Education | St. Louis Public Radio

Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 25, 2008 - With 10 Blue Ribbon schools, a high graduation rate and 24 National Merit finalists, the Rockwood School District is one of the best in the region. It takes in several wealthy municipalities, including Chesterfield and Wildwood, in west St. Louis County and has won recognition for "Distinction in Performance" from the Missouri Department of Education.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 15, 2008 - There is a belief that minority children in our central cities are our core education problem. This ignores the basic data on how children are performing in Missouri. While it is critical to focus on minority children in central cities, Missouri's education policies have to focus on all our children.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 10, 2008 - In Columbia, Mo., this week, students, journalists and alumni step into a future enclosed in the past.

Inside an 1892 Victorian building on the University of Missouri's School of Journalism's campus sits a new glass structure. That building is part of the new Reynolds Journalism Institute, which opens both as the journalism school celebrates its 100th anniversary and as newspapers around the country cut costs, staff and newsprint.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008-  As another season gets underway for college and high school athletes across St. Louis, coaches have dreamed up - and in some cases already delivered - opening remarks to their teams.

The playbook: Start with some inspiration, then hit 'em with the serious stuff. Don't drink. Don't do drugs. Don't skip class. Increasingly, there's another element to the speech. Don't show yourself doing any of these things on Facebook or MySpace.

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 10, 2008 - What is going on with "like-and-you-know-itis"?

In recent years, an enormous percentage of our populace has begun sprinkling each spoken sentence with several "likes" and "you know's." For example: "Like, my name, like, you know, is, like, Mike, you know?"

Confluence Prep principal John Diehl 2008
Photos provided by Confluence Academy

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 30, 2008 - The logo is Matisse-like in its simplicity and complexity: a crescent, a circle and a few other geometric shapes that form a human body floating in space and reaching for a star. The image was created for Confluence Academy to evoke the charter school's mission of helping kids learn to believe, achieve and reach their dreams.

Parents and students already believe in those dreams enough to make Confluence the largest K-8 charter school system in St. Louis. This support, along with grants from groups like the Walton Foundation, has paved the way for Confluence's first high school, Confluence Preparatory Academy, which opens in mid-August.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 9, 2008 - Since opening their doors in 1999 in Kansas City and a few years later in St. Louis, charter schools have continued to claim a growing share of school-age children in these two cities. As of last fall, about 1 in every five students in each city had enrolled in charter schools, a trend cited by some as proof that charters are gaining acceptance and are producing better results than traditional public schools.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 6, 2008 - Former Mayor Barton Petersen became known as an education reformer when he did what most mayors have never been able to do. He wrested power from the city's school system by persuading the state legislature to grant the mayor statutory authority to set up charter schools in Indianapolis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 29, 2008 - How about this for our schools? One day each year every high school senior in the state should sit down for an hour and write a two or three page essay.

Then, that very day, each school should put each essay on the internet.

Webster U. professor tracks colleagues in China quake

May 14, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The first news of the big quake came to me on my mobile phone. My wife called me, cell-to-cell, and told me: Earthquake! She was evacuating with her Shanghai office mates at Accenture, the U.S. company. They had gone down the stairs, avoiding the elevators, just like 911. Outside, police tried to swish them away, thinking they were some sort of demonstration.

In Memoriam: Fr. Hagan knew my name

May 1, 2008
Andy Struckhoff Father Martin Hagan, 1919-2008, passed away the morning of April 28, at St. Louis University Hospital. Fr. Hagan began his tenure at SLUH in 1950, having joined the Society of Jesus in 1937. (300 pxels)
Andy Struckhoff | Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When I met Fr. Hagan, it was 1991. He wasn’t teaching anymore. He still ran the rifle room and Rifle Club, and he still knew everyone’s name.

In the fall of 1991, I was a freshman at SLUH. I had come from a small parochial school on the city’s south side with a graduating class of 15. Upon finding myself in a class of 250, well, let’s just say it took some adjustment: That many guys in a class wasn’t quite intimidating; it was exciting, though it was way beyond comfortable.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In the weeks since the Feb. 7 assault on the Kirkwood City Hall, a sizeable group of citizens has gathered regularly to discuss issues of race and to search for understanding and healing.  In contrast to the larger community, no groups have formed at Kirkwood High School to specifically address these issues, although the Black Achievement and Cultural Club, the Social Justice Committee and students enrolled in the alternative education program, Atlas, have discussed them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise is on a mission. He wants to see every high school student graduate, ready to succeed. The author of "Raising the Grade: How High School Reform Can Save Our Youth and Our Nation," Wise is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education, which pushes for reforms in secondary education. We caught up with him at Webster University where he spoke Tuesday.

KIPP students in Kansas City work quietly at tables.
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: KANSAS CITY — Across the street from the forward-looking kids at KIPP Endeavor Academy in Kansas City sits the other side of the coin — down-on-their-luck men who sit on a crumbling rock fence, drink wine or beer from brown paper bags, listen to a booming hip-hop beat on a car radio and watch the world pass them by. The scene is hardly uplifting for children trying to hold fast to a KIPP-inspired dream of making it out of this neighborhood and into college. But sights like these do not discourage KIPP officials.

Teacher Ricky Presberry works with a student at the KIPP Kansas City school
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: KANSAS CITY -- When he was a teacher in Kansas City public schools, Jon Richard felt frustration because the academic gains made by his fifth graders would disappear in middle school. Now Richard (pronounced ri-SHARD) is in a position to help reverse this pattern. He is a school leader for KIPP, a charter school system that has a track record for helping kids retain knowledge and attend college.

Kristi Meyer,KIPP KC math teacher, demonstrates how 5th graders use small marshmallows and toothpicks to understand vertices, ends and geometric shapes.
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: KANSAS CITY  -- One recent Monday morning at the KIPP charter school here, some fifth-graders were walking single-file down a corridor when a visitor introduced himself. Like little soldiers, they all stopped as if on cue, but one kid, apparently forgetting an unwritten rule, rested one arm against a bulletin board covered with Grade-A student essays while he listened to the visitor. At the risk of creating a fuss, friction or conflict, another student gently touched the kid’s arm and moved it away from the prized essays. The two students exchanged smiles as if to say, “this is the KIPP way,” then gave the visitor their full attention.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Following weeks of English and math drills, tens of thousands of public school students are sweating through another season of Missouri Assessment Program testing. The scores are supposed to help the public figure out, among other things, whether charter schools are as good an investment as traditional public schools.

2008 graphic
St. Louis Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: On the morning of Aug. 25, 1983, about 300 St. Louis children boarded buses for trips lasting as long as 45 minutes to schools in the Ritenour District. In some cities, the sight of black children headed for predominantly white schools in the suburbs had triggered anti-busing rallies and, in some instances, violence. But the 300 kids who rode to Ritenour schools that morning enjoyed a quiet and peaceful trip, which set the tone for the start of perhaps the largest and certainly one of the longest running school desegregation initiatives in the nation.

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