education

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.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Some Valley residents may remember Measure E, a bond passed in 2002 that funded repairs and improvements at community colleges in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties. Now, 14 years later, the community college district is asking for money—on an even bigger ballot measure.

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.

Kerry Klein

It’s Sunday morning in downtown Fresno, and a classroom full of 10-year olds is about to meet an important visitor: a 2-foot-tall, red and white robot.

“Hello, my name is NAO,” says the robot, standing up on a table.

He looks like a mix between a Transformer and a Power Ranger: big head, square shoulders, and what looks like thick gloves and boots. He can wave his arms, walk, dance, and blink his eyes—just like a tiny human.

“I can recognize your face, answer questions, and even play soccer like a pro,” he continues.

Teachers in the Fresno Unified School District say they’re growing increasingly concerned about their safety in the classroom. FM89’s Jason Scott reports they held a press conference Wednesday to ask the district to do more to improve classroom discipline.  

Several teachers at Bullard High School have signed a petition that asks Fresno Unified leaders to implement a new student discipline policy that better defines consequences for offenses.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

New data from researchers at UC Davis and Fresno State present a disturbing picture about disconnected youth in Central California. As many as 17 percent of valley teens are either not in school and don't have a job. That's more than double the statewide average of 8.2 percent. Left unaddressed, the disconnect could worsen the valley's poverty problem and contribute to other social ailments from crime to health issues. 

Kern County Public Library

A new poll shows that a majority of Kern County residents are opposed to the privatization of the county’s public library system. 

The Board of Supervisors commissioned the poll by Price Research of 600 county residents to gauge overall support for the library system. Earlier this year a budget crunch led county leaders to explore a number of possibilities for the system, including handing operations over to a private company.

Tulare Union High School website

Public schools in California would be banned from using ‘Redskins’ as a team name or mascot under a bill headed to Governor Jerry Brown.

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo says it’s time for California to restrict what many consider a racial slur.

Alejo: “The ‘R word’ was once used to describe Native American scalps sold for bounty at a time when our state condoned the killing of native peoples. Such terms have no business being used as a mascot in our public schools or otherwise.”

As students head back for another year of school, one small district in the valley is on the cutting edge of education. The Lindsay School district has eliminated grades and grade levels. School leaders say the scheme has transformed education.

Its 7:30 a.m. on the first day of school and students at the Lindsay High School re-connect with friends and wait for the bell to ring.

The roughly 1,000 students are part of just a handful of districts in the country using a system called Performance Based Grading.

Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancejohnson/5703722259/

When UC Merced first opened its doors in 2005, campus enrollment was just 875 students. Now a decade later, over 6,000 students attend the newest University of California campus, and thousands more are being turned away. As the only UC campus in the San Joaquin Valley, campus leaders hope to expand the number of available slots to over 10,000 by the year 2020 to meet growing demand.  

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