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Education

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 14, 2012 - No news is being seen as good news for supporters of the public policy studies department at Saint Louis University, which had been targeted for closure by the school's academic vice president.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 13, 2012 - When Timothy Wolfe officially arrives in Columbia this week to take his place as president of the University of Missouri system, it won't be his first association with the Mizzou campus, and he will hardly be a stranger to the city, where he grew up and was a star high school quarterback.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 13, 2012 - In her scarlet, clinging dress, mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen arched her head with gypsy attitude, hit a D and sang "Quand je vous aimerai," French for "When will I love you?" The line begins one of opera's best-known arias, the taunting habanera in Georges Bizet's "Carmen."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2012 - When we picture ourselves coping with disaster, we often imagine running to the basement where we've ideally stashed our canned food, bottled water and hand-crank radio.

But even if you're prepared at home, there's a good chance you might not be there when disaster strikes. Adding up car time and hours at work, places of worship and in numerous other activities, it's common to be away for half the day or more.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 5, 2012 - When Matthew MacEwan came to the fork in the road, he took it.

At 30, MacEwan is a Washington University medical student who is simultaneously pursuing a doctorate in biomedical engineering and the inventor of a possible medical breakthrough to speed surgical healing. Plus, he recently embarked upon an attendant business venture.

Mental health care on campus: Need up, services down

Feb 5, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 5, 2012 - More college students are arriving on campus reporting serious mental health problems and more students are threatening suicide than in the past. But some college counseling services, such as those at Southern Illinois University  Carbondale, are so understaffed that many students have to wait weeks before getting help.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 4, 2012 - National School Choice Week is ending in Missouri with a flurry of proposals that would sharply increase the number of charters, establish scholarships to private and parochial schools, solve the dilemma over students in unaccredited districts transferring to nearby schools and carve the Kansas City school district into pieces annexed by surrounding districts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 3, 2012 - Professor Teresa Guess has no love for the word race.

"It's my least favorite word in the English language," she says. "I see it as a very politically loaded concept that seems more to divide than it seems to unite."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 17, 2012 - St. Louis Public Schools have reversed two of the three problems that led to their loss of accreditation from the state and are well on their way to conquering the last one: student achievement.

That was the message brought Tuesday to the State Board of Education meeting in Jefferson City by Superintendent Kelvin Adams and Rick Sullivan, head of the state-appointed Special Administrative Board that took over the city schools in 2007.

(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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Patrick Jackson stood alone on the stage of the packed Keating Theater at Kirkwood High School last Dec. 22, with just his double bass in his arms, playing an idiosyncratic and difficult solo called "Failing."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 22, 2008 - Since early in the decade, the Missouri Optometric Association has pushed hard for legislation that requires comprehensive eye examinations for children. A bill mandating such exams for students in kindergarten or first grade finally became law in the summer of 2007 and went into effect this fall.

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