Schools leaders from Japan and Minnesota recently visited Fresno schools. Here’s why

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/ezamora@fresnobee.com

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Hey Bee readers! It’s Lasherica with the Education Lab, and this is our Nov. 29 newsletter.

For three weeks now, the nation’s largest strike of higher education academic workers has riddled University of California campuses.

But what does the strike mean, especially for students?

Los Angeles Times journalist Teresa Watanabe answers that question in the article Fears rise that UC strike could have long-lasting consequences on vaunted research, teaching.

Academic workers, including graduate student researchers, academic researchers, postdoctoral employees, teaching assistants, tutors and other graduate student instructors, are demanding pay increases to keep up with high cost of living around campuses as well as better working conditions for things such as parental leave, Watanabe reported.

About 300 faculty members across the UC system are also supporting the academic workers by not teaching or submitting grades until the strike ends, meaning “disruptions over grading” for current students.

To provide the higher wages, tuition could increase, affecting both current and future students, Watanabe reports, but “it’s on UC to find a balance between supporting academic workers fairly and offsetting some of the economic costs of doing so,” a doctoral candidate said.

Furthermore, higher wages and costs without more state and federal funding could lead to fewer academic workers such as graduate students.

“Graduate students are essential to our research and teaching; they’re also the future faculty,” a UC Santa Barbara professor said in the LA Times story. “It’s just unthinkable that we can operate without them.”

More Fresno-area education news

The Tokyo Board of Education visited two Fresno Unified schools in mid-November to learn about the district’s “successful use of technology for teaching and learning,” according to FUSD.

Microsoft encouraged the Tokyo school district, which has 160,000 students, to visit Fresno Unified because of the way FUSD has been integrating technology in learning. Tokyo officials toured Easterby Elementary and Yosemite Middle School, two of 49 campuses using a Personalized Learning Initiative – blended instructional models – and Open Education Analytics.

“We’re proud of our IT team’s work to become a global leader in integrating technology into learning,” Superintendent Bob Nelson said.

Minnesota educators visited Fresno Unified’s Hmong dual language immersion programs as a national model to replicate, the district said.

“Fresno Unified designed the programs’ entire curriculum with the goal of preserving the Hmong language and culture,” Fresno Unified said in a media release about the visit.

FUSD is the first in the country to design a program aligned across elementary, middle and high school as well as a college partnership with Fresno State for a Hmong minor, according to the district.

Minnesota educators toured Hmong language programs at Balderas and Vang Pao elementary schools and Hmong Heritage classes at Bullard, Duncan Polytechnical, Edison, Hoover, McLane, Roosevelt and Sunnyside high schools.

“Because of the district’s significant investments in the program, Fresno Unified’s Hmong dual language immersion pathway is a model for school districts nationwide,” Fresno Unified said.

A Parlier Unified School District student debuted her book My Anxiety Journey Wednesday morning, the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Office said in an announcement about a media event with the county Department of Behavioral Health and the school district.

In the book, fifth grader Kaylah Beltran shares her own experience with anxiety that began during the pandemic. She told her story to help other students while providing mental health resources.

“Her positive and brave message is an inspiration and a call for hope and perseverance to others, especially our youth,” the superintendent’s office said.

The county behavioral health department will publish 1,000 books in English and 250 in Spanish in 2023, and the superintendent’s office will distribute copies to every fifth grade class in Fresno County.

STILL WANT MORE EDUCATION NEWS? HERE’S WHAT WE’VE BEEN READING

Julianna’s List

Breaking Down the Walls to Teaching: Alternative Pipelines Boom

“Residencies, fellowships, and grow-your-own programs bring more diverse educators into the profession,” The 74 reports, pointing to the Central Valley’s Lindsay Unified as one example. | The 74

Berkeley joins Harvard and Yale boycott of U.S. News law school rankings

School leaders say U.S. News’ ranking system “runs contrary to their schools’ commitments to diversity and affordability” by pushing schools to give financial aid to applicants with high LSAT scores and grades “rather than to those most in need.” | Reuters

Lasherica’s List

Explaining That Steep Drop in Math Scores on NAEP: 5 Takeaways

Here are highlights on the historic declines in students’ math scores on the just-released national assessment. | EducationWeek

California college students have their own ideas on diversifying campuses

A dozen college students answered the question of, “How do you think California’s colleges and universities can build more diverse student populations without considering race in the admissions process?” | EdSource

Now that schools have returned from their fall break, you can expect more stories from Julianna and I this week. Keep an eye out for the latest!