Education

News about Education

CSUB

The CSUB Roadrunners are about to go running far from Kern County. Later today the school's men’s basketball team will take its game to the hallowed floor of New York’s Madison Square Garden for a spot in the final four of the NIT basketball tournament, playing Georgia Tech. It's a big moment on the national stage for CSUB. We talked with university president Horace Mitchell about the mood on campus, as well as last week's vote of the CSU Board of Trustees authorizing a raise in tuition. We also talked about new campus efforts to help students struggling with hunger and homelessness.

There some new developments in the unfolding story of alleged misuse of a confidential law enforcement database by members of the Kern High School Police Department and administration. Last week KHSD Police Chief Joe Lopeteguy, who is now on leave from his position, filed a lawsuit against the district. In it he claims that the district retaliated against him for acting as a whistleblower by exposing the district's alleged misuse of the system to investigate students and employees.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Unified Trustees are putting forward a resolution to declare the school district ‘safe place’ for undocumented students. The move is in response to student concerns about the Trump administration’s deportation policies.

Two-thirds of Fresno Unified School district students are Hispanic and district trustees say the heightened talk of more immigration enforcement has rattled the student body.

Some big changes could soon transform the Fresno State campus, if university president Joseph Castro has his way. Students next month will vote on a plan to pay for a new $80 million student union facility to replace the existing one, which is nearly 50 years old. The university is also studying the feasibility of building a new performing arts center, which would hosts events that are too big for existing on-campus theaters, but too small for the massive Save Mart Center arena.

Brooke Ashjian

For the first time in a decade, the Fresno Unified School District is searching for a new superintendent. School board president Brooke Ashjian told Valley Public Radio in an interview on Valley Edition that he believes morale in the district is the "highest I've ever seen it" following the departure of longtime superintendent Michael Hanson on February 1st. Ashjian, who was one of Hanson's strongest critics reiterated his claims that the FBI investigation into district school construction practices is still active, contrary to statements made by the former superintendent.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mackenzie-mays-77053096

On this week's Valley Edition we are joined by the Fresno Bee's Education Reporter Mackenzie Mays. She covers Fresno Unified extensively and brings us an update on happenings in the district. To listen to the interview between VE Host Joe Moore and Mays click play above. 

Most counties and cities in California have seen their budgets recover from depths of the Great Recession. That’s not the case in Kern County though, which relies heavily on taxes from oil. That tension has put a popular public asset in the middle of a years-long fight over its future. In the end, 2017 could be a year a big change for the Kern County’s public libraries.

The list of issues facing libraries in Kern County is lengthy.

Ian Oliver / Lindsay Unified School District

As we approach 2017, smartphones and Wi-Fi networks may seem practically universal. But even now, there remains a digital divide—and many San Joaquin Valley residents find themselves on the side without internet access. A new community effort, though, is bridging that divide, in what may seem an unlikely place.

Nikolaus Namba is a school district administrator in the town of Lindsay. He used to be a teacher—the Grinch on his tie is a dead giveaway.

“I’m still living in a land of being a child at heart,” he laughs.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson is explaining in more detail why he has decided to end his tenure next year. A defiant Hanson says he is not caving to public pressure for his ouster.

Hanson has been superintendent for 12 years and during that time has helped solidify the district’s budget and improved educational results.

Hank Hession/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Last week the Kern High School District Board voted to approve a plan to allow teachers with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns on campus. The move was controversial, both because of the topic, and also the last minute nature of the meeting and vote. Harold Pierce of the Bakersfield Californian joined us to talk about this story and other news regarding the district.  

http://www.supportprop58.com/

Earlier this month California voters approved a big change to education in the state when they passed Proposition 58. The initiative overturned prior voter-approved restrictions on bilingual education in the state. Now local districts are gearing up to implement the new law. Education reporter Mackenzie Mays of the Fresno Bee joined us on Valley Edition to talk about that story, and other news involving Fresno Unified schools.  

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno’s University High School is routinely ranked as one of the top public high schools in the nation when it comes to academics.  

It was started over a decade ago to give students a college preparatory education with a focus on English and math. But the charter school’s future is in now question as allegations have surfaced that UHS has used allegedly discriminatory perquisite requirements, which the ACLU contends are illegal.  

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.

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