education

Education
4:37 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Drought May Hurt School Attendance in Central Valley

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon

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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Government & Politics
6:22 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

California Legislature to Tackle Teacher Retirement Fund Debt

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Some lawmakers say it’s time to get serious about paying down debt accrued by California's teachers’ retirement system. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, that will take a big financial commitment.

Assembly Democrats say they’re ready to look for ways to pay down the unfunded liability of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The governor’s office puts the debt at more than $80 billion.

Speaker John Perez says the Assembly will begin hearings on the issue.

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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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Government & Politics
9:15 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Study: More California Latinos Attend College, Few Finish

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

College is a goal for the majority of Latinos graduating from California high schools. But as Katie Orr reports, a new report out today shows few Latinos actually finish college.

The study from the organization The Campaign for College Opportunities finds seven out of ten California Latino high school graduates enrolled in college last year. But just 11 percent of Latino adults in the state have a bachelors or graduate degree. 

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Government & Politics
11:14 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Study: Distracted Driving A Big Problem, Even Near Schools

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

There’s new evidence that distracted driving is a problem not just on the roadways in general – but specifically around schools.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

The California Friday Night Live Partnership and the Allstate Foundation asked high school students to spend an hour counting distracted drivers at nearly 70 schools across the state.

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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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Community
10:28 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Propane Tank Explosion Injures 3 At Fresno Christian High School

Twisted metal is all that's left of a vendor's food trailer after a fire and explosion on Friday night on the campus of Fresno Christian High School
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

A fire and explosion inside a food vendor's trailer at Fresno Christian High School sent two men to the hospital and injured another on Friday night. 

Just before 6:30 p.m. a blast from a 20-gallon propane tank sent shrapnel as far as 150 feet across Alluvial Avenue. The explosion ripped off the roof and the sides of the trailer, where vendors were serving food prior to the start of a football game on campus. Officials with the Fresno Fire Department say that prior to the explosion employees detected a propane leak and a fire.

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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

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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Zocalo Public Square
6:33 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Commentary: Does Teaching Yoga In Schools Promote Religion?

file photo
Credit Flickr user http://www.flickr.com/photos/lyntally/ / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

Is teaching yoga to kids a form of religious indoctrination? About a month ago, a California judge ruled that yoga could be taught at the Encinitas Union School District without violating the constitutional separation of church and state.  But the plaintiffs will probably appeal the decision. The story hit home for me, because I’ve been one of those skeptics of yoga—and I’ve also been a yoga instructor.

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Valley Edition
11:12 am
Tue August 13, 2013

On Valley Edition: Common Core Standards & Fresno; Linda Marsa; Abalone; Paul Betancourt

This week on Valley Edition  we focus on education, the environment and agriculture. Host Joe Moore speaks with Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson about what the Obama administration’s decision to give the district a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act will mean for district students.

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Government & Politics
3:59 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Brown Signs Controversial Transgender Rights Bill

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is the author of the new law that will allow students to participate in extracurricular activities and use school facilities based on their gender identity – not their physical characteristics.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that increases the rights of transgender students at public schools.  It will allow students to participate in extracurricular activities and use school facilities based on their gender identity – not their physical characteristics.

Critics have suggested “bad actors” could use the law to prey on school children.  But the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, calls those complaints “scare tactics” and says they’ll go away with education.

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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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