Education | St. Louis Public Radio

Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 14, 2010 - As the Riverview Gardens School District heads toward uncharted waters, teachers and other employees are becoming increasingly concerned that they may not have a seat on the boat.

On July 1, the north St. Louis County district will cease to exist, replaced by a new district taken over by the state and run by a three-member appointed special administrative board (SAB). All contracts established by the lapsed district will end -- no teachers, no administrators, no support personnel, no vendors.

Commentary: A lesson Teach for America didn't intend

Jun 9, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 9, 2010 - I was recently handed an extremely prestigious piece of paper. Now I will move back home, unemployed, and without any immediate promise of higher education.

“It’s a very hard time,” people tell me.  “I don’t envy your position,” they say hesitantly.  “Things were very different when I graduated.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 6, 2010 - If you talk to professionals on the front lines in the fight against hate, three things become clear: Success is vitally important, endlessly rewarding -- and largely impossible to measure.

"It's not like when you have a physical ailment and you can say, 'Do these exercises and over six weeks you'll see a 65 percent increase in your flexibility,'" said Karen Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of Missouri and Southern Illinois. "You can't do that with anti-bias work as cleanly."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 4, 2010 - Lots of folks dream of winning the lottery as their ticket to a better life. But most of them aren't thinking of the kind of victory that "The Lottery" portrays.

Madeleine Sackler's documentary follows four students who are among the thousands hoping to win one of the 475 spots at the Harlem Success Academy, a New York city charter school offering families an alternative to the less-than-stellar public schools in the area.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 27, 2010 - Declaring the Normandy schools to be "almost in critical condition," Superintendent Stanton Lawrence has released a blueprint designed to help the district avoid the fate that led to the end of neighboring Wellston schools and the takeover by the state of Riverview Gardens.

Among the steps announced at a news conference at the district's Lucas Crossing Elementary Complex Thursday morning are:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 21, 2010 - For legions of graduates this time of year, the timeless message is that commencement is not an end, it's a beginning.

For the 30 members of the 2010 graduating class of Melvin Ray Eskridge High School in Wellston, it was both.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 20, 2010 - As expected, the state Board of Education voted Thursday to appoint a three-member special administrative board to take over operations of the Riverview Gardens School District in north St. Louis County as of July 1.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 19, 2010 -  When neighborhood or parochial schools were the only option for parents, figuring out where their children would attend class was simple.

Then, in St. Louis, magnet schools were added to the mix, and students with particular talents and interests could apply to get specialized training in classrooms still run by the city school system.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 13, 2010 - For most new college graduates, a typical lament is that you can't get a job without experience and you can't get experience without a job.

Thanks to the mentoring program sponsored by the Regional Business Council, student Sarah Shehata got both.

Commentary: Ethnic studies still needed

May 13, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 13, 2010 - Arizona continues to be in the news for legislation that is possibly racially charged. The most recent source of controversy is House Bill 2281 (pdf), which would ban ethnic studies classes. More generally, it would write colorblindness into the law.

The bill states that schools cannot include courses that (1) are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group and (2) advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 12, 2010 - Members of the elected board for the St. Louis Public Schools and the panel that could recommend that they regain authority agreed on one point during a joint meeting Wednesday: There is no one perfect way for public schools to be governed.

Beyond that, the two sides exchanged ideas but came to no conclusions about who should run the city schools -- an elected board, an appointed board, the mayor's office, some hybrid version of the three or some other structure altogether.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 11, 2010 - May is celebrated throughout the U.S. as National Bicycle Month, with various bicycling-related events organized by such groups as the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation.

My adult cycling career began in England 40 years ago when I became a strong environmental advocate after reading Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring." When I started cycling to work daily, the first hurdle was overcoming being rather unfit. The next issue was personal safety: getting out of a car and onto a bicycle was a distinctly scary experience.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 10, 2010 - Where were you on April 4, 1968?

The day that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis may not be as clearly etched in the minds of Americans as the date that John F. Kennedy was killed or when terrorists struck the World Trade Center. But for Memphis native Hampton Sides, author of a new book about the killing and the man who did it, James Earl Ray, the day marked a turning point in his hometown.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 4, 2010 - Students at the International Welcome School in south St. Louis have to worry about more than their ABCs -- often, they have to cope with PTSD as well.

With about 200 students from a couple of dozen countries, ranging in age from 5 to 18, the students may be refugees, forced to leave their homelands for fear of violence or persecution, or they may be immigrants whose relocation was prompted by more tranquil circumstances.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 29, 2010 - This is just the time of year when teenagers who have put off thinking about summer plans start making them.

In a typical summer, a paid job would be easy enough to find. But this isn’t a typical summer, what with the job market tough for everyone, let alone a young person without a stacked resume.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 29, 2010 - Missouri Baptist University revoked the charter of the Ethel Hedgeman Lyle Academy charter school in St. Louis Thursday, claiming that its continued operation "presents a clear and immediate threat to the health and safety" of the 800 students enrolled there. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 29, 2010 - The St. Louis Public Schools have a new budget of nearly $278 million for next school year that calls for $58 million in budget cuts, elimination of 490 positions, closing six school buildings and a number of other measures designed to wipe out a persistent deficit.

Now, school officials have to keep watch to make sure the cuts don't have to go even deeper.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 28, 2010 - The Piasa bird is pretty fierce, but this year it has met its match -- the Illinois school budget monster from Springfield.

As the Legislature wrestles to tame a spending plan that has Illinois laying out $13 billion more than it is taking in, school districts are trying to cope with big budget holes where state payments should be. Layoff notices are increasingly common, and programs that aren't mandated by the state, including sports, art, music and special education, are being trimmed back or cut altogether.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 25, 2010 - On the day that St. Louisan Michael Sherraden officially joined the ranks of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world, he was on the job at Washington University keeping it all in perspective.

"It is an honor to be selected," he said, quickly adding, "It feels very arbitrary. Thousands of people could be on a list like this. A lot of people have done hard work and interesting and valuable work. But I'm glad to be on the list, and I'm glad that the work will maybe get a little more recognition and maybe people can think about it a little more. It's positive, and I hope that will help move the discussion forward."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 22, 2010 - One partner scurries to get the kids out the door every day, checking their homework and making an appointment with the teachers on conference day to keep track of progress in the classroom.

Another is concerned with rising tuition bills, preparing students for the transition from campus to the workplace, conducting research, working with private corporations and making sure that a diploma means graduates are well-educated and not just that they have spent the right number of hours in class.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2010 - Here's a lesson you won't necessarily get in Econ 101: When is a budget deficit not really a deficit?

Not surprisingly, like most issues involving the St. Louis Public Schools, the answer is more complex than you might think.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 16, 2010 - The administration of the St. Louis Public Schools wants to wipe out a projected deficit of $57.5 million next year by closing six schools, eliminating 490 jobs, cutting the salaries and imposing furloughs on the employees who remain and taking other measures presented to the Special Administrative Board Thursday night. (Click here to read an earlier story from the Beacon.)

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 14, 2010 - At home, Liam Longsworth is a pretty good kid. He has a village of adults to see to that, too. Sure, he may get a little whiny now and then, but he's a 2 year old.

At school, though, things weren't so good. When Liam moved into a new class, where the ratio of teachers to students went down, he started having problems.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2010 - Learning about genocides through studying the Holocaust is a rite of passage for Jewish teenagers. But what comes after they graduate from religious school?

An event sponsored in part by the Young Professionals Division of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis aims to continue that education. “Anti-Genocide Activism” is a program that looks at genocides past and present and offers ways to take action to help prevent and stop the tragedies. The event begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2010 - Right now, a lot of angry people are venting on Facebook.

There's this one: "I'm not an educator, but a very concerned and thankful parent. PAT is a wonderful program that has benefited both my family, as well as my sister's. I've kept my sanity (mostly) through my son's terrible twos, but most importantly my nephew's hearing impairment and my niece's autism were caught early by their PAT educator."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2010 - Even as Superintendent Kelvin Adams was explaining Tuesday how the St. Louis Public Schools are in a deep financial hole, he had to give the bad news that the hole had grown even bigger.

In a presentation to the committee charged with planning the future governance of the city schools -- a return to an elected school board, continuation of the Special Administrative Board, something different altogether -- Adams' numbers were sobering.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 8, 2010 -  If all politics is local, as Tip O'Neill famously said, then local propositions like tax hikes and bond issues are the place where the aphorism is put to its toughest test.

On Tuesday, such issues passed overwhelmingly, with not only Proposition A for mass transit winning by a big margin but school tax issues and bond proposals coming up winners as well. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 5, 2010 - Varsity Tutors, a company founded by a graduate of Clayton High School and Washington University, prides itself on making house calls.

Most of the one-on-one tutoring takes place in students’ living rooms, not in school libraries or coffee shops. After school and on weekends, certified teachers work with K-8 students on math, science, reading and writing; college students who have scored highly on standardized tests work with high school students on test prep and a range of academic subjects.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 24, 2010 - Missouri doesn't have to hide the reading report card it got on Wednesday.

When results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress -- the NAEP, often called the nation's report card -- were released, Missouri was one of only nine states that showed significant gains in reading among eighth graders.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 19, 2010 - At first, the big fight shaping up over scholarships at Missouri colleges and universities appeared to be whether students at private schools would continue to be eligible for more money than those at public ones.

Now, if Gov. Jay Nixon has his way, students at private schools won't get any money at all.

Pages