education

Potential School District Reserve Cap Drives Debate Over Prop 2

Oct 9, 2014
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This November, California voters will be asked to weigh in on Proposition 2 – the constitutional amendment that would create a state budget reserve. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, a little-known new law tied to Prop 2 has some school officials and parents upset.

Just two weeks after the start of the semester, the President of Fresno Pacific University has resigned.

In a statement released from the university, outgoing president Pete Menjares said that he and his wife will be moving back to Southern California to be closer to their families and to explore new opportunities.

In the same statement, Board Chair John Thiesen said that Menjares modeled diversity and unity in his two and a half years as university president. Menjares’ wife, Virginia, was also very active in the community and often made appearances with her husband.

Fresno State / Jacques Benninga

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled in a case called Vergara vs. California that California education statues related to teacher tenure violate the equal protection laws of students, essentially depriving students of effective teachers by failing to remove ineffective teachers from classrooms.  In this week’s edition of The Moral Is, Fresno State education professor Dr. Jacques Benninga explores the teacher evaluation controversy and its reasonable implications.

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Marshall Tuck

While school has been out for many kids since mid-May, this summer has been a busy time in the world of education. Big issues like teacher tenure and the new common core curriculum have kept education in the headlines across California.

This week on Valley Edition we talked about those issues and more with one of the men seeking to become California’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction, Marshall Tuck. He will face off against incumbent Tom Torlakson on the November ballot.

Interview highlights:

On charters vs. traditional public schools:

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Back in the late 1990's, California voters passed Proposition 227, which imposed strict restrictions on bilingual education in California's public school classrooms.

Supporters of the effort said English immersion was the best way for English learners to succeed and assimilate into society. Critics said by teaching core subjects only in English, non-English speakers were at a disadvantage in the classroom.

Diana Aguilera

Schools on the east side of Fresno County are already feeling the impact of California’s ongoing drought.

Education officials from the Kings Canyon Unified District say they have seen a significant drop in attendance this year.

 Superintendent Juan Garza says families have been forced to relocate, taking their school aged children with them.

Come August of next school year, there may be even less kids having fun on the playground. 

One of the latest political footballs in 2014 is in the world of education and specially the new curriculum that many states have adopted, including California. But beyond the concerns of those of some on the right that Common Core is a federal takeover of education, others are asking different questions. In this edition of Valley Public Radio's commentary series The Moral Is, Fresno State Education Professor  Jack Benninga says all the focus on learning process may leave some important gaps for our students. 

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New California Community College Scorecard Shows Affects of Recession

Apr 17, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A new study says students at California’s Community Colleges are achieving many of their academic goals. But Community College officials say they’ll be recovering from the drastic cuts during the Great Recession for years to come. Capital Public Radio’s Max Pringle reports. 

Paul Feist with the California Community Colleges says there’s a lot to like in the findings of the “Student Success Scorecard.”

California Bill Would Put English-only Instruction Back Before Voters

Apr 16, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A voter-approved  law that requires all California public school classes to be taught in English would go before voters again in 2016 under a bill now in the state legislature. Capital Public Radio’s Max Pringle reports.

Professor Patricia Gándara with the UCLA Civil Rights Project says a state-commissioned 2006 study proves that English-only instruction has few, if any, benefits.

Gándara: “The conclusion was that there had been no appreciable closing of the gaps between English learners and other students as a result of Prop. 227.” 

California Begins Testing New Student Assessments

Mar 27, 2014
Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

California is preparing to implement Common Core education standards. As part of that change, the state is replacing standardized tests with new “assessments” meant to better judge students’ knowledge. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the state must first test the test.

In the media lab of an elementary school in Sacramento, fourth grader Aanyah Jacobs answers questions that pop up on a computer screen one at a time. She’s one of the more than three million California public school students testing out the state’s new assessment.

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