education

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year, and less overall spending next year. 

His spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July includes about $1.3 billion less than his January proposal.  Brown says the state’s economic picture has weakened due to the federal sequester and the federal payroll tax change.

“We have climbed out of a hole with a Proposition 30 tax. That is good, but this is not the time to break out the champagne,” says Brown.

Fresno Unified School District

Teacher Jenna Perry’s 7th grade English class at Fresno Unified’s Yosemite Middle School sounds like most others. Kids work to finish up their assignments, as the period is about to end. But there is something that makes her classroom different.

“Ok, before we leave today, let’s go over our class goal today. Somebody tell me, should we earn a point for staying on task? Why or why not? Regina?” says Perry.

At the end of every class before students are dismissed, they go over their goals, which are spelled out in a social contract they all wrote and all signed.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

There’s a paradox in many of the reactions to Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to give California schools more flexibility on how they spend their state tax dollars.  There’s general support around the Capitol for breaking down the funding walls surrounding several dozen programs.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, everyone seems to have a favorite program they want to protect.

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

College students wouldn’t face the threat of lenders garnishing their wages if they can’t repay private student loans under a bill passed by the California Assembly today.  Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento.

Unlike federal student loans, private student loans can’t be forgiven in bankruptcy and banks can garnish up to 25 percent of a student’s wages. Democratic Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski authored a bill he says would help under-employed, debt-saddled graduates. He says the bill would simply eliminate one way private lenders can collect repayment.

Lawmakers Look To Restore Cal Grant Funding

Apr 9, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Restoring money to California’s college financial aid program is proving to be popular with both Democrats and Republicans in the State Assembly. But even if they agree on the issue, Governor Jerry Brown may not. Katie Orr reports from the State Capitol. 

Supporters of restoring funding levels to the state’s college financial aid program say it’s a financially savvy move. “Cal Grants” are awarded to low-income students attending public and private universities in California. The program’s budget has been slashed in recent years. 

http://twitter.com/acelfresno

In an effort to increase education about agriculture and sustainability, the Fresno Grizzlies have partnered with a local charter high school to build a garden at Chuckchansi Park. FM89’s Ezra Romero visited the stadium; spoke with the teenagers planting the garden and has this report.

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For the past week and a half a group of seniors from ACEL Charter High School in Fresno have been huffing and puffing at Chuckchansi Park.  But they aren’t running bases or hitting pop flies – they’re building and planting a garden.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Pao Saephan crouches down in his sun-drenched field. He cups a red jewel in his hand.

In a few more days, his strawberries will be fully ripe. He’ll pick them once they are garnet-colored from stem to tip.

“We want all the strawberries, to be full ripe, full flavor, with 100 percent sugar in them,” says Saephan.

In the past, he would sell the fresh berries at his roadside stand - called Sam’s Strawberry Patch. It’s located at the intersection of Manning Avenue and I Street in Reedley.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

Jerry Brown
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.

California Schools Urged to Revisit Safety Plans

Dec 18, 2012
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.

Proposition 38: Molly Munger's Tax Initative

Oct 18, 2012

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.

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.

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.

Dueling Tax Measures Release New TV Ads

Oct 4, 2012

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:

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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