Education

State board President Charlie Shields and education Commissioner Margie Vandeven listen to Tuesday's discussion
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

After more than two years of sometimes contentious debate by lawmakers and educators, new Missouri learning standards won unanimous approval Tuesday from the state board of education.

Meeting in Jefferson City, board members stressed that the new standards — which replace Common Core standards — spell out what Missouri students should know in English, math, social studies and science at various grade levels. But local districts retain the authority and the responsibility to determine how those subjects will be taught.

LA Johnson / NPR

This story is part of the NPR reporting project “School Money,” a nationwide collaboration between NPR’s Ed Team and 20 member-station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.

Interim President Mike Middleton addresses the University of Missouri Board of Curators
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Last fall, amid demonstrations in Columbia that ended the tenure of the University of Missouri’s president and the chancellor at Mizzou, the system became a national focus for campus problems about racial diversity and inclusion.

Now, the system’s interim president said Friday, it is becoming a model for the best way to work through those problems.

Washington University

Updated 6:33 p.m. April 13, with tentative agreement: Washington University and unionized part-time faculty members announced a four-year tentative agreement late Wednesday that covers wages, job security and other issues the instructors had sought.

The move turns a planned protest rally and faculty walkout scheduled for Thursday into what a union spokeswoman called a victory rally.

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

Updated at 10:08 a.m. Thursday, April 14, with date set for curator vote: Students who plan to attend Washington University this fall know that their tuition will be $48,950. Toward the other end of the scale, in-state tuition at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville has been set at $8,352.

But as students try to finalize their academic plans, those headed for any of the four campuses of the University of Missouri don’t know yet how much their bills will be, and they don't know when the decision may be made.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

UPDATE: Washington U, adjuncts reach tentative agreement on four-year contract

Washington University adjunct faculty are warning of a walkout on Thursday in order to exert pressure on negotiations between their union and the school, which is refusing to move on the issue of a pay increase. Over 200 faculty and students alike have RSVP’d to the walk out Facebook event.

University of Missouri-Columbia

Backers of a study of the economic impact of the University of Missouri hope that its dollar figures speak loudly enough to drown out criticism of the system prompted by protests last fall in Columbia.

The study, released Monday, updates a 2007 study that looked at how much the four-campus university system contributes to the economy of the state. It was paid for by Missouri 100, a group that promotes the system politically and economically, and was conducted by two economics professors at Mizzou.

Cheryl Walker leading the presidential search forum at UMSL
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Could the new president of the University of Missouri live for a couple of years in each of the four cities where a campus is located, to get a better feel for the entire system?

Probably not. But that’s one of the ideas brought up at a forum at the university’s St. Louis campus Monday designed to help a 12-member search committee narrow the qualifications and characteristics the new president should have.

Mike Wattle’s “Student – Veteran – Identity" arrives on campus.
Dale SInger | St. Louis Public Radio

The Student Veterans Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis is designed to help ease the transition from the military to campus and eventually to life in the greater community.

Now, the center has a new mural to help show the way.

Millennium Student Center at UMSL
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

With its search committee in place and a desire to stabilize its leadership, the University of Missouri begins public hearings Monday to find out what qualities its next president should have.

Forums are set this week for each of the system’s four campuses, including one from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Monday at the Millennium Student Center at UMSL.

St. Louis County Library

A new local organization wants to get the conversation about race and racism started with a group you may not expect: young, white families in St. Louis. We Stories: Raising Big-Hearted Kids is using children’s literature to “create conversation, change and hope in St. Louis” with the aim of making St. Louis more inclusive.

New UM diversity officer Kevin McDonald
University of Missouri

The new diversity officer at the University of Missouri will be working at the system level, but that doesn’t mean he plans to remain aloof from students, faculty and staff at the four campuses.

North Side community school classroom
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated 2:38 p.m. March 30 with clarification from Education Cities organization:

New data show that public schools in St. Louis and some area suburbs score far down the list of major American cities when it comes to closing the achievement gap between students from low-income families and their more advantaged peers.

File photo

The superintendent of the Normandy school district says younger students there are making impressive gains, particularly in reading, because of learning strategies that influence them from the time they start school.

But older students still struggle, and their lack of progress concerned members of the state board of education who heard an update on the unaccredited district at their meeting Tuesday in Jefferson City.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

As the search begins in earnest for the next president of the University of Missouri system, members of the committee who will narrow the field were told Monday to concentrate not just on the person who might fill the job but on the goals they want that person to accomplish.

Computer keyboard
frankieleon | Flickr

Missouri education officials have 3,600 reasons to postpone approving proposed new learning standards for students in the state.

That’s how many comments the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has received on the proposed standards since work groups submitted the final version last year. About 600 of those comments came in the last month alone, after the state board of education heard the latest update on the process at its meeting in February.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday, the Special Administrative Board of the St. Louis Public Schools launched its first tax campaign in 25 years, seeking to approve a $0.75 tax levy in the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams, Ph.D., said the money raised by this tax level, around $26 million, would go to critical efforts such as supporting early childhood education, alternative education and competitive wages for employees in public and charter schools in the city.

Melissa Click
KBIA - Provided by Melissa Click

Melissa Click is appealing her firing by the University of Missouri in the wake of her actions during campus protests, saying the school “is using me as a scapegoat to distract from larger campus issues.”

In a statement issued Tuesday by a Texas public relations firm that has been representing her, Click expressed thanks to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) for authorizing an investigation into her case that could lead to censure of the university.

Edmund Lee
provided by family

Headlines screamed the basics: A 9-year-old St. Louis boy will be barred from remaining at the school he loves, just because he is black.

The stories fed outrage across the nation and around the world and fueled an online petition that now has more than 90,000 signatures, imploring Missouri education officials to change the rules and make things right.

Co-anchors Karen Lomax and Amorion Bland discuss their delivery while recording an episode of Koch TV.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Fifth-grader Saniya Bryant sits at a desk at Koch Elementary, meticulously studying a set of questions. Behind her, a lime green cloth hangs from the ceiling. Across from her, a fourth-grader swivels a video camera in her direction.

“Quiet on set.”

Rick Sullivan, left, head of the Special Administrative Board, and Superintendent Kelvin Adams talk with members of the elected school board
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 9:25 p.m. Tuesday with results of meeting: If the discussion Tuesday night between members of the elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools and the district’s superintendent and head of the appointed board is any guide, the upcoming campaign for a 75-cent tax increase will focus on a few key points:

Ashland Elementary School Principal, Lisa Brown, helps students work through a classroom assignment using iPads.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Board of Education is extending the governance period for the St. Louis Public School District’s Special Administrative Board for three more years. But it also asked its staff to present a transition plan at the April meeting.

“A review of the district performance shows steady increase in student performance on the MAP (test) since 2006," said Margie Vandeven, Missouri commissioner of education. "Although, there is still a long way to go as a whole for the students of this district."

It happens every year around this time.

Outstanding high school athletes get up in front of their peers and announce which of the colleges that have been vying for their services they will attend in the fall, and proud alumni tally their school’s take. Signing day is a big deal for anyone who follows college sports.

David Russell, who retires at the end of this month as Missouri’s higher education commissioner, would like to see the same fervor and excitement around academics, not just athletics.

State school board President Charlie Shields and education Commissioner Margie Vandeven listen to Tuesday's discussion.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of progress made by schools in St. Louis and Riverview Gardens, state education officials want appointed boards to continue in both districts for another three years.

A student panel discusses diversity efforts at the University of Missouri Board of Curators meeting on Feb. 5, 2016
Stay Tuned/Nine Network of Public Media

The interim president of the University of Missouri said Friday that the school has to stop looking backward at the recent turmoil and concentrate on moving forward on issues of race and diversity.

But before he spoke, a student panel told members of the Board of Curators that such progress won’t happen until university leaders pay more attention to what students want and need.

The columns at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

After demonstrators interrupted a meeting of the University of Missouri Board of Curators Thursday to restate their demands that led to the resignation of President Tim Wolfe, the curators got down to the business of how to choose Wolfe’s replacement.

About two dozen representatives of the group Concerned Student 1950 -- which was instrumental in the protest that led to Wolfe’s departure in November as well as the demotion of Mizzou Chancellor R. Brady Loftin -- entered the curators’ meeting at the Alumni Center on the Columbia campus about 15 minutes after it began.

Washington University

Nine months after contract talks with newly unionized adjunct instructors began at Washington University, negotiators have tentative agreements on a dozen workplace issues.

But the thornier issues of salary and benefits still remain to be settled.

Former UM curator David Steward
University of Missouri

As they set tuition rates for the next school year, deal with the continued fallout from the resignation of a president and begin the process to find his replacement, the University of Missouri Board of Curators will operate at two-thirds strength.

All six of the seats on the board that usually has nine members will be filled by white lawyers, who will have to deal with the issues of race that prompted protests in Columbia and echoes throughout the four-campus system. And it could be mid-May at the earliest before any new members join the board.

Yvonne Sparks of St. Louis (left) was sworn in as a member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators in December. She resigned from the board this week.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:10 a.m. Monday with Steward resignation and statement, Graham still on board:

Now the St. Louis area has just one representative on the University of Missouri Board of Curators. And all of the members are white

Following last week's resignation of Yvonne Sparks from St. Louis, David Steward of St. Louis County, a  founder of World Wide Technology, has also resigned from the board. Gov. Jay Nixon's office confirmed the news Monday, releasing this statement:

Students from Jefferson elementary schools cheer for the Normandy school board Thursday night, Jan. 28, 2016
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

On an evening when students in the Normandy Schools Collaborative expressed appreciation for their appointed board, the board voted to try to get more active involvement from the community at large.

Members of the Joint Executive Governing Board voted unanimously Thursday night to set up a community engagement group designed to help set long-term goals for the unaccredited district.

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