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Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 12, 2011 - More than four years after her death, legendary dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, author and social activist Katherine Dunham is assisting a St. Louis graduate student as she pursues her own career in the arts.

Antionette Dickens, who attends University of Missouri-St. Louis, has received the first Katherine Dunham Internship from St. Louis' Regional Arts Commission. The internship, designed to help African Americans forge a path in arts management, includes a $2,500 stipend.

Resolved: Debate lifts students' abilities

Jan 11, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 11, 2011 - The high school level Urban Debate League, now in its third year in St. Louis, has almost doubled its membership from last year as a result of extra energy devoted to bringing in new people.

Ravi Rao, executive director of St. Louis' Urban Debate League, said his efforts were prompted by studies that correlate participating in debate during high school with job retention rates and skill improvement.

This article first appered in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 7, 2011 - Just short of three years from the day he moved from the business world into academia, Gary Forsee said Friday he was leaving his post as president of the University of Missouri system to help his wife as she recovers from cancer.

Forsee went on temporary leave Dec. 2 shortly after his wife, Sherry, was diagnosed following an emergency appendectory. In a statement Friday, announcing that he was leaving his position permanently, he said she "has had subsequent successful surgery, finding no further signs of cancer, and will soon begin a treatment regimen to ensure she remains cancer-free.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 5, 2011 - They have bees at Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School, and we're not talking about the spelling and geography contests you'll find at most elementary or middle schools.

We're talking REAL bees.

Buzzing bees.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 1, 2011 - Year end is a time to reflect — and to think ahead. In the holiday spirit, the Show-Me Institute has compiled five New Year's resolutions for state officials, to promote better government for 2011 and beyond. Taken together, these policy changes have the potential to propel Missouri's income and job growth into the front ranks.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 27, 2010 - Clive Coleman says he likes challenges -- and he's had plenty to face in his first six months as superintendent of the Riverview Gardens School District.

Before Coleman even took office on July 1, the state of Missouri had moved to take over the unaccredited district, putting it in the hands of a three-member Special Administrative Board. In essence, the old district ceased to exist. All contracts had to be redone, all personnel had to be rehired -- or not -- and all school assignments had to be remade before the start of classes in late August.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2010 - Contemporary furniture, a rich color scheme, thousands of books and years of planning have resulted in "Teen Alley," the newest addition to the Florissant Valley branch of the St. Louis County Library system.

When Laura Kasak became Florissant Valley branch manager in July 2008, her experience from more than six years with the St. Louis County Library system told her that this library was missing something.

(Flickr Creative Commons User aka Kath)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –

UPDATED 4:20 p.m. Dec. 14:

In a press release, the Illinois State Police announced that they have been asked by the Springfield Police Department to conduct an investigation into Davlin's death. The Illinois State Police will also be performing the autopsy on Dec. 15.

UPDATED 3:54 p.m. Dec. 14: From the Associated Press:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 13, 2010 - For decades, Mae Duggan has worked to make tax money available for parents to be able to send their children to whatever school -- public, private or parochial -- that they think would be best for their children.

As a founder of the group Citizens for Educational Freedom -- whose aim is summed up in the slogan "Let the tax dollar follow the scholar" -- Duggan has pushed to keep the idea of school vouchers on the public agenda, even as other alternatives, like charter schools, grabbed the educational spotlight. Starting in the St. Louis area, the organization has grown nationwide.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 10, 2010 - A song from the Broadway show "Avenue Q" asks, "What do you do with a B.A. in English?"

At some point, the University of Missouri may be asking whether English majors should be paying different tuition from those going for degrees in chemistry or political science.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 6, 2010 - Earlier this year, the Missouri Supreme Court shook up the public school establishment in the St. Louis area with a ruling that could lead to students from unaccredited districts like St. Louis and Riverview Gardens having the right to transfer, free of charge, to neighboring accredited districts -- and the districts having to take them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 29, 2010 - I ventured to my childhood home over Thanksgiving. As my trips surrounding holidays tend to, this one included time spent with friends made in high school.

Now scattered throughout the country, our group is doing things so varied it doesn't seem possible our common background could have adequately prepared each of us. Our conversation turned to those "good old days," absent friends and former teachers.

Letter: Teacher statistics aren't a con

Nov 24, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 24, 2010 - In his Nov. 17 opinion piece, "Superman Runs a Con," writer Peter Downs made a claim regarding research I conducted and Director Davis Guggenheim used in his motion picture "Waiting for Superman."

Downs said this of me: "He never asked any school districts how many teachers they fired in any year. All he counted were the number of teachers who appealed their firings to a state appeals board and lost. He doesn't know how often teachers get fired in Illinois or anywhere else and neither does Guggenheim."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 17, 2010 - The state Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the authority of the three-member appointed board over the St. Louis Public Schools for another three years.

The board accepted the recommendation of Commissioner Chris Nicastro, who in turn was acting on the report submitted by a committee headed by William Danforth and Frankie Freeman. That committee, whose report led to the Special Administrative Board first being named in 2007, was reconvened last year by Nicastro to come up with suggestions for the future governance of the schools.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 16, 2010 - Washington University is one of the top colleges in the country, so it's no surprise that its student health insurance plan, compared to those on other campuses, is better than average.

Every full-time student at the university's Danforth Campus is automatically enrolled in the school's student health insurance plan, an annual policy that costs $575 and pays for 80 percent of covered medical expenses at the campus health center.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 15, 2010 - A St. Louis University scholar thinks it's time for cities to refine the way they address lead hazards.

The attack on lead poisoning often begins with the discovery that a child has an elevated level of lead, usually exceeding 10 micrograms for each deciliter of blood. The next step involves a little detective work to find the source of the lead. It usually turns out to be peeling lead-tainted paint and lead dust in an older home. This approach, some say, amounts to making kids the equivalent of canaries in coal mines.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 12, 2010 - Instead of looking up into the sky for a superhero or keeping their fingers crossed that they win a crowded lottery, families who want better schools need to start the process themselves.

That was the conclusion from a panel convened by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce to watch the documentary "Waiting for 'Superman.'" The panel members then discussed the best way to make sure that all students have the best opportunity to learn.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 3, 2010 - Donna Jones and Bill Haas have won the two seats up for grabs on the elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools.

With 100 percent of Tuesday's vote counted, Jones led the field of six candidates with 35 percent; Haas had 23 percent.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct., 26, 2010 - Even if Americans ever achieve the Jeffersonian ideal of separating church and state, that is not the same as keeping apart religion and politics.

That's the view of Jon Meacham, the former editor of Newsweek and inaugural lecturer for the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University. He told an audience at Graham Chapel on the university campus Tuesday afternoon that "religion shapes the life of the nation without strangling it."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 22, 2010 - JEFFERSON CITY -- Members of the state school board agree that an appointed board should keep running the St. Louis Public Schools until the system makes more progress, but they disagree on at what point the transition back to an elected local board should begin.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 20, 2010 - When the seven members of the Missouri Board of Education discuss the future of the St. Louis Public Schools in Jefferson City on Friday, one perspective will be missing - someone from the city itself.

At stake will be whether the board extends the authority of the Special Administrative Board that has run the district since 2007, as recommended by a committee headed by William Danforth and Frankie Freeman.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 19, 2010 - Rebecca Ye, a freshman at Washington University, already has a major scientific accomplishment under her belt. Ye represented the United States in the Stockholm International Water Institute's Junior Water Prize Competition.

"It was an amazing, inspiring experience," said Ye, who is from Maine. "I was fortunate to be chosen for this once-in-a-lifetime event."

This article firs appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 11, 2010 - "A house divided against itself cannot stand" was originally attributed to Jesus in Matthew 12:25. The line was repeated in 1858 by Abraham Lincoln in a debate against Stephen Douglas in Springfield, Ill.

Mr. Lincoln was, of course, talking about the threatened secession of Southern, slave-holding states. As much as Mr. Lincoln opposed slavery, he had a stronger commitment to keeping the union together. Our federal system was an experiment in cooperation. As early as 1832, South Carolina passed an "ordinance of nullification," stating that it did not have to abide by tariffs passed by Congress.

Does this sound familiar?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 9, 2010 - St. Louis Community College officially opened the new William J. Harrison Education Center campus Friday. The goal of the campus, at 3140 Cass Avenue near Grand Avenue, is to lower the barriers that students from the JeffVanderLou neighborhood face attending college.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 7, 2010 - The five candidates running for two seats on the elected St. Louis School Board don't agree on everything, but they're unanimous on one issue: They want the elected board to get back the power to run the system.

Since 2007, the city schools have been run by an appointed Special Administrative Board (SAB). Voters have continued to elect a separate board as well, but its powers are limited.

From kickboxing to teaching

Sep 22, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 22, 2010 - Earnest Hart Jr. knew he needed to go outside St. Louis to make his mark, but he also always planned to return.

The former World Kickboxing champion grew up in the Tiffany neighborhood of the city and attended Roosevelt High School. He started martial arts training as a young teen and won his first World Kickboxing title at age 21.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 15, 2010 - Sporting a Finnish accent, a shock of blond hair and a multi-colored lab coat open to reveal a loud T-shirt promoting a rockabilly band, Heko Montonen hardly seems a typical science teacher. As he energetically bounds back and forth in front of an auditorium packed with students, it becomes clear this is no ordinary science lesson.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 15, 2010 - As the committee assigned to help figure out what's next for St. Louis Public Schools winds up its work, one of the main questions it is asking is: How should the city school board be chosen, by election or by appointment?

But based on the discussion the five members had on Monday afternoon, as important as how is the question of who.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2010 - Students aren't the only ones who get report cards -- school districts do too. And the latest numbers for some troubled school districts in the St. Louis area aren't encouraging.

The two Missouri districts in the area that have only provisional accreditation, Jennings and Normandy, still are far short from making the grade, preliminary numbers released Monday show. And the two districts that have been taken over by the state -- St. Louis and Riverview Gardens -- aren't improving either.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 9, 2010 - After Cleveland Hammonds took charge of the St. Louis Public Schools on July 1, 1996, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was coming into the job as the 23rd superintendent of the largest public school system in Missouri with eyes wide open.

"I know there are great challenges -- I'm not that naive," he said.

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