Education

Judy Baxter, via Flickr

Groups that have been meeting for the past year to come up with new standards for Missouri schools have turned their homework in to state education officials.

Where those standards go from here is the next big test.

With class canceled due to a teacher strike, East St. Louis students spend school hours outside district offices Thurs. Oct. 1, 2015.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Updated Thursday, Oct. 1,  2015

School is canceled Thursday for 6,000 students in East St. Louis as teachers walk the picket line. About 400 union teachers and staff members went on strike at 7 a.m.

East St. Louis School District 189 spokeswoman Kelli Hawkins said Wednesday the superintendent is hopeful teachers will meet Thursday and reconsider the district’s contract offer. The district’s 400 union teachers rejected it Tuesday before voting to go on strike.

Kameel Stanley / St. Louis Public Radio

Immigration advocates say some colleges and universities in Missouri are discriminating against undocumented students by charging them higher tuition. 

Students and organizers rallied Monday outside St. Louis Community College’s downtown office, demanding officials reverse course. 

 

Organizer David Nehrt-Flores, of Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates, said technically the schools don’t have to raise tuition, but are doing so because they are worried about state funding.

 

Gov. Jay Nixon says legislators blew their chance to have a say on bonding for a stadium in St. Louis.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Flanked by the heads of two-year and four-year colleges and universities, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Monday in Jefferson City that the heads of Missouri's higher education institutions have agreed to freeze tuition for the 2016-2017 school year. He then said he was proposing a $55.7 million increase in higher education performance funds for the 2017 fiscal year.

This is the fourth time since 2009 that the governor paired a tuition freeze with a boost in higher education funding.

Washington University

Updated 6:59 p.m., Sept. 21, with McCaskill comment: New research about sexual assault on college campuses shows Washington University in somewhat better shape than its peer institutions, but officials at the school admit they still have a lot more work to do to prevent problems for students.

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
Google Maps screen capture

From student suspensions to dirty cafeteria tables, concerns and complaints by parents and others in the Normandy school district were the topic of conversation at the district’s first community forum of the new school year Wednesday night.

Several dozen people gathered at Normandy High School for a 45-minute session where eight people spoke. The forums are designed to replace the opportunity for the public to make comments at meetings of the district’s appointed school board.

University of Missouri-Columbia

Updated 1:22 p.m., Sept. 16 with audio from "St. Louis on the Air" - R. Bowen Loftin found that a lot of things were the same when he moved from the top job at Texas A&M to become chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia last year, but he did have to make one big change.

Instead of greeting his Aggie crowd with a hearty “Howdy!” he learned to get a big response at Mizzou with three simple letters: “M-I-Z”.

teaching
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Saint Louis University’s School of Education is launching a new teacher training program this week that’s specifically designed for urban education.

The Urban Education Learning Collaborative is small, for now. Just six students will work intensely in the Jennings School District for the next two years.  But Saint Louis University Education Professor, Alex Cuenca, said the hope is to expand to 40 students who will spend all four years working in the same urban school. 

St. Louis educator Julie Smith joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh to talk about her new book on media literacy.
Alex Heuer

Earlier this week President Barack Obama announced his decision to change the name of North America’s tallest peak from Mt. McKinley to Denali, the native Alaskan name.

A dance class at Grand Center Arts Academy
Grand Center Arts Academy

Teachers at the Grand Center Arts Academy charter school have begun the unionization process that could end with their being represented by the American Federation of Teachers.

SHUTTRKINGKT / Flickr

Lost learning time often means lost potential.

That’s the message from a new national report from nonprofits Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign. 

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Pastor Willis Johnson of Wellspring Church led fourth graders at Koch Elementary in an affirmation.  

“I am somebody!” Johnson exclaimed.

“I am somebody!” students replied.  

Johnson was there to hand out teddy bears donated by Build-A-Bear and books from the American Federation of Teachers. The effort was organized by his church’s Center for Social Empowerment and Justice, which was launched to support local business and schools in the Ferguson area.

File photo

Normandy school officials hope disappointing test scores from last year don’t dampen the enthusiasm they’re seeing for improvement in the school year just begun.

Presenting the district’s latest MAP scores – the first report since it became the Normandy Schools Collaborative, run by a state-appointed board – Superintendent Charles Pearson acknowledged to board members Thursday night that “these are not high scores to say the least.”

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

A four-year pilot initiative in Quincy hopes to develop a pipeline of skilled workers to fill technical jobs at local businesses.

Harris-Stowe State University president Dwaun Warmack joined "St. Louis on the Air" as part of its series on regional institutions of higher education.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Dwaun Warmack became president of Harris-Stowe State University in July 2014. Calling himself a “change agent,” Warmack told “St. Louis on the Air” last November that his first focus was on assessment: understanding the university he meant to guide.

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
Google Maps screen capture

The debate over school choice touches on complex questions of individual merit, public responsibility, and the oft-cited ‘right’ to a good education. It also touches close to home.

teacher in classroom
U.S. Department of Education

To get an idea about how difficult it can be to interpret test score data when it comes to charter schools, consider Lafayette Preparatory Academy, just west of downtown.

Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton (left) spoke with education reporter Dale Singer (right) on "St. Louis on the Air."
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday, students, faculty, and staff members of Washington University in St. Louis crossed campus for the first day of classes. They are a lucky bunch: Wash U. is one of the region’s—and the country’s—premiere universities, highly-ranked nationwide in areas from academic programs to student life to campus food options.

Kathy Boyd-Fenger (left) and Colin Miller (right) joined "St. Louis on the Air" to talk about Logos School's 45 years of serving at-risk students.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

For young people with mental health conditions or behavioral disorders, school can be frustrating, and even counter-productive; many such students are considered ‘at risk’ of failing out of the education system. It’s a nationwide problem: the National Alliance on Mental Illness indicated that approximately 50 percent of high-school-age students with a mental illness drop out of high school, and that mental illness plagues 70 percent of youth in juvenile justice systems.

Judy Baxter, via Flickr

For any school district, the path to success is rarely clear, but in Missouri, new numbers create a MAP that is particularly hard to read.

And that picture is likely to remain fuzzy for a few more years at least.

teacher in classroom
U.S. Department of Education

Test results for Missouri schools released Monday show that Normandy and Riverview Gardens, the only unaccredited districts in the state, continue to struggle.

State education officials stress that because the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests given in the spring were based on new standards, the results cannot be compared with results from previous years.

Kindergartner Asia Boles holds out her hands for a backpack full of school supplies Saturday, August 15, 2015 beside her brother Javion Bell, who is entering 7th grade and her mother Annette Boles.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Normandy Schools kicks off its third year without accreditation Monday. Fellow north St. Louis County school district Riverview Gardens also remains unaccredited.

Saturday non-profit Beyond Housing held a resource fair designed to get families ready — and excited — for the school year.

St. Louis Public Schools

You can’t teach kids if they’re not in class. 

With more than 27,000 students heading back to St. Louis Public Schools next week, as well as many of the city's charter and private schools starting classes, officials are reinforcing that point. Because, they say, lost learning time only leads to lost potential.     

Taylor Smith (left) coached Michael Watson (middle) and Tyra Searcy (right) during their high school years in the College Bound program.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Asked what she might do after college, Tyra Searcy mentioned media, film — “maybe even politics.” 

Michael Watson, on the other hand, has set his sights on either an engineering program or a business degree.

Watson will begin his freshman year at Kalamazoo College in a few weeks; Searcy is traveling to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University. And both St. Louis-area students credit their success partly to the mentorship and assistance provided by College Bound.

Karissa Anderson (left) of the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis and DACA student Naomi Carranza (right) joined host Don Marsh in studio.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

A small but critical addition to a Missouri budget bill may keep the children of undocumented immigrants from attending state public universities by raising their tuition to the amounts international students pay. Now, those students are fighting the law by asking Governor Jay Nixon for help.

Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Missouri students took a new MAP test in the spring, but results released Tuesday show that the achievement gap between all students and disadvantaged students persists.

According to figures released at the meeting of the state board of education in Jefferson City, students who are black, Hispanic, low-income, disabled or English language learners -- known in education language as a "super subgroup" --  lagged behind students as a whole in all four content categories measured: English, math, science and social studies.

Judy Baxter, via Flickr

When it comes to letting the public know how well schools in Missouri are doing, Pattonville Superintendent Mike Fulton has a simple goal:

He would like to see a system that is clear enough that a third-grader can explain it to adults.

“After all,” he says, “these tests ought to be designed for the child to be the first and most important audience. That’s an important theme here. If it’s not meaningful to the child, then why are we giving the test?”

Gov. Jay Nixon, center, listens to an update on efforts to help Riverview Gardens and Normandy at EducationPlus. He is flanked by Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon, right, and Nixon education adviser Mike Nietzel, left.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon says the regional effort by St. Louis area school districts to help Normandy and Riverview Gardens could not only lead to their regaining accreditation but could also strengthen public education in general.

SIU System president Randy Dunn
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Southern Illinois University System president Randy Dunn has now completed his first year in that role. As part of the “St. Louis on the Air” series on regional colleges and universities, host Don Marsh talked with Dunn on Monday about his first year as president and the challenges faced by institutions of higher learning.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

More than a dozen college students whose parents illegally entered the United States years ago are asking Gov. Jay Nixon for help with suddenly higher tuition rates.

Lawmakers added language to the preamble of a budget bill stating that students who are "unlawfully in the United States" don't qualify for in-state tuition rates and cannot receive scholarships.

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