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Education

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The first time Ken Parker stepped onto the Saint Louis University campus was in November 1990, when he attended an academic conference there.

“I have a distinct memory of stepping out of the Busch Student Center,” he recalls, “looking across Grand and thinking, ‘I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk on this campus every day.’ It wasn’t a very attractive place.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – If Congress doesn’t take action by July 1, many of the 57,000 college students in Missouri and 337,000 in Illinois who are getting new federal student loans will be saddled with more debt than they had bargained for.

That’s because the interest rates on those loans are scheduled to double – to 6.8 percent, from the current 3.4 percent – if there is no stopgap or permanent fix by then. A temporary fix last year kept the rates at the current level, but will expire at the end of June.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Once the initial flurry of news and reaction over the Rev. Lawrence Biondi’s decision to step down as president of Saint Louis University was over, the natural next journalistic step was a look back at his career: What did he do right? What did he do wrong? How will his tenure be remembered?

Antionette Carroll
Provided by Ms. Carroll | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: By directing her great passion in advertising, design and the arts to advocating for what she seed as crucial social issues, Antionette D. Carroll, a 2007 Sue Shear Fellow and graduate of the 21st Century Leadership Academy, has been named the 2013 Amethyst Award honoree.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - The long-anticipated appearance by the president and the chairman of the board of Saint Louis University before its Faculty Senate Tuesday was described by professors as civil but not necessarily a session that answered all of their concerns about the SLU administration.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Ah, the end of the academic year. Amid all the pomp, it is a good time to reflect on the circumstances surrounding college education. Higher education is under attack from many sides.  Let’s start with student debt.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Faculty senate meetings at Saint Louis University have been open to reporters this year as the senate voted no confidence in the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the school’s president, and sought his resignation.

But Tuesday, when Biondi and the new leaders of the SLU board of trustees are set to meet with the senate, no media will be allowed. A university spokeswoman said the meeting was being closed to anyone but members of the faculty “per agreement of those involved the meeting.” Biondi said earlier this month that he would be stepping down.

KIPP 2012 map scores
Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When DeTony Thomas was in fourth grade, four long years ago, he went to a school that sounds like the model for a badly clichéd movie about the problems with modern urban education.

He saw a new fight every day, he says, and there wasn’t a whole lot of homework. “It was too easy and boring,” he says.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Shearwater High School, a charter school established three years ago to give students who had dropped out a second chance at a diploma, announced Friday that it is shutting down at the end of the current school year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri is moving ahead with developing a system to evaluate how well teachers are doing their jobs, but parents and others interested in public schools shouldn’t count on seeing the results.

Instead, education officials say, the results will be used only by schools and districts to help make their teachers better. And another system being developed by the state is designed to help ensure that would-be teachers have what it takes to succeed before they even get their certification.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Help Wanted:

Midwestern Jesuit university seeking new president. The leading candidate needs to be scholarly, collaborative and respectful of colleagues, able to resist a corporate attitude but still be skillful in raising money, recognize and deal with the coming crisis in higher education, handle disagreement without being disagreeable. President does not have to be a Jesuit but must appreciate, understand and be able to embody the Jesuit mission of the university.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As he begins his third stint as head of the Saint Louis University board of trustees, J. Joe Adorjan wants to make a few points clear.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After Gov. Jay Nixon announced the introduction of Western Governors University Missouri, WGU president Robert Mendenhall met with representatives of other colleges and universities in the state at last month’s meeting of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

He said he knew that other schools might be skeptical.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Saint Louis University campus barely had time to digest the news that the Rev. Lawrence Biondi plans to leave after more than 25 years as president before its attention turned to the next issues:

Who will the new president be? What qualities should she or he have? How will the search process unfold? Whose voices will be heard? The university has given no details of how the search will proceed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: One goal for all is not likely to be an equitable system. We should push back against the Common Core imposition with teacher professional development, socio-culturally responsive curricula, and project-, performance-, and portfolio-based assessments work at the most local level.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Imagine watching prime time TV and suddenly seeing Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appearing in a 30-second ad – and it isn’t even an election year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Rev. Lawrence Biondi announced Saturday night at a gala celebrating his 25 years as president of Saint Louis University that he will leave his office and has asked the university's board to start searching for his successor.

The announcement comes at the end of a strife-filled year during which faculty members and students voted no confidence in his leadership.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri’s top education officials are doing their best to dispel what they say are common misconceptions about common core school standards.

In emails, conference calls, online videos and meetings in each of the state’s eight congressional districts, personnel from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education fanned out to explain what the standards are, what they aren’t and how they are designed to help Missouri students score higher on standardized tests.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Winifred Crock devotes herself to music in every aspect of her life, and with every rehearsal or private lesson, enriches the lives of her students. The Parkway Central High School Orchestra Director will be named the St. Louis Symphony’s 2013 Educator of the Year later this week and, as a strong supporter of the symphony, is thrilled.

Commentary: If Biondi is so bad, why didn't faculty object earlier?

May 3, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Now that the weather is nice again, students and faculty will be found outside protesting President Biondi as they did in the fall.

Protesting Fr. Biondi seems to be a new tradition at SLU. It certainly has not always been the case during his 25 year tenure.

This raises the reasonable question, why the strong objections to Fr. Biondi’s leadership now? He hasn’t changed, has he?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: At the start of Thursday’s regional education summit to determine the best way to help more St. Louis area residents earn college degrees, Danny Ludeman stepped to the microphone, took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves.

That pretty much summarized the message of speakers for the next five hours: Everybody involved – from education, business, government, civic groups and others – needs to get down to work quickly if they want to meet a goal of having the area move into the top 10 nationwide in college degrees by the year 2025. It is now ranked 14th.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: What do a fourth grader at Jackson Park Elementary School and legendary African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson have in common? Determination. Courage. Confidence. They both overcame barriers that many could not. They both felt different and did something about it.

Fourth grader Xavier Morgan-Gillard told his story in “What Jackie Robinson and I Have in Common” and entered the essay in the Major League Baseball and Scholastic Inc. 2013 Breaking Barriers in Sports, In Life contest, which drew 18,700 submissions. He, along with three other students, won first place.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Rev. Lawrence Biondi, president of Saint Louis University, did not attend the school’s Faculty Senate meeting as originally scheduled on Tuesday, but his presence was definitely felt.

Much of the meeting was spent discussing the draft of a senate report that found Biondi’s leadership was subpar, a reason for what a task force found to be SLU’s decline in many areas. His style was characterized as management by intimidation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: George Wasson, who resigned as president of the Meramec campus of St. Louis Community College in the wake of an alleged assault on a student that was not publicized, will be paid more than $25,700 for unspecified duties until his contract expires at the end of next month.

In a statement released by the college, Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey, who oversees all four campuses of the school, said she had accepted Wasson’s resignation, effective immediately. But, she said, Wasson was “asked to remain available for unfinished actions commenced by him, and in exchange he was placed on paid administrative leave until his contract expires June 30, 2013.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Have you heard the one about the small town that had a hard time supporting one lawyer but had no trouble supporting two?

That joke drew a big laugh from Mike Wolff, the new dean of the Saint Louis University law school. At the end of a strife-filled year that hasn’t provided much even to smile about, Wolff is pushing to put the past behind him and the school and plot a future that includes a new building, a new push to integrate the school and the community and new ways to prepare future lawyers for careers that will require a range of professional skills beyond simply waging pitched battles in court.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Rev. Lawrence Biondi, president of Saint Louis University, and Thomas Brouster, head of the university's board of trustees, will not meet with the Faculty Senate as planned on Tuesday, senate president Mark Knuepfer said Saturday.

In a strongly worded statement, Knuepfer said the secretary of the SLU board had told him that the pair would not be attending the final senate meeting of the year, as agreed upon in a statement released after the board meeting in December.

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.

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