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.

Steve Edwards and Robin Trotman, CoxHealth

‘Soooo frustrating:’ Infighting, bad predictions hindered Missouri response to Delta

By: and - October 28, 2021

Dr. Robin Trotman had an inkling his Springfield hospital system was experiencing a harbinger of what was to come. It was late June, and CoxHealth was seeing an influx of COVID-19 patients who had already been vaccinated, as the highly contagious Delta variant spread unchecked through the region. Trotman, an infectious disease specialist at CoxHealth, […]

Two yellow school buses are show in bright sunshine outside a two-story brick school building in Columbia, Missouri.

Missouri School Boards’ Association withdraws from national org over letter to Biden

By: - October 26, 2021

The Missouri School Boards’ Association withdrew from its parent organization last week over a letter the national organization sent calling for federal intervention to address acts of “domestic terrorism” at hostile school board meetings nationwide. Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) members were informed of the decision in a letter sent Monday afternoon. The group’s executive […]

After negotiating to revise new Missouri law, Christian boarding school sues to block it

By: - October 20, 2021

A Christian boarding school from northeast Missouri with a history of defying government intervention filed a federal lawsuit last week seeking to block oversight requirements in a new state law — even after negotiating with legislators to revise the law’s provisions. CNS International Ministries Inc., a nonprofit which operates various recovery programs for children, men […]

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 […]