Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

education

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

For about the past year, two San Joaquin valley school districts have allowed some parents and staff members to carry a concealed firearm on campus if they have a concealed carry weapons permit and seek the permission of the district superintendent.

However, under a new bill on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, that authority could soon be revoked.

The California Legislature has approved Assembly Bill 424, which would strip that authority from superintendents in all but a few narrow circumstances.

FPU

Fresno Pacific University has a new leader, Dr. Joseph Jones. The private, non-profit Christian university has been a fixture in southeast Fresno for over 60 years, also operates campuses in Merced, Visalia and Bakersfield. An ordained minister with a Ph.D in criminology, Jones brings a uniquely community-focused vision to the Mennonite Brethren affiliated campus. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his vision for the university, and issues ranging from campus diversity to peacemaking and racial reconciliation in the community and nationally. 

Fresno State Facebook page

For years, the California State University system has had a requirement that students be proficient in Algebra 2 as a pre-requisite for taking other general education math classes. That’s pushed many students into so-called remedial math classes, but it’s also led to criticism. Some say it’s a civil rights issue that blocks minority students from fields of study where Algebra 2 simply isn’t necessary. Others say it’s an important part of higher education.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Drive through the pomegranate and pistachio orchards between Highways 41 and 99 and you may stumble upon Valley Teen Ranch, a cluster of residential homes where juvenile offenders come to be rehabilitated.

Today, a few men are in their living room playing a basketball video game and making small talk with Connie Clendenan, the ranch’s CEO. “I'm for the Warriors, don't we have them?” asks Clendenan. “I'm from Oakland, so yeah,” one of the men laughs.

Mackenzie Mays / The Fresno Bee

After Fresno Bee Reporter Mackenzie Mays launched her first story in her series on the lack of sex education in the region she had an interesting conversation. Her main source called in tears saying that over $4,000 had been raised through her GoFundMe account.  

A new non-profit group launched last week that has a goal to help guide the future of the Fresno Unified School District. Go Public Schools Fresno is the local branch of an Oakland-based education advocacy group. Led by Diego Arambula, the Fresno group says it hopes to build a constituency around making changes that will improve the quality of education in the district. So what does that mean, and what sorts of changes would that include? Arambula joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his background and vision.

Scripps National Spelling Bee Facebook

Fresno’s Ananya Vinay is the top speller in the nation. The 12 year-old student at Fugman Elementary won the Scripps National Spelling Bee last week in Maryland. She joined us on Valley Public Radio to tell us what it’s like to go from a sixth grade classroom into the national spotlight.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Finding enough money to pay for child care is a struggle for many Central Valley families. But last year despite the region’s high poverty rate, Fresno County returned $10 million in unspent money to the state that was earmarked for child care for low-income families.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

When local school districts aren’t performing, parents typically turn to school boards or parent-teacher organizations to bring about change. But in one small Fresno County city, education advocates are thinking bigger, trying to enact a much bolder and more ambitious kind of transformation.

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/04/29/strengthening-kern-county-one-degree-at-a-time/

A new collaboration between the Kern High School District, Bakersfield College and CSUB aims to get students on a speedy pathway from high school to community college, and eventually a four-year college degree. It's called the "Kern Promise" but Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian calls it the key to revitalizing the community.

Kathy Bonilla / Fresno City College

Over the next decade the Fresno City College campus could undergo a big change, thanks to a major construction project. Around half of the $485 bond known as Measure C is dedicated for the campus. Voters approved the funding last year which will provide a new home for the school's math and science programs as well as badly needed parking space. College President Carole Goldsmith joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the plans, and how the school hopes to work with neighbors to make them a success, and efforts to tap into the city's goal of revitalizing Blackstone Avenue. 

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.

ESY Kern

There are a lot of efforts to bring health foods into school and the elementary school curriculum. One of the most interesting examples can be found in Bakersfield at Buena Vista Elementary School, home to something called an "edible schoolyard." A joint project of the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District and the Grimm Family Foundation, the Edible Schoolyard Kern program also has expanded to sites in Arvin and Shafter.

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.

Pages