the 1970 graduating class of University City High School show competing groups.

One depicts members of student government, while the other features a group of students who want to overthrow student government. Mary Beth Tinker is in the second photo.

Tinker’s name – and her activism for causes she believes in -- became a lot more familiar when it was attached to a landmark case that grew out of the decision by her and her brother in 1965 to wear armbands to school protesting the Vietnam War.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: At the front of the auditorium of Carr Lane Middle School the other night, for a forum featuring candidates for the elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools, stood five microphone stands.

No mikes, just stands.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rather than remain at Saint Louis University law school and accept an offer to share his post as dean with Michael Wolff, Tom Keefe says he decided to resign so that the dust-up over his remarks to students and faculty would fade away.

But Keefe insisted in an wide-ranging interview with the Beacon that though his comments may have been ill-considered and politically incorrect, they did not cross the line into sexual harassment.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Even though the St. Louis Public Schools have regained provisional accreditation, lawyers told the Missouri Supreme Court Tuesday that a case involving a law letting students who live in unaccredited districts transfer to nearby schools still needs to be decided.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Michael Wolff, former chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court and now a professor at the Saint Louis University law school, will be the school's new dean, succeeding Tom Keefe, the school announced today.

The word came in a letter to university students and faculty from Ellen Harshman, acting vice president for academic affairs. It was issued a day after Keefe's resignation as interim dean became public following reports he had been criticized for comments that had angered some at the school.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: With its newly gained provisional accreditation, the St. Louis Public Schools needs to cut spending and build up a fund balance, and Superintendent Kelvin Adams says one way to save money is to close four schools and trim other programs.

But students at one of the schools targeted for closing, Cleveland Naval Junior ROTC, made what Adams called “passionate” comments at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Special Administrative Board, calling their school a successful, special place that should stay open.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Destiny Esper says she never watched "Welcome Back, Kotter." Now, she’s living the sequel.

Four years ago, Esper was the valedictorian at Normandy High School. After graduating from Franklin College in Indiana, where she studied journalism and public relations, then going through intensive training with Teach for America, she began her classroom career this week as an English teacher at Normandy Middle School, where she once was a student.

(Flickr Creative Commons User aka Kath)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –

UPDATED 4:20 p.m. Dec. 14:

In a press release, the Illinois State Police announced that they have been asked by the Springfield Police Department to conduct an investigation into Davlin's death. The Illinois State Police will also be performing the autopsy on Dec. 15.

UPDATED 3:54 p.m. Dec. 14: From the Associated Press:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Assistant Principal Romona Miller and walking counselor Donald Smith are the two African-American authority figures at Kirkwood High School with the most contact with black students. Miller, the only black administrator at the high school, heads the Black Achievement and Culture Club, while Smith mentors a group of African-American boys called My Brothers' Keeper.

Both Miller and Smith have proud accomplishments. This spring, Miller led about 40 students on the annual college trip, this one focusing on traditionally black colleges in the South. Meanwhile, Smith's decision to mentor one student led to requests for help from others. Now more than 70 students, including many of the school's top athletes, are in the peer mentoring group that he has organized.

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