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Ninth graders take notes during a social studies class at the recently opened KIPP St. Louis High School on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

English Learners Make Gains; Achievement Gap Persists For Missouri's Black Students

How the Missouri education department measures student comprehension and school performance is complicated . The manual for determining a school’s performance is dozens of pages long. Making it even more complex, students have taken four different sets of tests in six years. Just when the test saw stability, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education overhauled the way it presents school performance (in short, it got more colorful and less numerical). We had the headlines for what to make of this year’s Annual Performance Reports and Missouri Assessment Program tests. But now that there’s been time to digest the data, here are takeaways:

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Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited on Sunday, October 20 will present music from the 56-year of Armando “Chick” Corea.  Chick was born in the Boston area and was working professionally by his late teens.  His career includes straight-ahead jazz, avant-garde jazz, jazz-rock fusion and classical music.  We will hear music from his groups Return to Forever, Origin, his duets with Gary Burton and his own trio.  He will also be heard with Herbie Hancock, the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams group, Miles Davis and the Joe Henderson Big Band.  Many of his compositions are now jazz standards and some of them will be played an

Sauce Magazine founder and publisher Allyson Mace.
R.J. Hartbeck

Each month, staffers at Sauce Magazine join our program for a regular Sound Bites segment that showcases the area’s latest food trends and highlights local chefs, farmers, restaurateurs and more. But during Friday’s show, the topic wasn’t just the people and places covered within the magazine. It was the publication itself.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into the history of Sauce, which first launched as a website in 1999. Twenty years later, Sauce Magazine is still going strong. A huge reason is publisher Allyson Mace, who remains with the publication to this day. 

Luka Cai is a co-founder of the newly launched SQSH project.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Growing up in Singapore, Washington University undergraduate Luka Cai was closeted, finding little support there for members of the LGBTQ community. But even in their new home of St. Louis, where Cai openly identifies as a pansexual transmasculine queer person, they’ve observed a need for more peer-to-peer support.

“When I came to St. Louis, I felt very much more affirmed and accepted by the St. Louis queer community, and I saw the same needs around me,” Cai said, “of people feeling isolated, rejected, discriminated against — and that comes out in terms of housing insecurity and employment security as well.”

This led Cai to the idea for SQSH, the St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline that they and a co-founder launched earlier this month. The all-volunteer effort aims to be “for the St. Louis LGBTQIA+ community, by the community,” inviting calls to 314-380-7774, with highly trained volunteers ready to provide support.

B'nai Sholom temple was built in the late 1860s. Congregants of the Quincy synagogue hope another religious organization will purchase and preserve the historic building.
File Photo | Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

B’nai Sholom temple has stood on a quiet, tree-lined street in Quincy, Illinois, for almost 150 years.

But the historic Jewish synagogue — one of the oldest in the state — could soon be reduced to rubble.

The temple has sat empty since May, after its dwindling congregation was forced to confront a difficult reality: The members had to sell the building because they could no longer afford to maintain it. While they’re holding out hope that another religious organization will purchase the temple and preserve it, they’re preparing for the worst. 

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave initial approval to extending an incentive package for an urgent care center.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 18 with final passage

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved nearly $8 million in incentives for a three-bed urgent care hospital proposed for the site of the old Pruitt-Igoe housing project in north St. Louis, in the footprint of Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

“This is not a big business project for someone to get rich or anything but that,” Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard, D-5th Ward, told her colleagues Friday. “This is to fill a void in our community that we’ve experienced since Homer G. Phillips closed.”

October 18, 2019 Jane Smiley
Derek Shapton

Jane Smiley recently came back to St. Louis for her 50th high school reunion. But unlike many of us, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist wasn’t content simply to explore what had changed around town. Smiley also wrote an essay about the city, and her travels here, for The New York Times.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Smiley discussed her essay, detailing her abiding love for St. Louis, particularly its foliage and its wonderful old houses. 

She said she loved growing up in Webster Groves, where she lived until she was 11. “The wonderful thing about Webster is that it has all different kinds of neighborhoods all kind of smashed together, and so as you’re walking along, you’re seeing all these different houses, all these kinds of people,” she said. “It was a fascinating place to grow up and explore.”

Smiley added that she wasn’t one of those kids who dreamed of fleeing St. Louis for the big city. “I appreciated it even at the time,” she said. 

The Loop Trolley during a test drive on June 13, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue, Jason Rosenbaum and Jaclyn Driscoll break down some of the week’s biggest stories in federal, state and local politics.

Of particular interest for many St. Louis area residents is the financial peril surrounding the Loop Trolley.

St. Louis City Hall
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Operators of St. Louis buildings larger than 50,000 square feet will soon face penalties if they don’t report energy and water use to the city. 

The city’s benchmarking ordinance, which went into effect in 2017, requires owners of municipal and privately owned buildings to report energy and water consumption to the St. Louis Building Division. City officials will levy fines and deny occupancy permits to buildings that don’t comply within 60 days of receiving a warning letter. 

The penalties strengthen an ordinance that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Protesters marched through downtown St. Louis on Sunday to protest ongoing U.S. Supreme Court cases that could leave LGBTQ workers in Missouri with few laws protecting them against discrimination.
Andrea Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s a brisk Sunday morning, and nearly 100 people are singing hymns at the steps of St. Louis City Hall. The congregation waves rainbow and transgender pride flags and hoists picket signs that demand civil rights for LGBTQ workers.

Among the protesters is Beth Gombos, who says they’re "terrified" by the possible outcomes of three ongoing U.S Supreme Court cases.

The court could rule next year that federal civil rights law doesn’t prevent employers from firing people for being gay, bisexual or transgender. If the court decides against the employees in the cases, Missouri’s estimated 180,000 LGBTQ adults would be left with little recourse against discrimination in the workplace. 

The Callaway Nuclear Generating Station in Fulton is the only nuclear power plant in Missouri.
File photo | Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Air Conservation Commission is asking state legislators to repeal a decades-old law that controls how companies fund new nuclear power plants. 

The Construction Work in Progress law, passed by Missouri voters in 1976, prohibits utility companies from charging customers to cover the cost of building power plants until the facilities are up and running. 

The commission unanimously passed a resolution Thursday calling the law an “intractable roadblock” for nuclear power in Missouri. Opponents say the governor-appointed commission is overstepping its bounds. 

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St. Louis on the Air

Monday: How Baldwin's 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Is Bringing A Campus Together

Host Sarah Fenske will talk about how James Baldwin’s 1974 novel is resonating across the UMSL campus and the broader St. Louis community, decades after it was written.

Living #Ferguson: 5 Years After The Killing Of Michael Brown Jr.

What has changed?

Listen to the voices of people who experienced #Ferguson and who are directly touched by the issues Michael Brown’s death laid bare.

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Sharing America: Profiles

A series about women of color doing local work that highlights an issue of national importance.