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Education

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 25, 2009 -The St. Louis Public School system is accustomed to getting much of the attention, good and bad, each year when a new school year begins. But that's changing as more innovative charter schools open their doors. The latest one is Confluence Preparatory Academy downtown.

This new charter high school has set up shop appropriately enough across the street from Central Library. The building the school occupies is the old TWA Reservation Center, 310 North 15th Street.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 20, 2009 - Readers of the St. Louis Beacon share their own personal experiences with race and education -- and show how they learned more than just their ABCs and times tables. Their stories help demonstrate that things can look different, depending on where you stand.

All the sources came from our Public Insight Network, a group of people in the St. Louis area and beyond who have agreed to help us cover the news by sharing their observations, knowledge and expertise with us. We hope each story will help us all understand each other a little better.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 20, 2009 - From thousands of miles away, Alice Layton is planning the next book shipment to Guyana. She is the picture of a 21st-century entrepreneur, working at coffee shops and from her home in St. Louis -- and communicating with colleagues in the South American country primarily through instant messaging and e-mail.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 19, 2009 - For the fifth year in a row, the composite ACT score for Missouri students remains flat, prompting state Education Commissioner Chris L. Nicastro to say the state must do better.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 17, 2009 - Samantha Buress began her sophomore year at Hazelwood Central High School last Thursday with a 4.0 average and a belief that she'll become a good lawyer one of these days. Besides plans to join the student council and the school choir, the 15-year-old intends to continue helping classmates struggling with English, math and science. That's her solution to the achievement gap, an issue about which she and many other students have strong opinions.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 14, 2009 - When the voluntary school desegregation came to the Parkway School District in 1983, Sally Smith, a social studies teacher there, predicted that her colleagues would be clueless about how to tap into the incoming students' talent.

"We don't recognize it," she told researcher Amy Stuart Wells. "We're frightened by it. We did not invite the black children out here, and so there is an underlying hostility towards them that may not be recognized" by the teachers themselves.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 14, 2009 - Privacy advocates are trying to force Google to agree to tough privacy protections that would safeguard the list of books that people read from the future Google online library. They want the protections written into a pending court settlement.

Google has scanned millions of books into digital form since it began the books project in 2003. Authors and publishers sued for copyright infringement in 2005, and Google reached a tentative settlement of the case in 2007. Critics of the settlement have until Sept. 4 to file their comments with the court.

Commentary: Teachable moments happen too often

Aug 10, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 10 2009 - As an educator of law students, I am always looking for creative ways to teach important legal and philosophical principles. It is essential to ponder how the law developed and how historical values and doctrines evolved. Discussions of race and poverty are constant themes in our clinic where we focus on representing the poor with various legal challenges.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 8, 2009 - The little kindergartener struggled a bit with her welcome address, but hey, she was speaking in Spanish, and that explains the warm applause for her efforts.

The girl's remarks and similar ones in French by a first grader marked the official introduction to two unusual public charter schools in St. Louis. One is a French school and the other a Spanish school; both are part of St. Louis Language Immersion Schools . Located at 4011 Papin St., the two schools open their doors Monday, Aug. 17, to 180 kindergartners and first graders.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 7, 2009 - In "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere," author ZZ Packer tells of students visiting a civil rights exhibit so they could appreciate the progress the nation has made since the Jim Crow era. On the way from the exhibit, the students stopped by a restaurant where the black girls congregated at one table and the whites sat at another.

While there are plenty of exceptions, that kind of segregation is common in school cafeterias across the St. Louis area. Seemingly by instinct, some youngsters carve out spaces or choose tables where they chat, laugh and eat with people who look like themselves.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 3, 2009 - Aside from being where kids learn to read and write, schools are, and have been, a melting pot for assimilating children into mainstream America. As schools become more diverse, they've also had to place more emphasis on their social responsibilities: encouraging fair play and respect for all students, whether they come from around the corner or around the world.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 31, 2009 - The tough financial situation has taught local schools an interesting lesson in economics, but it's not necessarily the one they expected.

With household budgets getting tighter, tuition for private or parochial schools might be one of the first places that families look to cut. Yet with the first day of classes only a few weeks away, schools in the area say big changes in enrollment -- drops for private schools, increases for public ones -- are not materializing.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 31, 2009 - From the very beginning of public schools in St. Louis, race and education have mixed about as well as oil and water. The promise of public education as the great equalizer, the character-building process through which even the most impoverished and ignorant residents would be taught the social and academic skills needed for a good start in life, applied to whites but eluded most blacks.

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