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Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 18, 2010 - Missouri earned a below-average grade in Education Week's latest Quality Counts survey. The average score for all states was 75.9 or a C. Missouri ranked 40th among the states with a C- and a score of 72.4; Illinois ranked 41st with a C- score of 71.8. Maryland ranked highest with a B+ overall score, followed by Massachusetts and New York.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 4, 2010 - The Regional Business Council mentoring program is designed to give students behind-the-scenes insight into how companies work as well as a valuable contact they can use to help further their careers.

Based on the reaction of three students who have been in the program this past semester, the program is working just as intended.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2009 - Anecdotal reports throughout the fall had community college enrollments rising fast, in large part because of the schools’ comparatively low costs and focus on workforce training. Turns out those early indications were correct.

A survey from the American Association of Community Colleges shows that the number of students nationwide who enrolled in credit courses at two-year colleges this fall increased by 11.4 percent from fall 2008 and 16.9 percent from fall 2007. Full-time enrollment rose 24.1 percent from fall 2007 to fall 2009.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 20, 2009 - Six St. Louisans with elected positions but no authority gathered last week in a school dance studio, just as they do every month.

The room at Carr Lane Visual and Performing Arts Middle School is lined with barres for aspiring performers; for inspiration, silhouettes of dancers are painted on the walls in varying stages of graceful movement.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 17, 2009 - JEFFERSON CITY: The Missouri state School Board voted unanimously Thursday to dissolve the Wellston School District as of the end of June 2010 and have its students and assets taken over by the neighboring Normandy School District.

The move would be the first change in the makeup of public school districts in St. Louis County since 1975, when the Kinloch and Berkeley districts became part of Ferguson-Florissant.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 9, 2009 -The panel charged with helping to determine the future of the St. Louis schools began its work Wednesday with no shortage of advice from members of the elected city school board whose power it helped to take away.

Dr. William H. Danforth called the first meeting of the five-member committee that was reconvened last month by Chris Nicastro, Missouri's commissioner of elementary and secondary education. The same group issued the report that led the state in 2007 to take accreditation away from the city schools and put the system under the control of a three-member appointed administrative board.

The Lens: 'An Education' that's first rate

Dec 7, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 7, 2009 - Any education is a form of seduction, from falling in love with an academic subject to falling in love with the movies. This is the subject of my highlight of the St. Louis International Film Festival, "An Education," now showing at the Hi-Pointe. Though Danish director Lone Sherfig has made earlier films, this is the first to receive wide distribution.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 23, 2009 - As Missouri educators met Monday to ponder how to win the state's share of $4.35 billion in money from Washington, they were reminded that while they are vying with other states for the money, their true competition extends far beyond the U.S. border.

The federal Race to the Top program is encouraging states to submit applications for the funds, which are designed to encourage and reward educational innovation that is most likely to lead to improved results for students, long-term gains in schools and increased productivity and effectiveness.

This article fist appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 20, 2009 - How's this for a good return on your money in this era of low, low interest rates? Invest $1, save $7 later on.

That's the deal that a Missouri House task force looking into ways to prevent school dropouts heard about during a hearing Friday at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. For every dollar spent on early childhood education, governments can save the seven dollars needed to build prisons.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov 18, 2009 - The St. Louis Public Schools district has shaved another $2 million off its deficit by closing buildings for seven days during winter break and furloughing employees for two days, but it still has another $11 million to go and Superintendent Kelvin Adams says there are no places to find very large chunks of it.

"We will look under every rock," Adams told reporters after the district's Special Administrative Board meeting at school headquarters Thursday night. "There are no big rocks."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 12, 2009 - The five-member committee whose earlier report led to the St. Louis Public Schools being unaccredited and run by a special administrative board is being reconvened to recommend the future course of the district.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 5, 2009 - Remember when Ma Bell lost her monopoly and suddenly everyone was faced with a wide -- and often bewildering -- array of choices about what telephone service would be best?

Educators and lawmakers around Missouri hope that one day soon, parents could face the same competitive choice about where to send their children to school.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 28, 2009 - It’s been a busy month of news on the college-cost front. As a quick review:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 28, 2009 - Eric Dunn's wife had a baby on Sunday, so he thought his excitement was over for the week.

Then he won a $25,000 teaching award Wednesday morning.

The Webster Groves High School math teacher was surprised by the honor from the Milken Family Foundation, which honors teachers nationwide.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 26, 2009 - Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro announced today that Missouri would seek public input next month for the state's proposal for Race to the Top funds, a $4 billion federal initiative intended to stimulate education reform across the country.

She said she would convene more than 200 Missouri educators, lawmakers, business leaders and others in Jefferson City on Nov. 23 to weigh in on the state's application. The day-long forum will be held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 23, 2009 - Sen. Claire McCaskill this morning held a video conference on financial aid in which college and high school officials, financial aid counselors, and students and parents from across the state sounded off on everything from the difficulties in filling out federal aid forms to the challenges in switching loan programs.

Commentary: Minnie Liddell's quest

Sep 30, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 30, 2009 - She was born in Starkville, Miss., the descendent of slaves but she spent most of her life in St. Louis and experienced the lingering impediments of Jim Crow laws.

In the face of the racial inscriptions imposed on her children, Minnie Liddell joined with several other parents who brought a lawsuit against the segregated St. Louis city school district in 1972.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 28, 2009 - Each month as a part of our Race, Frankly series, we've tried to tell the stories of regular people and their experiences. "The View From Here" continues this month, with a slightly different set of voices -- students. From an 11-year-old black boy being raised by white parents, to a young Iraqi woman, race continues playing a vital role in education, sometimes hindering, sometimes enriching, and sometimes simply making people very aware of who they are.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 27, 2009 - Alexandria Lee and Lizzy Burns, two sophomores at Saint Louis University, took part in a conference for college students over the weekend that got them thinking about how to generate interest -– both on and off campus -– in programs planned by their chapter of Student United Way.

One session at the second annual United Way Worldwide Student United Way Leadership Retreat, held in St. Louis, dealt with just that issue -– how to use guerilla marketing and other media techniques to create buzz around an event.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 25, 2009 - Work smarter! That's good advice for all employees, especially in health care, where inefficiencies can run up costs and mistakes can cost lives. That's the advice BJC Healthcare, the St. Louis region's predominant hospital group, wants to impress on all of its employees, from its lowest-paid hourly workers to its physicians and top executives.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 23, 2009 - Nearly $391 million in tax-increment financing for a proposed $8 billion redevelopment project in north St. Louis passed its first major test Wednesday night when the city's TIF commission sent the plan on to the Board of Aldermen.

In a unanimous vote after a three and a half hour hearing, the commissioners recommended that Paul McKee's NorthSide Regeneration project receive a TIF for its first two phases -- one in the area around the 22nd Street exit off of Highway 40 and other near where a new Mississippi River bridge will end in north St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 21, 2009 - On hot summer days in Clayton during the '40s, the clop-clop sound of the horse-drawn milk wagon on Arundel Place brought with it a rush of children, all racing to catch the driver and ask for ice. In this crowd of eager youngsters was a girl no taller and seemingly no stronger than the rest, but her friends remember that she'd usually outrun everybody and then bring back enough ice to share with them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 21, 2009 - As an Environmental Studies major (Social sciences track -- Got to keep my sanity as a prototypical WashU pre-med), it was always my dream to someday intern or work for the Environmental Protection Agency. I had no idea I would get the opportunity right after freshman year.

Interning at the EPA this summer, I learned the nuts and bolts of how our government handles broad issues such as pollution and globalization. In my environmental studies classes, we had discussed the impacts of these issues, but never specifically how the issues themselves are addressed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 20, 2009 - The French brought the first Africans to the Upper Louisiana territory in the 18th century to work in lead mines and later to provide labor in the growing settlement of St. Louis.

Through an African-French connection of cultural enrichment and intermarriage, a socially elite mixed-race group emerged. It was the French who first gave the heirs of transplanted Africans their freedom. Evidence of this inter-racial aristocracy can be found still in St. Louis street names such as Rutger (Pelagie Rutgers) and Clamorgan (Jacques Clamorgan) and Labadie (Antoine Labadie).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 15, 2009 - Race and education collided five years ago in the Clayton School District over the issue of money. When Missouri began to cut per-pupil spending for the voluntary transfer program, some Clayton homeowners felt it was time for the district to reduce the number of students from the city of St. Louis who attended Clayton schools under in the desegregation program or phase it out altogether. These homeowners argued with some credibility that their position had nothing to do with race and everything to do with fiscal responsibility.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 10, 2009 - As fifth graders cleared their desks and packed their book bags one recent afternoon at Bowles Elementary School in the Rockwood School District, their teacher, Edna Campbell, reminded herself once more, "This is the best move I ever made."

After 21 years, Campbell is still thankful for the day her curiosity led her to become an exchange/transfer teacher at Bowles, leaving her regular job at Marshall Elementary School in St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 1, 2009 - In a decision handed down today, the Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that the state's public school funding formula crafted in 2004 is constitutional. The ruling knocks down arguments by an unusual coalition of rural, suburban and urban districts that had contended that the state was underfunding its public schools.

More than 250 of the state's 523 school districts participated in the case. The suit challenged both the adequacy and the fairness of how Missouri pays for public education.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 28, 2009 - Education Secretary Arne Duncan says St. Louis is "putting all the right building blocks in place" to become a successful school system. His assessment came during a visit Thursday to high-performing Lexington Elementary School, 5030 Lexington Ave.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 26, 2009 - In spite of sluggish economic conditions -- or perhaps because of them -- many colleges in Missouri are reporting slight increases in enrollment this fall.

Robert B. Stein, commissioner of higher education for Missouri, said in a statement that the higher enrollment in Missouri's colleges was the "silver lining in the cloud overshadowing the economy."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 25, 2009 - His name was John Berry Meachum, but in a sense that wasn't his name at all. That was the name of the man who owned him. When African slaves were brought to this country against their will, they lost all their identity, their history, their music and their stories.

According to his own story, which he wrote after he learned his letters, John Berry Meachum was born a slave in May of 1789, the year that the country received its Constitution. His birthplace was Goochland County, Va., not far from the capital city of Richmond.

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