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Education

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 17, 2010 - In Kansas City, the School Board voted to close 26 out of 61 schools. In north St. Louis County, the Wellston School District is going away altogether, to be absorbed by the neighboring Normandy district at the end of this school year.

Commentary: How early should early childhood education start?

Mar 8, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 08, 2010 - When I graduated from college, I worked as a kindergarten teacher in Jakarta for a few years. I learned more than I had expected from that experience and became an advocate of the “golden years” concept of how deeply human development is shaped by the first five years of life. As acceptance of the notion of early childhood education grows, I have noticed that policies and programs have focused more heavily on the pre-kindergarten experience. Is it true that policies and programs are most effective if they focus on the preschool period rather than even earlier in life?

Does school choice lead to resegregation?

Feb 24, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 24, 2010 - A new report on the racial makeup of enrollment in the nation's charter schools says two goals seem to be colliding: deregulation and desegregation.

The research conducted by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA says that as more students attend classes in charter schools, which are funded by tax dollars but separate from traditional school districts, the ideal of integration too often has been ignored.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Patrick Jackson stood alone on the stage of the packed Keating Theater at Kirkwood High School last Dec. 22, with just his double bass in his arms, playing an idiosyncratic and difficult solo called "Failing."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 19, 2010 - Patrick Jackson stood alone on the stage of the packed Keating Theater at Kirkwood High School last Dec. 22, with just his double bass in his arms, playing an idiosyncratic and difficult solo called "Failing."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 18, 2010 - Steven Gibson had no idea what to expect. In the past, events put on by the Cultural Diversity Club have drawn as many as three people. Gibson, a junior at Francis Howell Central High School, is the unofficial leader of the club, and on the evening of Feb. 17, he got a nice surprise.

At Kirkwood High, racial progress is marked by both success and frustration

Feb 17, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 17, 2010 - The relationship between Kirkwood and its predominantly African-American neighborhood of Meacham Park plays out daily in the public schools, where decades of attention to race-related issues have yielded both success and frustration.

At Kirkwood High School, African-American students have made major improvements in their graduation rate and other measures of achievement. But the number of African-American teachers has shrunk to two on a faculty of 118. Some current and former African-American faculty complain about being treated disrespectfully.

Lessons from Teach For America

Feb 10, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 10, 2010 - In its two decades, Teach For America, the program that recruits recent college graduates to teach in hard-to-staff public schools, has grown substantially. Last year, a record 35,000 people applied for roughly 4,100 teaching spots across the country. This year, more than 50,000 people could apply for 4,500 positions, according to Scott Baier, executive director of Teach for America St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 3, 2010 - Many educators would be happy to see provisions of No Child Left Behind left behind, but they’re a little wary of what might be taking its place. 

The program enacted in 2002 as part of the Bush administration’s education policy has become a fixture in the policy of many schools. They strive to make sure their students make adequate yearly progress as measured by standardized tests and move toward the mandate of having all American children becoming proficient by 2014. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 1, 2010 - In state after state, says author Richard Whitmire, one gender is slipping behind the other in math scores on standardized tests, and it is falling far behind in reading.

From 1990 to 2005, the high-school grade gap between the sexes widened, from both genders averaging grades of C to one having a B and the other having a C-plus.

Commentary: Illinois takes one step for school reform

Jan 31, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 31, 2010 - Illinois' deadline dash to enact education reforms that could entice $500 million in "Race to the Top" federal funding was truly remarkable in this era of dysfunctional state government, but it took a toll on transparency.

The measure resolutely makes student growth a significant factor in evaluating the performance of teachers and administrators; yet, it bars disclosure of how specific educators fare with the elevated level of accountability. So, while many cheer the new law as moving Illinois "light years ahead," others chastise the darkness.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 28, 2010 - With health care stuck in neutral, political gridlock in the Senate, millions still out of work and two wars grinding on, President Barack Obama's spotlight on schools in the State of the Union address was a welcome bright spot for local educators.

"It was very encouraging to have community colleges referred to so positively in the State of the Union speech," said John M. McGuire, president of St. Charles Community College.

Commentary: Five tips for raising racially aware children

Jan 18, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 18, 2010 - A recent article in the Race, Frankly series covered the hard work of parents in the Community Connection program in the Webster Groves school district. It got me thinking about explicit actions that we can take as parents to raise racially aware children.

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