Education

News about Education

Fresno County Public Library

For more than 30 years the Fresno County Public Library has helped people learn how to read. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on the expansion of this effort in the Valley.

The Fresno County Public Library announced today the opening of four new literacy service centers throughout the Central Valley.

The county’s free literacy services has expanded to the Tranquility, Mendota, Sanger and Orange Cove libraries.

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:

Fresno State

Fresno State officials broke ground today on a $24 million agricultural and engineering research center.

The 30,000 square-foot facility will host labs and foster collaboration among students and faculty in the university’s agricultural, engineering and science and math colleges.

The Jordan Research Center aimed at solving agricultural challenges will be located on the corner of Barstow and Woodrow avenues.

Jennifer Weibert

Last week, 1700 high school students from over 70 countries met in Los Angeles for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, including 5 students from Fresno and Clovis.

Beatrice Choi, a sophomore from Fresno’s University High School, brought home third place in Chemistry.

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.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A group of 18 students from schools across Fresno State were hooded with rainbow banners today in a first for Fresno State:  a lesbian, gay, bi, transgender and questioning graduation ceremony.

“I was really inspired because I noticed a lot of openly gay people, but we didn’t have a ceremony of our own, a reception of our own,” says Curtis Ortega with Fresno State’s United Student Pride Club. “We were kind of there as openly gay students, but I felt we needed our own expression and graduation ceremony.”

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. 

Opponents Remains As Common Core Nears Implementation

Apr 30, 2014
Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

California schools are adjusting curriculum and students are already taking tests based on new Common Core standards. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, opposition to the standards continues, as demonstrated by a small rally at the Capitol Wednesday.

A small group of families and parents gathered under the trees near the Capitol to express their concern about Common Core standards. The bi-partisan group said the Common Core assessment often leaves students confused and upset.

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.” 

New Teacher Dismissal Bill Deal Has Governor's Support

Apr 14, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

After three years of bitter disputes, there appears to be a deal in the California legislature on a bill that would make it easier for school districts to fire teachers accused of abusing students.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, not all education groups are on board.

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.

Twitter / Asm. Susan Talamantes Eggman / https://twitter.com/AsmSusanEggman/

Go to a rural high school in Central California, and one of the most popular extra-curricular programs will be FFA – Future Farmers of America. But now the people who run those programs say their future is threatened in Governor Brown’s new budget.

It’s all part of a big change to the way school districts get their money from Sacramento – the Local Control Funding Formula. In general it’s been good news for schools up and down the valley, as it redirects more money to districts with high populations of low-income families, English learners and foster youth.

California Students Rally At Capitol For Agricultural Education Funding

Mar 19, 2014
Twitter / Asm. Susan Talamantes Eggman / https://twitter.com/AsmSusanEggman/

As part of the annual “Ag Day” celebration at the state Capitol, Future Farmers of America students from around California rallied Wednesday in support of agricultural education programs. From Sacramento, Max Pringle reports.

With the state suffering through its worst ever drought, Jim Aschwanden with the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, says only well trained Ag workers will be able to meet the industry’s future challenges.

Drought May Hurt School Attendance in Central Valley

Mar 18, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

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.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Cities like Merced Fresno and Bakersfield all share one common thread, other than being major stops on Highway 99.

Lawmakers Seek to Address California's "Truancy Crisis"

Mar 11, 2014
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.

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.

Democrats Propose Universal Pre-K Programs

Jan 7, 2014
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.

Transgender Student Law Takes Effect in California

Jan 3, 2014
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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