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Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “If you don’t define your terms, someone else will define them for you.” A wise teacher once taught me this. I am going to re-visit a term I used last week and unpack it with greater care: Big Data.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The board that governs the Grand Center Arts Academy decided Friday morning not to act on a request from an advisory committee that Lynne Glickert be hired as interim principal for the coming school year.

Glickert, who has been principal of the charter school since it began three years ago, has won strong support from parents at the academy since she learned last month that her contract would not be renewed because of “philosophical differences,” not performance issues.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In the wake of a Missouri Supreme Court ruling on transfers of students who live in unaccredited school districts, the state education department has advised districts to adopt policies for class sizes and for how they will determine which students to accept if they get more applicants than they can handle. These guidelines raise the question of whether districts will be able to limit how many students they accept.

From left, Samiksha Mailarpwar, Valerie Levine, Aida Bukvic and Haley Crosby work together at the event at Washington University on Jun. 6, 2013.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Take balsa wood, corrugated plastic, analytical young minds and a basic engineering problem and what do you get?

At Washington University, the result was ingenious solutions to the perennial problem of how to decrease the dependence on fossil fuels for energy and use renewables instead.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A new nationwide survey that rates teacher-preparation programs gave many of them poor grades, saying that they are doing a dismal job in preparing a new generation of classroom leaders at a time when schools are developing more rigorous courses of study.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A newly formed advisory committee at Grand Center Arts Academy voted Monday to ask that an interim principal be appointed – and it was clear that most members of the panel, and the dozens of people in the audience want the job filled by Lynne Glickert.

Glickert, who led the school from the start, learned last month that she would no longer be principal, though she says she has never been given reasons why the Confluence Academy board, which runs the academy, dismissed her.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri Supreme Court has unanimously rejected a lower court ruling in the St. Louis school transfer case, saying that a St. Louis County circuit judge must once again take up the issue over whether students who live in an unaccredited school district should be able to transfer, with their home district paying the tuition.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri’s Boys State and Girls State will mark a national first over the next few weeks, as they host an expected 37 high school and college students from China – 16 boys and 21 girls – who will join the hundreds of Missouri teens who participate in the student-government program.

xxDale Singer | St. Louis Beacon People tour the new St. Louis University Law School building Downtown, with the St. Louis skyline and Gateway Arch in the background.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When students show up for the new school year at the Saint Louis University law school downtown, they won’t have to look too far to be reminded of what their education is all about.

They will make up the first classes in the new law school building at 100 N. Tucker Boulevard. What was an 11-story building, now with a 12th floor added, features dramatic views of downtown landmarks to the east and the civil and circuit courthouses to the south as well as the federal Eagleton courthouse.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – In a bit of political theater, the Senate deadlocked over rival bills Thursday on student loan interest rates -- setting the stage for backroom talks to prevent a doubling of the rate for new student loans on July 1.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Grand Center Arts Academy says that despite protests, it will not rehire Lynne Glickert as its principal, but Louise Losos will not be principal beginning next month either.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Even though the Rev. Lawrence Biondi has asked the Saint Louis University board of trustees to begin looking for his successor, he still inspires a mixed reaction – praise for what he has accomplished but also a wariness about the harm he could still do to those who have challenged his administration.

Students and counselors meet on the opening day of St. Louis Graduates'  High School to College Center.
Barlow Photography

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Christian Coffman, 17, just graduated from Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School and is looking forward to studying accounting at the University of Missouri at Kansas City in the fall.

“I’m the first in my family to go to college,” said Coffman. “There’s a lot of questions I need answers to like how I’m going to pay for it, if I’m able to take a job while studying and just advice on being independent.”

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.

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