Education

Education
6:01 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

New Teacher Dismissal Bill Deal Has Governor's Support

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

After three years of bitter disputes, there appears to be a deal in the California legislature on a bill that would make it easier for school districts to fire teachers accused of abusing students.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, not all education groups are on board.

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Education
7:56 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

California Begins Testing New Student Assessments

Sacramento fourth grader Aanyah Jacobs practices California’s new student assessment.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

California is preparing to implement Common Core education standards. As part of that change, the state is replacing standardized tests with new “assessments” meant to better judge students’ knowledge. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the state must first test the test.

In the media lab of an elementary school in Sacramento, fourth grader Aanyah Jacobs answers questions that pop up on a computer screen one at a time. She’s one of the more than three million California public school students testing out the state’s new assessment.

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Education
1:32 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Teachers, Students Rally To 'Save FFA' Amid Proposed Funding Changes

FFA students held at rally at the state Capitol last week to support funding for FFA programs
Credit Twitter / Asm. Susan Talamantes Eggman / https://twitter.com/AsmSusanEggman/

Go to a rural high school in Central California, and one of the most popular extra-curricular programs will be FFA – Future Farmers of America. But now the people who run those programs say their future is threatened in Governor Brown’s new budget.

It’s all part of a big change to the way school districts get their money from Sacramento – the Local Control Funding Formula. In general it’s been good news for schools up and down the valley, as it redirects more money to districts with high populations of low-income families, English learners and foster youth.

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Education
8:25 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

California Students Rally At Capitol For Agricultural Education Funding

Students gather at the Capitol Wednesday for Ag Day in this photo from the Twitter account of Assemblymember Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton.
Credit Twitter / Asm. Susan Talamantes Eggman / https://twitter.com/AsmSusanEggman/

As part of the annual “Ag Day” celebration at the state Capitol, Future Farmers of America students from around California rallied Wednesday in support of agricultural education programs. From Sacramento, Max Pringle reports.

With the state suffering through its worst ever drought, Jim Aschwanden with the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, says only well trained Ag workers will be able to meet the industry’s future challenges.

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Education
4:37 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Drought May Hurt School Attendance in Central Valley

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Declining school attendance may be the latest side-effect of California’s punishing drought. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction will visit the Central Valley Wednesday to talk about the problem.

School attendance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the impact of the drought on California. But it is affected. Less water means fewer crops, which means fewer farm jobs. And when the jobs disappear, families of migrant workers move on, taking their school age children with them.

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Education
9:04 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Is Bakersfield Really America's "Least Literate" City? Local Author Raises Questions

Downtown Bakersfield (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Cities like Merced Fresno and Bakersfield all share one common thread, other than being major stops on Highway 99.

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Education
12:49 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Lawmakers Seek to Address California's "Truancy Crisis"

Tom Torlakson, California's Superintendent of Public Instruction speaks at a news conference announcing the truancy legislation on Monday
Credit Tom Torlakson's Office / https://www.facebook.com/torlakson

California lawmakers say the state is facing a truancy crisis among elementary school students. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on a package of legislation introduced on Monday that’s meant to combat the problem.

Skipping school can mean a lot more for students than just failing a test. California Attorney General Kamala Harris says it can cause kids to fall behind and ultimately drop out of high school.

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Education
6:01 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

State Board of Education Will Decide How Billions Can Be Spent

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California State Board of Education will decide tomorrow how school districts can spend billions of dollars in state funding next year. From Sacramento, Katie Orr has details on what's at stake in the meeting.

The board will consider rules that dictate how school districts can spend money targeted toward low-income and non-English speaking students.

Several interest groups want the rules tightened up, to ensure the money isn’t squandered. Samantha Tran is with the advocacy group Children Now. She says some district wide spending could be good.

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Education
5:58 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Democrats Propose Universal Pre-K Programs

Students in a transitional kindergarten class at H.W. Harkness Elementary School in Sacramento.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Providing transitional kindergarten for all the four-year-olds in California would cost about a $1 billion, but supporters say it would be worth it. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on a new proposal introduced today.

In an elementary school near Sacramento, students in a transitional kindergarten class practice saying the date.

These kids are among several thousand California four-year olds enrolled in pre-K programs. Now state Senate Democrats want to make transitional kindergarten available to all four-year-olds.

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Education
6:00 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Transgender Student Law Takes Effect in California

Ashton Lee gets ready for the second to last day of finals for the Fall semester. He is wearing formal clothes as a sign of support for classmates who are giving presentations for finals.
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

Beginning this week all California public school districts must allow transgender students to use facilities and play on sports teams according to which gender they identify with. Supporters say the law will protect a vulnerable group of students. But opponents think voters should have a say. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

High School Junior Ashton Lee hustles between after school activities. First he makes a stop at the Gay Straight Alliance. There, as club president, he leads a discussion on how to handle holiday stress.

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Education
12:12 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Looking to LA for Transgender Student Policy

A sticker in a school office designating the school as a safe place for LGBT students.
Katie Orr Capital Public Radio

As of this week, all public schools districts in California must allow students to use facilities and play on sports teams based on the gender with which they identity, not their biological sex. The law has generated controversy and faces a possible referendum. But a similar policy has been in place in the Los Angeles Unified School District since 2005. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

(“Come on you guys, let’s go!)

Principal Deborah Smith yells for straggling students to hurry as the day begins at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Los Angeles.

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Education
1:25 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

UC's Napolitano Calls for 2014-15 Tuition Freeze

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and University of California President Janet Napolitano at Wednesday's Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco.
Credit Ben Adler

University of California students could see a third straight year without a tuition increase.  New UC President Janet Napolitano says she hopes to extend the current tuition freeze through the 2014-15 school year.  Ben Adler has more on Napolitano’s first UC Regents meeting as president Wednesday.

Six weeks into her new job, the former Arizona governor and Secretary of Homeland Security is putting forth a four-pronged agenda.  First: a tuition freeze.

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Education
10:59 am
Mon November 11, 2013

At Reedley College, Veteran Finds New Mission

Matthew Walker tutors other Reedley College students in history and study skills.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

From the time he graduated from Dinuba High School, Matthew Walker was on a mission. And it didn’t include a college education.

“That was for ‘other people,’ that hadn’t gotten enough of that ‘book learning,’ he says, with a twinkle in his eye. “I was going to make a man’s choice, and not a geeky choice, and join the Marine Corps.”

He served as a Marine for six years.

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Education
9:43 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Geronimo's Story: Valley Teen Torn Between Gangs And Grades

Manny Castro, left, encourages Geronimo Garcia, right, to pursue a life beyond gangs and drugs.
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

From a young age, Geronimo Garcia wore a uniform to school: high socks, shorts and a white T-shirt.

It wasn’t a school requirement. Rather, it was an older brother requirement.

“They used to dress me up like a little gangster,” Geronimo says. “To me I always thought that was cool, but you know, as I think of it now, I don’t think that was cool when I was young. Come on, looking at a little kid dressed up in gangster?”

Since then, his clothing has determined who he hung out with at school.

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Education
10:30 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Teacher Discipline Bill Passes Legislature

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A bill that would streamline the process for disciplining or firing a public school teacher or other employee charged with child abuse has cleared the California legislature. 

Democratic Assembly member Joan Buchanan says her measure is a big improvement over the status quo in the public schools when it comes to getting rid of bad employees.

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Education
6:27 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

California Bill Would Immediately Begin New Academic Test Standards

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A bill that would immediately start phasing in California’s new computer based standardized school achievement assessment has passed out of a key senate committee. The bill would allow most districts to opt-out of the old system.

The new Common Core academic standards will be in place this academic year. Assembly member Susan Bonilla authored the bill. She says it gives most districts a chance to evaluate students based on those standards now.

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Education
6:31 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

FUSD's Michael Hanson Praises Waiver for 'No Child Left Behind' Act

Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Michael Hanson (file photo)
Credit FUSD

A day after the U.S. Department of Education gave eight of California's largest school districts a waiver from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson praised the decision, saying it will improve accountability and student performance, and "allows us to do work very differently." 

The districts, which include Sanger Unified and Fresno Unified, are all members of a coalition called the California Office to Reform Education or CORE.

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Education
6:14 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Bills Allowing Vets to Pay In-State College Tuition Move Forward

Military veterans new to California would be allowed to pay in-state tuition in the state’s colleges and universities under competing bills now making their way through the legislature.

One bill would waive the in-state tuition eligibility rule that requires veterans to be stationed in California at least one year before being honorably discharged.  Assembly member Sharon Quirk-Silva is one of the bill’s co-authors. She says it would save some vets from crushing debt.

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Education
4:25 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Fresno and Sanger School Districts Get 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver

Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson (file photo)
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Two Valley school districts – Fresno Unified and Sanger Unified – were granted a one-year waiver from requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act today by the U.S. Department of Education. The move will allow school officials to introduce their own plans for a new statewide curriculum and avoid costly penalties under the law.

The districts were among eight in California to receive the waiver, and are all members of a coalition called the California Office to Reform Education, or CORE.

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Education
10:32 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Stakeholder Meetings Announced for New School Funding Formula

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California education officials are reaching out to school districts, teachers and parents as they prepare to implement the state’s complicated new school funding system. They’re holding informational meetings starting this week at several county education offices across the state.

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