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Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 12, 2011 - The buzz is starting in St. Louis - the equipment is primed, the players are working on their best moves and the doors are ready to open to the public. Oh, I'm not talking baseball, I'm talking chess. Chess's star is rising, and St. Louis is fast becoming a chess hub to newbies, veterans and future chess legends via the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 11, 2011 - Funny as it sounds, there is only one show where audiences can be serenaded by Jesus in disco pants, and that show is the musical, "Godspell," which was recently performed by Francis Howell North.

Commentary: The world won't end

Apr 10, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 10, 2011 - Their college applications were in, awaiting the decisions of strangers. In the meantime, the girls were acting in plays, doing their math, experimenting in physics, writing their research papers. In my class they were reading and writing. Immortal stories by Hemingway, Welty, Fitzgerald, Anderson. Plays by Miller and Williams.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 4, 2011 - The filibuster now taking place in the Missouri Senate could hurt the pocketbooks of St. Louis area school districts, which stand to gain a large chunk of the $189 million in federal grant money that some Republican legislators want to refuse.

Cappies: 'Galaxy' guide is perfect for high schoolers

Apr 4, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 4, 2011 - In a time of life when raging hormones and AP physics collide, how can a new freshman make it through the treacherous battlegrounds of high school without being shoved in a dumpster? Northwest High School answers this question with a little help from clubs, cliques and the lunch lady in its play, "The High- Schooler's Guide to the Galaxy."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 27, 2011 - "How many of you have used Wikipedia before?"  Jimmy Wales, a founder of Wikipedia, asked the audience gathered in Washington University's Graham Chapel on Friday. Of the more than 500 people who came to hear his speech on "Democracy and the Internet," just about everyone in the room raised their hands – the response, Wales said, he fully expected.

Commentary: Educators struggle to treat autoimmune diseases

Mar 16, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 16, 2011 - I recently went for an eye examine. One of the technicians assisting and testing me told me she was a teacher. I learned she had taught in a North County school district and then in a St. Charles County school district. She remarked how much she loved teaching and the kids and had wanted to be a teacher from third grade. She taught high school, but I failed to ask in what subject.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 15, 2011 - In July, R. Marie Griffith, 43, will become director of Washington University's John C. Danforth Center for Religion & Politics. She brings to St. Louis varied academic and leadership experience at top schools.

Former three-term Sen. Jack Danforth, R-Mo., announced in December 2009 a $30 million endowment gift for the center from his family's Danforth Foundation. Danforth is also an Episcopal priest.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 10, 2011 - In the tiny, circumscribed world of my rather chaotic childhood, the public library in our city was a place of refuge and serenity for me.

When I think of that place, I have some gauzy impression of its imposing classical facade, with all the suggestions of permanence and stability such architecture provides us, but the recollections of the Little Rock Public Library I cherish most are of the children's department, which was on a lower level of the great Carnegie pile.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 7, 2011 - The new president of the University of Missouri system should be an enthusiastic supporter of higher education and possess keen insights into business.

The ideal candidate would know how to manage a large, complex organization and get along well with outside groups.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2011 - Bold and monumental evidence of the prehistory of St. Louis was pretty much obliterated by 19th-century residents of European ancestry. There were, for example, large concentrations of man-made mounds along the riverfront. Only one remains, the so-called Sugarloaf Mound at 4420 Ohio St., visible from Interstate 55 in south St. Louis. The rest of the mounds were destroyed. To give those who plowed them down the benefit of the doubt, let's just say their destructive tendencies arose out of ignorance rather than barbaric intention or simple greed.

Review: Test your perceptions at Los Caminos

Mar 3, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2011 - At Los Caminos, Brookhart Jonquil's "Physical Spectrum" is a group of four works, all 2011, that deal with reflections, transparency, the real and unreal, and our perception of objects in space.

The mirrored plexiglas letters ECNALUBMA are embedded in one wall, at roughly a driver's eye level -- it generates the momentary disorientation one experiences seeing "Ambulance" written in reverse on an oncoming emergency vehicle.

The financial burden of graduate education

Mar 2, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 2, 2011 - After graduating from law school at Washington University in St. Louis in the spring of 2009, Jennifer Belmont Jennings owed the federal government $170,237.87 in student loan repayments. She borrowed $157,000 in student loans to pay for three years of law school and accrued an additional $13,000 in interest while in school.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 1, 2011 - In recent months, Stephanie Krauss essentially has given birth twice. Son Justice, now 3 months old, was the product of "19 hours of unmedicated labor." Shearwater High School, a charter school in north St. Louis now midway through its first year, took considerably longer.

Krauss takes strong, evident pride in both.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 28, 2011 - Mark Lenihan is a first-year law student at DePaul University. He graduated from Rockhurst University in May 2009 but did not enter law school until the fall 2010. In between, Lenihan served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, working as a teacher in Camden, N.J.

"After undergrad I thought that I wanted to be a lawyer but wasn't sure. Who is sure after undergrad?" he asked.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 28, 2011 - "I AM RETIRED NOW -- THAT MEANS DON'T ASK ME TO DO A DAMN THING."

The plaque that holds this quote rests on the desk of Mary Spencer, a 73-year-old retired St. Louis Public School teacher.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 24, 2011 - Like most parents, Vicki Abeles wanted her children to have things she never had.

And they did -- headaches, stomach aches, sleepless nights and a seemingly endless round of responsibilities and activities, all tied to a high-pressure school atmosphere that said if you aren't the best, you're not trying hard enough.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 22, 2011 - Not long ago, readers of a story that said the superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools would be serving for six years could be forgiven for thinking it was a misprint.

Shouldn't that be six superintendents in one year, not one superintendent for six years?

Commentary: School ideas to save and to scrap

Feb 18, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 18, 2011 - Earlier this year, St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams announced initiatives, called "Creating Great Options," that include district-sponsored charter schools, closing traditional schools for poor performance, investment in programs for teen parents and preschoolers and an increase in school choice through an open enrollment program for 8th graders.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 15, 2011 - Two Missouri members of the congressional Center Aisle Caucus -- U.S. Reps. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, and Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis -- will discuss a "Vision for Civility" at 4 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 24 in at Washington University.

The event will be held in the main dining room of the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center and is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics. The moderator will be the center's director, Wayne Fields, who is also the university's Lynne Cooper Harvey distinguished professor of English in Arts & Sciences.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 14, 2011 - It's been half a century, yet black children are still relegated to unequal education.

How can we prove that black parents love their children and are invested in their educational success? What words would better explain that black parents do not wish harm upon their children, they do not pray for poverty, abuse, neglect or incarceration for them. Is there a reason some kids get to have a good education, but others do not?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 11, 2011 - A new report on charter schools in Missouri presents an interesting lesson: It may be easier to increase the number of charters in Missouri if educators paid greater attention to closing down some of the ones that already exist.

The report, titled "Delivering on the Promise: How Missouri can grow excellent, accountable public charter schools," says Missouri's limitation of charters to just St. Louis and Kansas City discourages national firms from coming to the state; it also says that a spotlight on poorly performing charter schools has hurt the state's effort to expand and improve.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 10, 2011 - Vera Parkin is both consummate professional and a sprite, the sort of person who makes you not only listen but also smile when she sits down at the piano to play. In December, when she jumped in sort of at the last moment to accompany chorus rehearsals for the Beacon's production of H.M.S. Pinafore on New Year's Day, we producers breathed a collective sign of relief, along with our listening and smiling.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 28, 2011 - What comes to mind when you hear the word "cartel"?

You may think first of oil barons or drug lords, but if you had been part of the audience at a screening of a documentary at the Tivoli Thursday night, a new image would be added: public school classrooms.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 27, 2011 - President Barack Obama's emphasis on education in Tuesday night's State of the Union address was welcome to St. Louis educators who appreciated the recognition he gave to the role of teachers and the importance of good schools in sharpening U.S. competitiveness.

Commentary: Going backward in schools

Jan 24, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 24, 2011 - Get a bunch of psychologists together who are also mothers, and there is bound to be scrutiny related to anything our children might come into contact with -- namely, the education system. So, when my good friend began expressing concern about the shifts in her local school district (Wake County, Raleigh, N.C.), I listened attentively but failed to fully grasp the implications.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 21, 2011 - If you can't beat 'em, sponsor 'em.

That may become the new attitude by the St. Louis Public Schools toward charter schools, the publicly funded alternatives that the city school system has long treated warily, if not like an outright enemy, for draining students and resources from the cash-strapped, unaccredited district.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 18, 2011 - Raising a child with autism or other learning disabilities is always a challenge.

Dealing with trying economic times, and struggling to navigate the often bewildering maze of education bureaucracy at the same time, make a tough task that much harder.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 18, 2011 - Last Saturday, Jan. 15, during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, Angela da Silva and the National Black Tourism Network re-enacted a slave auction on the steps of the Old Courthouse. The event was cosponsored by the National Park Service, the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation and other groups deeply concerned with educating the public about the experience of slavery in St. Louis and the fight for emancipation and equal rights for African Americans during the Civil War era, 150 years ago.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 18, 2011 - Charles Darwin only spent 10 days in the Galapagos Islands.

On that score Patricia Parker's got him beat. Though she seems at home enough in her fourth-floor office at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the 60-year-old biology department chair has been to the equatorial Pacific island chain at least once a year for the past 14 years for periods ranging from one to three months.

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