Education

News about Education

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.

UC Riverside

The California State University Board of Trustees has named Timothy P. White  as the new chancellor of the 23 campus system. White is currently the chancellor of UC Riverside.

He succeeds Charles B. Reed, who retired earlier this year after leading the system for the past 14 years. White will be just the seventh chancellor in the system's history.

White graduated from Fresno State in 1970 with a degree in physical education. He went on to receive a master's degree from CSU Hayward and a doctorate from UC Berkeley. 

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:

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.

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.

Dr. Tony Vang announced his resignation today from his seat on the Fresno Unified School District Board of Trustees. The resignation, which Vang termed a "retirement" is effective today.

Vang cited family and workload related issues with his job at Fresno State for prompting his resignation.

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.

Fresno State's Theta Chi fraternity has been suspended following the death of an 18 year old student who spent a night drinking at a fraternity party.  The university says that freshman fraternity pledge Philip Dhanens of Bakersfield died at an area hospital on Sunday. He had accepted an invitation to join the fraternity earlier in the week. The university says it learned of the incident Saturday morning. The Fresno Police Department is investigating the death.

A science and technology museum at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater is closing its doors due to financial woes. The Merced Sun-Star reports that the non-profit foundation which operates the museum is planning to file for bankruptcy.

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.

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.

California State University Fresno

Fresno State President Dr. John Welty announced his retirement today before an assembly of university faculty and staff. His retirement will take effect in summer of 2013, after the conclusion of the current academic year. He will turn 68 later this month.

Welty began his term as university president in 1991, and oversaw a period marked by both growth and controversy. Welty led the effort to build the Save Mart Center, the new addition to the Henry Madden Library and several other major campus buildings.

California now has a new school grade level called “transitional kindergarten”. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the goal is to make sure the youngest children are prepared to enter school.

More than 800 California school districts are offering transitional kindergarten for the first time. The program offers age appropriate curriculum for children who don’t meet the age requirements to attend traditional kindergarten. Senator Joe Simitian wrote the law creating the grade level. He says beginning school at an older age improves a child’s social and academic development.

A California bill that would fund a middle class college scholarship program has squeaked by the Assembly… getting the two-thirds vote it needs to move to the Senate.

The measure is authored by Assembly Speaker John Perez. It would end a tax break in California law, which allows out-of-state corporations to pay less in taxes than businesses based in California.

The bill required Republican support in order to pass, but Assembly member Brian Jones made it clear that would not come from him.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A coalition of teachers and education activists gathered today to announce an effort to recall Fresno Unified school board member Tony Vang. 

Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancejohnson/5703722259/

UC Merced may be less than a decade old, but the struggling economy and environmental concerns are already leading campus officials to explore the possibility of directing some of the university's future growth to off-campus locations. 

Out-of-work teachers in California would be able to collect unemployment benefits while training in high demand subject areas under a bill lawmakers are considering. The bill’s author says it’s designed to help the nearly 20-thousand unemployed teachers.

Democratic Senator Noreen Evans authored the bill that she says would help unemployed teachers who want to get credentialed in science, math or special education. Under current law, if out-of-work teachers want that training, they lose their benefits. Evans says that’s not fair.

Tentative Contract Reached Between CSU And Faculty

Jul 31, 2012

California State University and its faculty union have reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract.

Professors, counselors and other members of the California Faculty Association won’t be getting raises. But if the state-funded university system somehow gets an influx of cash, there’s an option to re-open salary talks. Claudia Keith is with C-S-U:

“Essentially, the tentative agreement calls for no salary increases for the first two years with the opportunities to re-open in the last two years of the contract.”

Courtesy Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University has a new leader for the first time in a decade.

Dr. Pete Menjares officially became the university's new president on Saturday at an event in Omaha.  He replaces the retiring Dr. Merrill Ewert, who led the college for the past 10 years. He is the 11th president at the private, Mennonite affiliated Fresno based university since 1944.

Menjares was hired earlier this year, and has spent the past two months in Fresno working with Ewert on the school's leadership transition.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Reduced enrollment or a mid-year tuition increase. That’s the choice the California State University could face if voters reject Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax measure.

You’ve heard of trigger cuts. Now, there’s a "trigger on a trigger" – a $150 per semester tuition increase to meet a potential 250 million dollar cut. That’s one proposal CSU Trustees are looking at. The other would reduce enrollment by three percent, or about 6-thousand students. Robert Turnage is with the CSU Chancellor’s office:

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