Education

News about Education

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.

Looking to LA for Transgender Student Policy

Jan 2, 2014
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.

UC's Napolitano Calls for 2014-15 Tuition Freeze

Nov 14, 2013
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.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

From the time he graduated from Dinuba High School, Matthew Walker was on a mission. And it didn’t include a college education.

“That was for ‘other people,’ that hadn’t gotten enough of that ‘book learning,’ he says, with a twinkle in his eye. “I was going to make a man’s choice, and not a geeky choice, and join the Marine Corps.”

He served as a Marine for six years.

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.

Teacher Discipline Bill Passes Legislature

Sep 13, 2013
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.

California Bill Would Immediately Begin New Academic Test Standards

Sep 4, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

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.

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.

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.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Two Valley school districts – Fresno Unified and Sanger Unified – were granted a one-year waiver from requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act today by the U.S. Department of Education. The move will allow school officials to introduce their own plans for a new statewide curriculum and avoid costly penalties under the law.

The districts were among eight in California to receive the waiver, and are all members of a coalition called the California Office to Reform Education, or CORE.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California education officials are reaching out to school districts, teachers and parents as they prepare to implement the state’s complicated new school funding system. They’re holding informational meetings starting this week at several county education offices across the state.

CSU Campuses Expand Online Course Offerings

Jul 31, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California State University students can now enroll in more online classes than they’ve been able to.

CSU’s Mike Uhlenkamp says starting Thursday students can take online classes at any CSU campus - even courses not available at their home campus.

“A student can be enrolled at Sacramento State but take a course that’s available online from Channel Islands," says Uhlenkamp.

He says the new system will help make up for a lack of available spots in high-demand classroom courses.

Max Pringle / Capital Public Radio

A controversial transgender student bill is awaiting action from California Governor Jerry Brown. As Max Pringle reports from Sacramento, it would

allow transgender students to play on sports teams and use the facilities of the gender with which they identify.

Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lee says he sometimes feels isolated. His school district in Manteca views him as a girl but he identifies as male.  Lee says getting assigned to girls P.E. and having to use the female restrooms unfairly singles him out. 

New School Funding Formula Mandates Parental Involvement

Jul 29, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s new education funding formula sends more dollars to disadvantaged students – with new strings attached.  School districts will have to show how they’ll spend the money to improve student achievement – and how they’ll measure success.  And as KPCC’s Julie Small reports, they’ll have to hear from one important group before they adopt their plans.

Napolitano Confirmed as Next UC President

Jul 18, 2013
Janet Napolitano / DHS

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be the first female president of the University of California system. But it’s her experience with the federal government that had students talking at her confirmation hearing. Katie Orr reports from San Francisco.

The afternoon started with a few UC students and staff protesting outside of the Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco. They were concerned Napolitano’s experience running the Homeland Security Department would lead to the deportation of undocumented students.

Education officials from nine California school districts are lobbying the US Department of Education this week in Washington, DC for waivers to the “No Child Left Behind” Act. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

The superintendents represent a good chunk of the state’s population. They’re making the case that the “No Child Left Behind Act’s” focus on boosting test scores leaves instructors too little time to teach skills that students will need later in life. Troy Flint is with the Oakland Unified School District.

Praise, Skepticism for UC's Choice of Napolitano

Jul 15, 2013
University of California

She’s a political veteran who’s run large bureaucracies.  But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano hasn’t worked in academia – and now she’s about to become the next president of the University of California.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the choice is drawing both praise and skepticism.

Janet Napolitano gets strong praise for her personal and political skills.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It was a case of teenage boys being teenage boys that led Natthan Sherriff to spend an afternoon cleaning the locker room at Le Grand High School.

“Me and my friend were like messing around with the others’ lockers,” Sherriff says. “I told him I peed on his locker and I was just kidding, and then he actually peed on mine so I punched him.”

Sherriff and his friend, Esaiah Villalobos, might have been suspended at another school. But Le Grand High School resolves conflicts through a disciplinary approach called restorative justice.

Fresno Unified School District

School districts in California will receive varying amounts of money under the state’s new school funding plan. And attitudes about the plan vary as well. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Under the new formula, districts will receive a base level of funding for every student. They’ll get additional money for every low-income and non-English speaking student they have.

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