Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg covers education, health care and the legislature. She previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Kansas City Star and The Columbia Missourian, where her reporting into social media use by the governor prompted an investigation by the Attorney General’s office. She most recently covered state government in Texas for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

classic columns from side in summer framed by green; jesse dome view from cornell

University of Missouri System will allow classroom mask mandate to expire Friday

By: - October 14, 2021

The University of Missouri System will allow a mask mandate for its four campuses to expire after Friday. Last month, the Board of Curators extended a rule that face masks be worn in classrooms by a 5-4 vote. That policy was scheduled to end at the close of Friday, and a meeting notice had not […]

Bubble Sheet Test with Pencil

Report shows Missouri schools with low test scores can have high student growth

By: - October 14, 2021

Schools with a low percentage of students reaching proficient and advanced levels on Missouri standardized tests are also among the ones that have achieved some of the most student growth, according to a new report published Thursday. In an effort to better visualize how students grow academically over time, researchers from the Policy Research in […]

Jennifer Tidball

‘I expect change’: Lawmakers hope new leadership jumpstarts reform at troubled agency

By: - October 13, 2021

After years of dysfunction and criticism — including lawsuits, legislative inquiries and a revolving door of leaders — the announcement Tuesday that Gov. Mike Parson was putting one of his top deputies in charge of the Missouri Department of Social Services was greeted with optimism. Jennifer Tidball, the acting director of the department for the […]

Missouri students can now ‘test to stay’ to remain in classroom after COVID exposure

By: - October 12, 2021

Missouri students and teachers identified as being exposed to a coronavirus case in school may now be permitted to remain in class if they continue to test negative for the virus and properly wear a mask. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) updated its school reopening guidance Friday to include the new “test […]

In sudden cabinet shake-up, Parson announces director changes in five Missouri agencies

By: and - October 12, 2021

Gov. Mike Parson announced a sudden cabinet shake-up Tuesday, with a slew of personnel changes across five state agencies — including the immediate and unexplained departure of the official in charge of the state’s procurement agency. In a news release Tuesday afternoon, Parson announced Office of Administration (OA) Commissioner Sarah Steelman was stepping down and […]

Gabriella Cotton

Families with disabled children in limbo as Missouri aid program remains stalled

By: - October 11, 2021

The seizures started hours after Gabriella Cotton was born. In the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, “there were tubes everywhere,” said her mom, Stephanie Currie. They protruded from Gabriella’s belly button and mouth, wires were strapped to her head and IV’s snaked out of the newborn’s five-and-a-half-pound body.  “All of my […]

Gabriella Cotton

Lawmaker demands answers about why Missouri program to aid disabled kids isn’t running

By: - October 8, 2021

A state lawmaker who helped secure nearly $3 million in funding to launch a pilot program to provide medically fragile children with another avenue of in-home care is demanding an explanation as to why its launch has been delayed. In a Thursday letter to state Budget Director Dan Haug, Sen. Brian Williams, D-University City, requested […]

Medicaid expansion rally

Missouri has enrolled 4,300 people in expanded Medicaid program

By: - October 7, 2021

Roughly 4,300 Missourians eligible for health care under Medicaid expansion have been enrolled, a top Missouri Medicaid official said Thursday. That figure represents a little over a quarter of the more than 17,000 applications the state has received since it began accepting applications for Medicaid expansion coverage in August, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid […]

Jennifer Tidball and Joanie Rogers

Lawmakers seethe at Missouri agency over failure to report missing foster kids

By: - October 5, 2021

Exasperated lawmakers slammed leaders of the Missouri Department of Social Services on Tuesday, accusing them of passing off blame for a federal review that found the state fails to adequately report missing foster children. Tuesday’s hearing of the House Children and Families Committee was spurred by a report issued last week by the U.S Department […]

Protesters at Medicaid expansion rally

‘Not out of the woods yet’: Missouri finally expanded Medicaid, but hard work remains

By: - October 1, 2021

Three months after Medicaid expansion was first slated to go into effect, newly eligible individuals will finally begin to enroll in coverage. For Missourians who lack health insurance under Missouri’s Medicaid system, and for the advocates who help them sign up, Friday has been a long time coming. “It’s a relief,” said Earlene Bolton, the […]

Prosecutor asks Missouri governor to ignore AG’s demand to be removed from Agape case

By: - September 30, 2021

The county prosecutor who Attorney General Eric Schmitt said “does not intend to seek justice” for victims of alleged abuse and neglect at a southwestern Missouri boarding school urged Gov. Mike Parson to not remove Schmitt’s office from assisting in the case. In a letter sent Tuesday, Cedar County Prosecuting Attorney Ty Gaither said that […]

Jennifer Tidball

Federal watchdog finds Missouri failed to adequately report, protect missing foster kids

By: - September 30, 2021

A federal watchdog found that Missouri failed to sufficiently reduce children’s risk of going missing from the foster care system and frequently failed to notify local and federal authorities they were missing. A report by the U.S Department of Health Human Services Office of Inspector General issued Thursday found that the Department of Social Services’ […]