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Kate Casas
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Kate Casas is state policy director for the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri and the Children’s Education Council of Missouri. In this dual role, she leads the lobbying, grassroots, and communications efforts of both organizations, and assumes responsibility for managing their day-to-day operations.

For more than a decade, Kate has been committed to establishing strategies, policies, and objectives that aim to improve the state of education not only for Missouri families, but also for families nationwide.

Kate started her career as a campaign strategist for national and local candidates who were interested in expanding affordable housing and high quality education options for all children.

In 2003, she accepted a position at the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) in Washington, D.C., where she worked with affordable housing residents and advocates to lobby members of Congress and raise public awareness about the need for more affordable public housing. While at NLIHC, Kate also developed a program to register and educate hundreds of thousands of low income and homeless residents prior to the 2004 election.

In 2005, Kate received acceptance into Teach for America, a highly competitive national teaching program in at-risk urban school districts. As part of the Teach for America Corps in St. Louis, Kate taught fourth grade in Saint Louis Public Schools. After completing her two years in the teaching program, Kate helped open the first Big Picture Elementary School, where she also taught 4th grade.

In 2008, after earning her Master of Arts degree in teaching from Webster University, Kate accepted the position of associate director, Education and Youth Policy for Urban Strategies, Inc., in St. Louis. As associate director, Kate developed and implemented programs, services, and other strategies for improving outcomes and conditions for children and youth in partner communities. Kate was named senior project manager for Urban Strategies in 2010. In that role, she managed community engagement, neighborhood assessments, and human capital planning and implementation.

In addition to her M.A., Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in Political Science from Millikin University. She has worked extensively to identify and advocate for policy issues that benefit education. Kate, her husband Martin, and their daughter reside near Tower Grove Park in St. Louis.

Entries by Kate Casas

After #Ferguson, We Cannot Just Donate, Write and Program Our Problems Away

(1) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 1:12 PM

Tuesday afternoon I heard Amy Hunter from the St. Louis YWCA with Reena Hajat Carroll from Diversity Awareness Partnership on St. Louis on the Air. The show was about communicating about race in the aftermath of the recent protests and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Hunter made...

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Equality?!

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 2:29 PM

Years ago, I taught fourth grade in Saint Louis Public Schools. As a Teach for America corps member, it had been drilled into my head that I should spend the first weeks of the school year establishing rules and procedures and creating a classroom culture that would be safe, inspiring...

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False Hopes

(1) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 10:40 AM

This weekend I received an email from an enthusiastic supporter of the Children's Education Alliance of Missouri's (CEAM) policy agenda. The email subject was "False Hopes: Transferring Students from Unaccredited Districts". This email was referencing a 1993 Missouri law that allows children in failed school districts to transfer...

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Missouri Court Liberates Children Trapped in Failed Schools

(64) Comments | Posted June 13, 2013 | 12:01 PM

Speaking at the American Federation for Children conference in Washington, D.C. last month, Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) told the audience, "fifty years ago we wouldn't let minorities into schools; today we won't let them out."

This imagery was unsettling. The images from fifty years ago...

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The Fast Food Worker Strike Highlights the Need for Cooperation on Education Reform

(3) Comments | Posted May 31, 2013 | 11:57 AM

"Get up! Get down! Fast food workers run this town!"
That was one of the chants striking fast food workers, and the union members and community groups who were supporting them were singing the day Saint Louis joined the growing list of cities whose fast food workers were engaging...

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The Sky Isn't Falling on Public Education

(11) Comments | Posted May 6, 2013 | 2:04 PM

When I was in kindergarten, my class put on a Mother's Day rendition of the play Henny Penny for our mothers, grandmothers, and other adoring fans. Almost three decades later I entered the education reform community and have been reliving scenes from this fable ever since. Only in...

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Why I Want to Protect Great Teachers

(1) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 10:46 AM

My third grade teacher was fabulous; in fact, in my 20 years of education I had a lot of really wonderful teachers. However, it is Mrs. Mason who inspired me to take on the challenging work of reforming the way teachers are evaluated, compensated, hired and retained.

Before being...

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An Open Letter to Wendy Kopp

(50) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 10:04 AM

Dear Wendy,

I know you said in the email you sent yesterday announcing you were stepping down as CEO of Teach for America that you didn't want any goodbye notes because you were not leaving, just moving to the Board of Directors. However, you didn't say anything about sending you...

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Rural and Urban Education Needs Not That Different After All

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 3:41 PM

Unless you spend time in Illinois driving on Interstate 72 between Springfield and Decatur, I doubt you have ever heard of Illiopolis -- my hometown with a population of 963, and the moniker "a small town with a big heart".

2012-12-20-Illiopolis.jpg
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Missouri's Gritty, Whatever It Takes Model

(2) Comments | Posted November 27, 2012 | 10:03 AM

I want you to meet Jay, a 21-year-old single mother with a story that begins in a dropout factory. When she was a junior at Riverview Gardens High School in North Saint Louis County, Jay was pushed out for being over-aged and under-credited. She tells me that since leaving school...

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If It's Broken, Fix It

(17) Comments | Posted November 16, 2012 | 4:55 PM

I'm willing to bet that no one reading this column would ever knowingly eat in a restaurant that had received anything less than an A rating from the local health department. I am also willing to bet that no one would see the logic in rating a city's restaurants collectively...

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More Tricks Than Treats in our Education System for At-Risk Kids

(1) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 5:54 PM

I spent last night just like hundreds of thousands of families across America did, sitting on my porch handing out candy to dozens of neighborhood children. Although Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays, mostly because trick-or-treating in the cold isn't my idea of a good time, I...

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NCLB Waivers: Closing Achievement Gap Requires Policy Overhaul, Not Tweaks

(10) Comments | Posted October 25, 2012 | 9:57 AM

To date, 33 states and the District of Columbia have been granted a waiver from the requirements of No Child Left Behind. According to Education Weekly, once given the flexibility to revise their accountability system all but eight states have taken the opportunity to alter their achievement goals....

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