Education | KBIA


Missouri families can now use an existing college savings program to get a tax break on private school tuition and other K-12 education expenses, Treasurer Eric Schmitt announced this week.

An amendment added at the last minute to the massive tax overhaul Congress passed in December allows participants in state 529 college savings programs to spend up to $10,000 annually to cover tuition expenses at public, private and religious schools.

 Southeast Missouri State University will cut 35 to 40 jobs over the next five months, a move that the school's president says is necessary to balance the budget.

National Headquarters Shuts Down MU Fraternity

Jan 9, 2018

Sigma Alpha Epsilon at MU has been placed under a cease-and-desist order according to a statement last month from the national headquarters for the fraternity.

According to a statement released Dec. 13 by the Fraternity Service Center, the Missouri Alpha chapter of SAE must immediately stop all chapter operations until further notice.

MU Still Has WaysTo Go In Diverse Faculty Hiring, Choi and Cartwright Say

Jan 9, 2018
Columns at University of Missouri
Adam Procter / Flickr

MU had its best year in recent history hiring faculty of diverse backgrounds, but it still hasn’t reached its goal of having 10 percent of the faculty come from underrepresented minority groups, UM System President Mun Choi and MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said on Monday at a hearing of the Missouri House Special Committee on Urban Issues.

Tyler Adkisson / KBIA

Two years ago, graduate students at the University of Missouri found out in an email that their health insurance would be cut. Students began protesting around the issue, eventually creating a group called the Coalition of Graduate Workers. Sarah Senff was a member of that coalition to improve working conditions for graduate students. KBIA’s Elena Rivera spoke with Senff about the organizing in 2015 and what has changed in the past two years for graduate students at MU.

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is facing criticism for his role in a leadership shake-up at the state's education agency, but he's not the first governor to use appointments to enact change.

At issue are Greitens' recent appointments to the State Board of Education, who in turn voted to fire former Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven.

The UM System Board of Curators will view an initial assessment of administrative departments during its meeting Friday. Among its contents: recommendations for a fresh look at employee benefits and hints at a potential decrease of full-time employees in several key departments.

In November, Columbia Public School’s Misha Fugit, a sixth grade English teacher at Jefferson Middle School, received a national award for her work in children’s literacy. KBIA’s Taylor Kinnerup spoke with Fugit about receiving the award and her plans for the grant money.

Kinnerup: Can you just tell me a little bit about the award you've recently received?

Fugit: Yes, I received the Bonnie Campbell Hill National Literacy Leader Award - it has a very long title - from the Children's Literature Assembly, which is a branch of the National Council for the Teachers of English. So, that’s a mouthful, but the award is really about helping teachers who have shown promise in the field, as far as their contributions to articles or thinking in the field, to learn and grow themselves as professionals in an area that they're interested in.

MU wants to increase new undergrad enrollment to 6,000 by 2023

Nov 28, 2017

MU doesn’t just want to build enrollment by 2023 — it also wants to increase how many students are coming back, finishing degrees and landing jobs within six months of graduating.

A forum for students, faculty and staff Monday drew about 140 people to Memorial Student Union, filling Stotler Lounge, with dozens standing along the back and sides. Many took notes and asked questions as the MU Strategic Enrollment Management Committee revealed five goals to be met by 2023.

MU Appoints Pat Okker Permanent Dean Of Arts & Science

Nov 21, 2017
Stephanie Atkinson Photography

MU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Garnett Stokes on Tuesday named Patricia Okker dean of the College of Arts and Science, effective immediately.

Okker, a professor of English, had been serving as interim dean of A&S since Aug. 1, 2016.

“Dr. Okker emerged from a strong pool of finalists as the clear choice of faculty, staff, and campus leaders inside and outside of the college,” Stokes said. “During her time as interim dean, Dr. Okker demonstrated that she is a dynamic, decisive leader who is willing to make tough decisions."

Updated at 2:15 p.m. with governor's comments —

Missouri’s commissioner of education survived a rare move to oust her by appointees of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

The State Board of Education, though stacked with appointees by Greitens, did not vote in favor of firing Margie Vandeven in a closed-door meeting Tuesday. The board tied 4-4.

The University of Missouri says it will continue to use live pigs to train emergency room doctors despite protests. 

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens removed a State Board of Education appointee Monday night. On Tuesday, members were expected to discuss firing the state's top education official. 

Meiying Wu / KBIA

Columbia Public Schools is moving forward with a world language center so it can continue offering advanced Japanese and German classes. Low enrollment in those upper-level classes drove the decision to merge them.

“Students then would still be able to pursue a language that they have interest in, but we would be able to consolidate that into a central location,” said Michelle Baumstark, Community Relations Director for CPS.

The plan was presented Monday to the Columbia Board of Education, and the district is moving forward with it. The center will be in one of the existing high schools rather than a new building.

Sara Shahriari / KBIA

Last week marked 100 days for MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright. The University of Missouri held an event on Wednesday, Nov. 15 to celebrate the Chancellor and announce new initiatives for student success.

Some of these initiatives are aimed at lowering costs. One is the Border State Scholars award. It will reduce out-of-state tuition by $2,500 for students coming to MU from one of the 8 states that border Missouri. 

State Data Results Show Slight Descrease In Overall Performance for Columbia Public Schools

Nov 15, 2017
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Correction An original version of this article incorrectly referred to Annual Performance Report score as a Missouri Assessment Program score. MAP is one factor used to calculate a district's ARP.

Columbia Public Schools' Annual Performance Report score dropped a couple percentage points compared to last year, according to data from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Last year, the district received an 86.8 percent overall score on the state's annual report card for districts, or APR. The report uses test scores, college and career readiness, attendance, graduation rates and other factors to determine school district accreditation. This year's score was 84.3 percent.

The Jefferson City Public School District continues to host community meetings on diversity.

These series of meetings were in response to an incident in September where a group of high school students posed in a picture that included racist imagery.

University of Missouri

NOTE: This story will be updated

University of Missouri Provost Garnett Stokes will leave the University of Missouri to become the next President of the University of New Mexico.

UNM made the announcement Thursday morning, stating that Stokes will take over the role on March 1, 2018. Stokes had been announced as one of the five finalists for the job last month.

In an email to MU faculty and staff Thursday, MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said that he expects the school to launch a national search immediately, and to identify an interim provost “in the coming weeks.”

A new report from third-party consultants says the Greek system at the University of Missouri is falling short in key areas.

Dyad Strategies, a small consulting group that specializes in Greek life, was hired by the university to compile the report as part of an overhaul of campus life administration earlier this year. According to the report, employees from Dyad visited the school in mid-August to conduct in-person meetings that formed the basis of its conclusions.

The College of the Ozarks has instituted a new required course on patriotism for all freshmen.

The class, Patriotic Education and Fitness, was launched this year and combines civics and ROTC curriculum, says Bryan Cizek , the director of patriotic activities at College of the Ozarks.

Cizek, who teaches the course, says the college has a history of teaching civics and military science. This class adds a fitness component and teaches skills like rappelling.

Sara Shahriari / KBIA

The University of Missouri has created a committee tasked with finding someone to fill the role of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civil Rights, Title IX and ADA.

The Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civil Rights, Title IX and ADA will be responsible for things like ensuring compliance with all Title IX laws and providing training for the MU community.

University of Missouri

University of Missouri Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Garnett Stokes is one of five finalists for the job of the President of the University of New Mexico. The University announced the finalists in a press release this afternoon.

David Estrada / KBIA

A $21.6 million gift from the Novak family to the University of Missouri School of Journalism will establish what the university calls the world’s first center for communication and marketing-based leadership education.

The Novak Leadership Institute will provide students with hands-on experience in leadership and development, organizational communication, entrepreneurship and service. 

David Novak, the retired chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, says he gave to the university because there is a need to train students to become effective leaders.

Sara Shahriari / KBIA

Administrators at the University of Missouri held two town forums on Sept. 12 and 13 to discuss the results of the Campus Climate Survey conducted in 2016. They say the survey reflects room for improvement.

The survey, conducted by the independent agency Rankin & Associates, included responses from nearly 10,000 MU students, faculty and staff. It shows that high percentages of students, faculty and staff at MU have “seriously considered leaving” the university, with more than 40 percent of students considering it in their first and second years each. 

UM System President Mun Choi says the survey shows that the reasons for this are mostly interactions or experiences with peer groups and coworkers. 

Sara Shahriari / KBIA

Intersection is marking the new school year with conversations with three MU professors whose work and teaching styles make then stand out. We learn that parts of Missouri were once on the coast of a huge inland sea, how a veterinarian and toxicologist gets to the bottom of mysterious ailments and how students are learning to understand the global market for fabrics. 

Mizzou Columns
David Chicopham / Flickr

The University of Missouri campus may be opening its doors to families of students affected by Hurricane Harvey, according to an email sent by university officials Monday.

The email sent by Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and Provost Garnett Stokes said families in need of temporary housing may contact Residential Life’s Guest Housing.

In a unanimous vote, the UM System Board of Curators approved plans for the Memorial Stadium South Expansion Project, which is expected to be complete in summer 2019 and cost roughly $98 million, at Friday's meeting.

This approval comes amidst belt-tightening across the institution. This summer, all departments were required to cut their annual budgets by up to 12 percent. Then, Thursday, UM System President Mun Choi announced in an email to faculty and staff that the institution would be hiring outside consultants to find further ways to reduce operating costs.



University of Missouri officials signed an agreement Thursday that will expand financial aid for lower-income students beginning in 2018.

As part of the Missouri Land Grant Compact, Missouri undergraduates who qualify for the federal Pell Grant program will have all tuition and fees covered. In addition, students who are also enrolled in the Honors College will have all room and board covered.

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said the awards should have a significant impact on the state.

Initial Numbers Show Higher Enrollment in Columbia Public Schools

Aug 16, 2017
Columbia Public Schools

Enrollment in Columbia Public Schools has increased by 294 students since last year.

Columbia Public Schools released preliminary enrollment numbers on Tuesday, which was the first day of the new school year. Total enrollment for all schools was 18,585, according to a news release from Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark.

The Missouri State Board of Education on Tuesday advanced what’s been characterized as a “skinny” plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

Better known as ESSA, the Obama-era reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act replaces the controversial No Child Left Behind Act as the law governing school accountability. Among other things, ESSA outlines how federal Title I dollars should be distributed to schools with large populations of students living in poverty.