Education

Community Policing
7:27 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

In Visit With Students, Ron Johnson Says Police Need To Strengthen Ties With Community

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson speaks with students at Riverview Gardens High School.
Credit Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

When Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson was a kid, he and some of his buddies got into some mischief.

They were throwing snowballs at passing cars and then ran off to hide. Then, the police officer who patrolled Johnson’s neighborhood caught them.

“So, we put the snowballs behind our backs,” Johnson recalled.    

“Were you guys the ones throwing snowballs?” Johnson said the officer asked.

“We all said ‘no,’ even though we had the snowballs behind our backs,” Johnson said. 

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Fred Pestello
3:45 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

New President Says SLU Must Maintain Jesuit Mission

Fred Pestello receives the symbolic chain of office as president of Saint Louis University
Credit Michelle Peltier/Saint Louis University

Fred Pestello may be the first lay president of Saint Louis University, but he is hardly ignoring the school’s mission grounded in Jesuit philosophy.

At his inauguration Friday morning, Pestello told faculty, staff, students, alumni and representatives of other universities that the traditions of a Jesuit education mean that SLU must “ask the most compelling questions of our time. Our mission statement itself is a reflection of this extraordinary vocation. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and the service of humanity….

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Beyond Ferguson
4:38 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

$500,000 Awarded To Expand Tutoring For Students In Need

Gov. Jay Nixon announces the grant at UMSL with (from left) Antonio French, Maida Coleman and Jamilah Nasheed
Credit Rebecca Smith/St. Louis Public Radio

A tutoring program that now serves 150 students in north St. Louis could expand to help 350 more students in the city and north St. Louis County with the help of $500,000 in federal funds awarded by the state of Missouri.

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Charter Schools
10:06 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Missouri Charter School Commission Begins To Take Shape

Credit comedy nose | Flickr

Almost 20,000 students in St. Louis and Kansas City attended a charter school last school year. That’s nearly twice as many compared to the 2003-04 school year.  And the breadth of charter school options  could grow as the Missouri Charter Public School Commission begins to take shape.

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High School Walkout
7:55 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Vashon Students Protest Over Substitute Teachers, Textbooks

Vashon High School freshman Rochelle Mason joined other students in a walk-out over substitute teachers and quality resources.
Credit Stephanie Lecci

About 100 students from St. Louis' Vashon High School walked out of classes Friday morning to demand more full-time teachers and better textbooks.

The students also were upset about certain school policies and the hiring of a new principal.

Vashon has been under scrutiny after it earned only 28 percent of available points on the most recent report card from the state.

Substitute teachers 

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State Standards
11:55 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Should Students In Missouri Take U.S. Citizenship Test?

Credit Flickr/mrsdkrebs

Americans don’t fare that well when it comes to understanding how their government works. 

For example, 35 percent of Americans couldn’t name a single branch of the U.S. government and 20 percent thought a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration.

That's according to a survey released last week by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

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St. Louis on the Air
4:16 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Missouri Education Commissioner Talks About Normandy, Common Core, Michael Brown, More

Chris Nicastro talks before the Missouri House Budget Committee in January 2014.
Credit Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

For the last five years, Chris Nicastro has served as commissioner of Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She announced her retirement earlier this month and will step down at the end of the year.

Her tenure was marked by controversial decisions regarding school districts in north St. Louis County, including the Normandy School District, now known as the Normandy Schools Collaborative.  

St. Louis Public Radio education reporter Dale Singer spoke with Nicastro earlier this week and we aired a portion of that conversation on “St. Louis on the Air.” 

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Common Core
5:11 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

School Standards Meetings Have Contentious Start

Credit (via Flickr/evmaiden)

Depending on whose opinion you get, this week’s initial meetings to draw up new school standards for Missouri students were a “Common Core cheerleading session” or a strong-arm attempt that was “hijacked by political extremists” on the right.

Either way, the eight committees impaneled under a law passed earlier this year appear to have a long way to go to meet a deadline of having the new standards ready for approval a year from now.

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Retiring Commissioner
2:21 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Tough Grader: Nicastro Gives Her Tenure As Education Commissioner A C+

Chris Nicastro
Credit DESE website

As she moves toward her retirement after more than five years as Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, Chris Nicastro has definite thoughts about what she got done, what she would have liked to accomplish and what her successor needs to bring to the job.

She also – after just a slight hesitation – has a pretty good idea of how, as a teacher, she would grade her tenure in Jefferson City.

“Oh …. probably a C-plus,” she said during a wide-ranging interview this week at the Wainwright state office building downtown.

So you’re a tough grader?

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Unaccredited School Districts
9:56 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Riverview Gardens Lays Out Plan For School Improvement

Sixth-grader Toni Marie Young listens to a math lesson at Westview Middle School during the 2013-14 school year.
Credit Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

State education officials were in north St. Louis County Monday evening, getting an update on steps the Riverview Gardens School District is taking toward ramping up classroom success.

The unaccredited district had a 16.8 percentage point improvement on its state report card for last year, but that was 4.6 percentage points shy of the provisionally accredited range.

To earn a step up in its accreditation status, Superintendent Scott Spurgeon laid out a series of goals for the district in areas that ranged from college and career readiness to reading assessments.

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