News about Education

The Youth Orchestras of Fresno and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles will share the stage of the William Saroyan Theatre in Fresno this Friday night at 7:00 PM. YOOF director Julia Copeland joined us on Valley Edition to talk about why this event is important for local efforts to expand orchestral opportunities in the valley for underserved communities. 

The Fresno Unified School District is laying out what it plans to do if voters next month approve Measure X, a $225-million dollar measure.

The biggest single chunk, $90-million dollars, would go to constructing more classroom space and a new elementary school in Southeast Fresno. It’s part of an effort to reduce the roughly 1,000 portable classrooms still in use.

$25 million would be used to expand the district’s career and technical education, and another $50 million would go towards arts and athletic facilities like music rooms and gyms.

30 Million Words Initiative

Back in the 1990’s researchers discovered something that has wide ranging impacts to anyone interested in early childhood development. Children who grow up in families struggling with poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3 than those who grow up in more affluent homes.

Ezra David Romero

More than 100 students are enrolled in classes for a new minor at Fresno State this semester. That degree? A minor in Hmong Language studies.

The minor is the first of its kind on the West Coast and the fifth Hmong minor in the country. What sets it apart is that it focuses on actually speaking the language, not just culture. Fresno State Professor Dr. Kao-Ly Yang  wrote all six textbooks for the program.

Linguistics professors and students at Fresno State are hard at work on a mammoth task - saving the language of the Chukchansi tribe of Mono Indians. One thing makes their task especially difficult - there are only 12 speakers of the Chukchansi language left. We talked with professors Brian Agbayani and Niken Adisasmito-Smith about their work, and the challenges of not only documenting the language for posterity but also keeping alive and in active use. 

Kern High School District

It’s back to school season, and that means there’s a lot of news right now about local school districts. None more so than the Kern High School District, which serves more than 35,000 students in Kern County. Harold Pierce of the Bakersfield Californian joined us on Valley Edition to give us a recap of the latest news around KHSD.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Shipping containers have been used for everything from community gardens to pools and even homes. In rural Madera County one farmer is using these containers to help him save water on his sheep farm. He says a shipping container could actually be a solution to drought.

At Golden Valley Farm, about 10 miles northwest of Madera, Mario Daccarett’s employees are milking 500 sheep in rounds of 12. 

Plenary Properties Merced / UC Merced

The community is getting its first look today at the newly unveiled plans for a $1.1 billion expansion of UC Merced. The campus has selected the partnership of Plenary Properties Merced to design, build and operate the facility, which will allow the campus to expand to 10,000 students by the year 2020.

The proposal includes a private investment of $386 million, which is in addition to $600 million in revenue bonds already approved by UC Regents.

The FBI says that the student who carried out a knife attack on the UC Merced campus in November was, in fact, a ‘self-radicalized’ Muslim. 

According to the FBI, 18-year old Faisal Mohammad had visited websites associated with the self-described Islamic State and viewed other extremist propaganda in the weeks leading up to the attack.

Fresno State

A popular Fresno State professor is the subject of a blistering audit from the California State University, including conflict of interest allegations. 

Professor Tim Stearns teaches students at the Lyles Center For Innovation and Entrepreneurship how to start their own businesses. But it’s Stearns own business interests that ran afoul of the CSU Chancellor’s Office. The audit accuses Stearns of hiring a business partner to work as a consultant for the center, and using university resources to benefit his own company.