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Commentaries

What is Happening with Our Right to Vote?
Aired September 05, 2012
The U. S. Constitution in its 15th Amendment, adopted in 1871, states; ”The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.” It was one of the three amendments honoring the pledges of freedom for which the bloody Civil War was fought. And in 1920 the 19th amendment was adopted granting women the right to vote. Thus all American citizens have been given the constitutional and absolute right to vote.

Now, in the year 2012, efforts are under way in many states(including Missouri) to narrow, restrict, limit and make difficult the voting rights for many of our citizens.

Pittsburgh Promise
Aired June 01, 2012
A consortium of the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Public School Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and other foundations and corporations had created a marvelous visionary scholarship program called the Pittsburgh Promise. These organizations have pledged to help all students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools to plan, prepare and pay for their education beyond high school at any accredited post secondary institution in Pennsylvania. Students have been in the Pittsburgh Public Schools for at least four years will receive $7,000 each year towards their college education. If students have been in the public schools from kindergarten on, they will receive $10,000 each year towards their post secondary education.

What a gift and what a marvelous opportunity not only for the students but also for the city itself.

St. Louis certainly can do the same.

The Power of An Education
Aired April 09, 2012
Last month both the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the New York Times featured a breathtaking picture of young Indonesian children carefully and cautiously walking on a dangling damaged suspension bridge, hanging high over a river, to make their way to school. It was a riveting photograph. Were these students to fall, their lives would have been at stake. We have heard the statement “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Well, this photo is certainly one of those pictures! And it tells a compelling story.

Here in the St. Louis area, in a symbolic way, our children are also trying to cross that bridge to education but are being put at significant risk.

The Role of Education in Preparing for Climate Change
Aired December 23, 2011
Why is this important for the education of our children and certainly for youngsters in the St. Louis region? Because climate and, as a result, life styles are and will continue to dramatically change. Students need to know this and be prepared for a world quite different from the one they currently experience. Their expectations and assumptions must also change.

The Importance of Voting
Aired November 09, 2011
Looking at Missouri’s current voting records, what can we do to increase voting numbers? Certainly we must educate youngsters of the importance of voting as high school students will be voting in the next election.

We are fortunate to be able to vote, even though people may believe that one’s vote does not count. Yet each vote makes a difference.

Solving Our Differences and Moving Forward As a Region
Aired September 19, 2011
We want a state and city that is prosperous with educated workers who have jobs so they can provide for their families. We want a state and city that have vision, that can afford significant, not meager, funds for education and social services. We want to build a community that is creative, inventive and well educated so that we can attract the best and the brightest in all fields. But to do that we must lay the foundation now and that means fighting for the resources necessary to educate children and put people to work. It also means jump starting new programs so that families can find work.

When Taxing for Schools Makes a Difference.
Aired June 00, 2011
What has become of the Show Me State? We had the first kindergarten in the nation. We have had prominent national leaders attend our schools. Yet where are we now? Our State is cutting the amount of money that goes to school districts, while asking teachers and administrators to do an excellent job with fewer resources. Don’t you want our teachers to earn an income that they can be proud of and not have to have second and third jobs? Good teachers in our area are leaving the profession for higher paying job as they cannot support their families on their current incomes.

I am beginning to wonder what we value.

The MAP Test: Preparation and Its Meaning for Student Success
Aired March 28, 2011
High stakes tests are a fact of life. They are given throughout all of our lives, whether applying to schools, applying for jobs or assessing their working careers. Certainly students must know test taking procedures and feel comfortable with these assessments. But it is of little value if students are taught just the sample test taking procedures without the comprehension and application of such knowledge in real life situations. It is very important that schools, when preparing students for such tests, take the time to see that students fully understand the concepts they are reviewing and can apply them in problem solving situations.

Why Can't We Do a Better Job of Educating Our Students?
Aired February 04, 2011
A very recent report from the respected Program of International Assessment shows that the United States scored 23rd out of 33 countries in science, 17 out of 33 countries in reading, and tied for last place in mathematics! Some of the other countries tested included China, Korea, Finland, Canada, The Netherlands and Germany.

In this country only Massachusetts scored well and Missouri, as a State, did not even participate. Only one school district in the State of Missouri took the test. That district was the Clayton School District whose students posted outstanding performances, coming in among the first tier in science and reading, and at the top of the tier in mathematics. While congratulations are due to the Clayton School District, I ask, why did not other Missouri districts take the test, and why did the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education choose not participate at all?

Don't Wait for Superman
Aired November 09, 2010
The new film "Waiting for Superman" is showing in St. Louis and throughout the nation. The movie is a poignant and dramatized story of the plight of American education.

I believe there is a reason that Waiting for Superman is making such a stir in this country. It is telling us our education system, for all the good things that they do, needs big time major fixing and now is the time to begin the necessary changes.

Fortunes of Immigration
Aired September 23, 2010
St. Louis is viewed as a safe and hospitable place for refugees. Its housing is reasonable; it is for the most part a tolerant place with little resentment toward these newcomers. And now we have the second largest Bosnian population in the country. Not only has this immigration boosted our population overall but it has brought new restaurants, dance, and music to our attention.

Insisting on Quality Education for All
Aired August 05, 2010
It is evident that creating and maintaining quality schooling is an ongoing challenge. Most recently in St. Louis another charter school was closed down because of poor performance. The unwillingness of the State Board of Education to allow the school to continue was a proper decision and certainly fair to the children in that school.

But does this mean that only charter schools are evaluated for the quality of their education?

The Race to the Top for School Reform
Aired May 07, 2010
So what went wrong? Why was Missouri ranked so close to the bottom?

In essence without a highly educated work force our regional economy will grow very slowly and talented youth will move elsewhere. This State and our community must recognize how important it is that our children be well educated. We must acknowledge that this is not the case for so many children in our region. And we are the ones to take responsibility for this.

Race To The Top and Missouri's Responsibility
Aired April 00, 2010
In essence without a highly educated work force our regional economy will grow very slowly and talented youth will move elsewhere. This State and our community must recognize how important it is that our children be well educated. We must acknowledge that this is not the case for so many children in our region. And we are the ones to take responsibility for this.

Play and Programming Make a Difference in Student Outcomes
Aired February 15, 2010
Sometimes the easiest of changes can make an enormous difference for children if educators are willing to switch and not give negative reasons for change such as the challenge of putting coats away, and finding bathroom time.

We all want children to succeed but often as adults we are not willing to face the inconvenience of doing something differently, thus upsetting the status quo.

More Education Means More Happiness
Aired January 18, 2010
In Costa Rica rising education levels have created many impressive results which range from more gender equity, preservation of the environment, bolstering economic output, a more stable economy, and becoming a major exporter of computer chips. Education brought about very significant improvement in health care with life expectancy increasing.

Our state has so much to learn from what Costa Rica has achieved.

A World Without Music or Art
Aired December 21, 2009
I fear that budgets across the region will experience major cuts this coming year, and so often the very first casualties are the arts. The long term effects could be the lack of arts’ training, and the eventual loss of artistic expression.

Imagine our lives and region without the arts.

The Reach For An Educated Constituency
Aired November 16, 2009
National data indicate a strong correlation between economic success and attained education level. Missouri ranks a dismal 30th in the nation in the number of 25-34 year olds with a degree past high school. National data indicate a strong correlation between economic success and attained education level. It is so important that we commit ourselves in this region to improve the academic achievement of our young people with the expectation that they will continue through some post secondary training.

Mortenson's Mission Should Be a Template for St. Louis Region
Aired October 19, 2009
Greg Mortenson is an inspired man who has devoted his life to building schools for young children (mostly girls whom could not be otherwise educated) in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Greg has been threatened many times, saw built schools destroyed, but continues to persevere, believing that education is the only way to a peaceful world. And he never gives up.

What a lesson for us in the St. Louis region.

Making the Best with What We Have
Aired September 21, 2009
School financing is incredibly complex. In Missouri there have been many attempts to make the formula more equitable but major differences still prevail. Now it is now up to the school districts to determine how best to spend the resources they have. And I know that is difficult.

City Garden - What it Means for Educators
Aired August 17, 2009
Students and teachers, while having a great time in the garden, can learn about environmentally friendly green roofing systems. They can learn about the Missouri Northern River bluffs, the middle flood plain band and the southern river terrace band. They can study environmental sustainability and so much more.

Everyone Has a Role in Improving Schooling - Even Business
Aired July 20, 2009
Of course parents play a key role but there is another critical source for children’s education - businesses. Yes, businesses.

Enjoy the Summer While Learning
Aired June 15, 2009
School is over. "Great!" say children! Now we can just “chill out” all summer and watch TV. So, how can we parents avoid the dreaded “TV Tube”? One answer: take advantage of all the things that children enjoy and the learning that comes from that.

Regional Student Leadership Council
Aired April 20, 2009
I propose the formation of Regional Student Leadership Council, comprised of student representatives from the St. Louis City Schools, each of the suburban schools, St. Charles and Jefferson County. Listeners may ask “why?” and “why students?”

Students need to be heard.

Recycling School Buildings Benefits The Community
Aired March 16, 2009
The St. Louis School system is in the process of closing as many as 10-12 schools in an effort to consolidate resources and use existing schools more effectively. The question now comes how best to utilize these unneeded school buildings. Most controversially, should some of them be used for Charter Schools?

Our community is known for its conservative and possessive attitudes that have frequently kept us from encouraging growth. But let me show how Chicago resolves the politically and controversial reuse of school buildings no longer needed.

Darwin, Lincoln and Education
Aired February 16, 2009
Where would we be today without these men? We should celebrate their achievements and realize how important it is that we have a community of literate and creative constituents. We have the Emerging Technologies Center and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Are we preparing our children to work in these first class centers?

Dr. Martin Luther King Day
Aired January 19, 2009
His life ennobled our country, leading the struggle from the darkness of racial inequity towards the goal of social justice for all—black and white, women and men, old and young, rich and poor.

Have we now fulfilled Dr. King’s dream? Not yet. The long road is still ahead. So much still to overcome; so many tasks still to undertake.

Accessing the 21st Century
Aired December 15, 2008
Students to be competitive must have continuing fast Internet access so that it becomes a second language in the preparation of their future. Yet our country and our region have a long way to go.

The United States ranks only 15th in the world in broadband access for all. Our country, which invented the Internet and created its basic programs, falls behind nations such as England, France, Korea and Germany in per capita access.

New Directions
Aired November 17, 2008
If we do not have an educated constituency, we will never be prepared to handle future problems or maintain our status as a primary nation or a premier state.

We need the President and our governor in their first addresses to give broad and detailed education plans as one of their top priorities. During the next decade we know the financial crises will be with us but we owe it to our children to place education and social service at the top of the list.

School Budgets and Parent Advocacy
Aired October 20, 2008
The major fiscal crises that is upon us may have a huge and adverse impact on our schools. With local school revenues almost certain to drop in the next few years, it is essential to look closely at how we can still maintain the current high level of schooling and avoid the usual pitfalls of cutting back programs to make ends meet.

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Susan Uchitelle

Susan Uchitelle

Commentator

Susan Uchitelle is a consultant for the Voluntary Interdistrict Coordinating Council.

More Susan Uchitelle Commentaries