education

Government & Politics
2:02 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Lawmakers Examine Options for Closing CalSTRS Shortfall

When state lawmakers were beating their chests last year about the need to reduce pension liabilities, they didn’t actually do anything about the largest liability of all. 

The California State Teachers Retirement System – known as CalSTRS – is facing a projected $70 billion shortfall.   KPCC’s Julie Small attended a sobering hearing Wednesday on the state’s options for closing the gap.

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Education
7:13 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

California Teacher Pink Slips Far Fewer than Last Year

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Friday is the deadline for California school districts to issue teachers layoff notices for the academic year that starts in the fall.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, there’s a huge drop-off in the number of pink slips this year.

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Education
11:31 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Bill Would Create Online Courses at UC, CSU, Community Colleges

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) discusses his online college course legislation with reporters at a Capitol news conference Wednesday. The event was streamed as a video conference via Google hangout.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The leader of the California Senate is proposing legislation that would provide online courses for credit at the state’s colleges and universities.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the measure is both a work in progress – and a balancing act.

With California’s higher education system at capacity, the most popular courses fill up fast – especially courses students need to graduate.  Richard Copenhagen is a College of Alameda student and president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.

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Education
6:54 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Visalia's COS Could Lose Accreditation, Closure Possible

COS President Stan Carrizosa speaks to a campus group on Thursday in Visalia.
Credit College of the Sequoias

Visalia’s College of the Sequoias is facing the potential loss of its accreditation. The news comes after a commission from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges found that COS was in “substantial non-compliance” with the organization’s standards.  

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Valley Edition
2:23 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

On Valley Edition: Particulate Pollution; TBI Football Policy; Valley Education; Peter Buffett

Peter Buffett, musician and author, will perform at Fresno City College February 2.
Credit C. Taylor Crothers

This week on Valley Edition, Rebecca Plevin reports on the California Air Resources Board's approval of a plan intended to bring the Valley's particulate pollution into compliance with federal standards. But residents and health advocates expressed concern that the plan doesn't act quickly enough to protect public health.

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Breaking
10:55 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Shooting At Taft Union High School in Kern County

Taft Union High School (file photo)
Credit Kevin Krejci / Flickr / Creative Commons

Less than a month after the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the Kern County community of Taft was rocked by a school shooting of its own.

This morning, a 16-year-old student at Taft Union High School walked into his first period classroom and shot another student with a 12 gauge shotgun. The victim is in critical but stable condition, according to Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

“The student that is in critical condition we believe was an intended target, one intended target, of this suspect,”  Youngblood said.

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Government & Politics
4:39 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Brown to Propose New Budget, Including Changes to Education Funding System

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The annual California budget cycle begins anew tomorrow as Governor Jerry Brown unveils his proposed spending plan.

As part of his budget, the governor is expected to propose major changes to the state’s education funding system. 

They include removing state spending requirements so districts have more flexibility, and introducing a weighted funding formula that gives more money to schools in poorer areas.

Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell  says he could support that proposal with some adjustments – such as making sure all schools get a minimum amount of money.

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Education
9:29 am
Tue December 18, 2012

California Schools Urged to Revisit Safety Plans

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

California law requires each school to have a safety plan – and make it available to the public.  In the aftermath of Friday’s mass shooting in Connecticut, education and public safety officials want schools to take a new look at those plans to see if they should be revised.  

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson wants to reassure parents who wonder if what happened in Newtown could happen to them.

“I believe our California schools are safe," says Torlakson.

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Government & Politics
11:34 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Proposition 38: Molly Munger's Tax Initative

Californians will soon decide whether they want to increase taxes to support public schools. Our election 2012 coverage continues with a report on Proposition 38.

If you watch TV in California, you’ve probably seen the commercials. They’ve aired in every major market.

Prop 38 would raise about 10 billion dollars a year for K-12 schools starting in 2013, by taxing all but the poorest Californians. Behind the TV ads and Proposition 38 is wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger.

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Education
5:26 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Majority of California Public School Students Improving

For the first time, a majority of California public schools met or surpassed academic achievement goals this year.

53-percent of schools scored at or above state achievement goals on the Academic Performance Index. That’s an increase of four percentage points over last year.

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Election 2012
4:01 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Battle Between Two Rival Tax Measures on California's Ballot Heating Up

A screen capture of a new ad released by the Yes on 38 campaign, attacking rival ballot measure Proposition 30

The battle between two rival tax measures on California’s November ballot is heating up. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, Proposition 38 proponent Molly Munger has released a new TV ad blasting Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, Proposition 30.

Despite Munger spending more than $30 million  on her tax measure, until now the campaign for Proposition 38 has avoided mentioning Proposition 30.

But Munger’s latest ad criticizes the Governor’s competing tax initiative, saying it allows politicians to take money away from schools.

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Education
8:48 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Dueling Tax Measures Release New TV Ads

A frame from a new TV ad from the Yes on 38 campaign

The campaigns for two rival tax measures on California’s November ballot each have new TV ads going on the air. That includes the first ones in support of Proposition 30, Governor Jerry Brown’s sales and income tax initiative.

“Join California teachers to restore school programs and reduce class sizes.”

Some of the Prop 30 ads feature teachers, while others, feature Governor Brown like this one:

“For the students and for California’s future, vote Yes on 30.”

Several make this claim:

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Food
5:58 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

California School Staff Meet To Strengthen Fresh, California Foods in Schools

California school lunch staff want to include more state-grown food into cafeteria meals. They met in Oakland yesterday to share ideas on how to make that happen.

The Center for Ecoliteracy helped bring together school lunch directors and chefs from Los Angeles to Sacramento. The advocacy group says that fresh, Californian food is good for kids’ health, and the state economy.

“Real kids need real food to learn and grow.”

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Education
9:52 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Molly Munger Criticizes California Governor Jerry Brown's Tax Measure

Proposition 38 proponent Molly Munger says California Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative doesn’t do enough for schools. But she also says she understands if voters cast their ballots for both measures.

Munger’s Proposition 38 would generate about 10 billion dollars annually for schools by taxing all but the poorest Californians. The Governor’s tax initiative, Proposition 30, raises about $6 billion a year primarily by taxing the wealthy, and through a sales tax increase.

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Education
5:52 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

CSU Trustees Approve Tuition Changes; Anti-Tax Group Threatens Lawsuit

Fresno State, one of the CSU system's 23 campuses
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California State University trustees have set the stakes for the November election. If Governor Jerry Brown’s sales and income tax measure passes, the CSU will roll back a previously-approved nine percent tuition increase. If Proposition 30 fails, the university will leave it in place – and tack on an additional five percent increase.

Meanwhile, a draft letter to CSU applicants about Prop 30’s impact has Jon Coupal with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association threatening a lawsuit.

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Valley Edition
11:34 am
Tue September 18, 2012

On Valley Edition: Chocolate Milk Makeover; Delta Study; Joel Pickford

Credit Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Study / San Francisco Estuary Institute-Aquatic Science Center / California Department of Fish and Game

Chocolate Milk Gets a Big Makeover
Chocolate milk is getting a big remix at schools in Fresno and beyond, as part of a effort to fight childhood obesity. A new formula developed by Producers Dairy for Fresno Unified is getting good reviews from both kids and nutrition experts, thanks to low fat and lower amounts of sugar than before. Nutritionist Sara Bosse also joins us to talk about efforts to improve school breakfast and lunch nutrition, and why 16 percent of kids in Fresno Unified says they've never even tasted traditional milk. 

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Health
10:51 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Chocolate Milk Gets Remixed At Fresno Schools

Credit Licensed using Creative Commons from Maria Pontikis / http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthimeria/3813431974/

The saying goes “milk does a body good.” But despite that, too few of us really drink the white stuff, and that includes adults and kids.

In an effort to get more kids to benefit from the nutrients milk offers many school districts including Fresno Unified served up flavored milk, both chocolate and strawberry.  So along with their daily intake of vitamin A, calcium and potassium, students were also getting sugar a lot of sugar, about four additional teaspoons in an 8 ounce serving of chocolate milk.

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Education
3:16 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

New Report Guides California Teacher Recruitment, Evaluation

A new report calls for major improvements in the way California teachers are recruited, trained, and evaluated. It’s a result of the state’s 48-member Task Force on Educator Excellence.

Education officials say the 90-page report is the first comprehensive look in a generation at how to recruit the best teachers, develop their work and provide useful feedback.

Linda Darling-Hammond co-chaired the task force. She says despite both local and state budget cuts, there are changes that can be made now.

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Education
12:47 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Blacks and Latinos Gain Ground in High School Exit Exam Results

Blacks and Latinos continue to improve at a faster rate than other ethnic groups when it comes to California’s High School Exit Exam. The preliminary results from this year’s exam are out and continue several positive trends.

According to the California Department of Education, 95 percent of all twelfth graders passed the English and Math exams.

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Education
6:57 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Dinuba Unified, ACLU Settle Suit

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Dinuba Unified School District have settled a lawsuit over a controversial education program for English language learners.

The suit alleged that the district’s Second Language Acquisition Development Instruction program led to some first and second-grade students falling behind their peers.

The program emphasized grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Critics said the program didn’t expose students to literature and vocabulary.

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