Things That Matter

Fresno State Is Using A Grant To Get More Bilingual Latino Teachers In Classrooms

World Bank Photo Collection / Flickr

California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) is taking initiative when it comes to putting more Latinos in and in front of the classroom. The college has received a $3.75 million grant toward programs for Latino students who want to become teachers at San Joaquin Valley area schools. Latino teachers represent 25 percent of public schools in Fresno County, while Latino students make up 65 percent of the population, according to the California Department of Education.

The goal of the new program is to increase the number of bilingual Latino teachers who will return to teach in their hometowns.

The historically Latino area is at a disparity when it comes to teacher-student ratio. There are currently 3.3 million Latinos attending California’s K-12 public school and with nearly 1.4 million English learners in the state. The gap is growing most noteably in Fresno County.

The program will start with recruiting early in local high schools, helping students through the community colleges then into Fresno State’s liberal studies and teacher credential program to earn a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential. Patricia D. Lopez, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Fresno State, believes that the program comes at an important time in the history of the school district.

“As this population continue to grow that disconnect continues to stagger and it has gone up over the years,” Lopez said. “You can find a campus full of Latinos but only small handful of Latinos teachers. At the administrative level you are praying on this demographic to shoulder the responsibility and it plays into both the students and administration.”

Lopez says the disparity may have to do with retention rates. A recent study shows that Latino teachers are leaving the profession at higher rates than their peers.

Lopez says that district leaders must pay as much attention to understanding and creating the right culture to retain Latino teachers as they do to recruiting them. That starts with listening and learning from teachers and focusing on creating a culture where students and teachers are both set up to succeed.

“We really do need to do more when it comes to four year college graduates and retaining them,” Lopez says. “We can always do better and seeing so many Latino teachers leave the field is indicative of the lack of support they may have.”

Almost half of all undergraduate students at Fresno State are Latino and the percentage is higher at Fresno City and Reedley colleges where the Latino student population is 53 percent and 71 percent. This places an emphasis on having a sizable amount of teachers that reflect the population in the area.

The grant will also allow all three campuses to hire advisers and counselors dedicated to serving the would-be teachers.

“The grant is putting resources in advisers that will help students throughout the program,” Lopez says. “Having cultural understanding, breaking language barriers and understanding financial restraints are important and we think of them as holistic resources for our teachers.”

The teacher program will start in 2019 with 30 students who will take community college classes for two years before transferring to Fresno State. Each of the three campuses will have a designated resident counselor and director to support students throughout the program. Lopez hopes that by recruiting students from the Fresno community that will lead to them teaching locally. She has already seen a positive reaction from teachers, former students that are now teachers and students that want to be part of the program,

“This pipeline program is huge not only for the state at-large but for our community here where many are asking how can I be apart of this,” Lopez said. “People want to be a part of the conversation here in the central valley and hopefully that leads to having more Latinos leading classrooms.”


READ: Officials Have Made Voting In This Latino Kansas Town So Difficult And A Judge Ruled Against Making Things Easier

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Charges Against Disgraced Parkland Officer And New Florida Law Raises Questions for Teachers

Things That Matter

Charges Against Disgraced Parkland Officer And New Florida Law Raises Questions for Teachers

@libertynation\ Twitter

The arrest of Scot Peterson, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sheriff’s deputy who heard shots fired inside the school and hid outside is raising some troubling questions for teachers.

Labeled a coward cop by many, Peterson has been charged with eleven counts of child negligence, culpable negligence, and perjury for his inaction and lies he made about his role while under oath.

Armed and tasked with providing security for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Peterson can be seen hiding in video footage during the Parkland shooting. Many parents of slain children, such Manuel and Patricia Oliver, believe that Peterson should have risked his life and entered the school and do whatever he could to stop the shooter, Nikolas Cruz on February 14, 2018.

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Twitter

The aftermath of the shooting has resulted in an uprising of teen activism, the arrest of Peterson, and changes in the law.

One such law passed in Florida last month, allows teachers to carry firearms.

The law has raised many questions and much controversy, such as concerns about racism and implicit bias that many fear could result in the shooting of black students. The charges against Scot Peterson and the passage of the gun law that allows teachers to be armed in classrooms has raised questions about the responsibility of those teachers who might choose to arm themselves at school. The Florida Education Association, Florida’s teachers’ union, is particularly concerned because they fear that Peterson’s arrest, could set precedence for holding armed teachers accountable for injuries or death of students on their watch, should they choose not to use their weapon to subdue a school shooter. Tort law speaks very specifically about negligence which the teacher association fears teachers, like Peterson, could be charged with under the new law: “Negligence is the unintentional failure to live up to the community’s ideal of reasonable care, having nothing to do with moral care. An individual who has behaved negligently is one who has not lived up to a certain imputed duty or obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.”

While many believe that Peterson’s case is an anomaly and won’t set precedence, in August of 2018 the Florida Department of Education made an amendment to its insurance policy that makes it clear that armed teachers will not be covered for claims involving “armed instructional personnel while acting in the scope of their activities for the educational institution.”  And while state lawmakers have responded to the Parkland shooting by allowing more guns in public places, in this case schools, the Florida department of education has protected itself itself from lawsuits brought by parents or relatives of those who could be injured as a result of an armed teacher.

Twitter

When a state passes a law that encourages teachers to arm themselves to protect children in the classroom from school shooters, presumably other children, many other questions should be raised?

Is the hero teacher narrative at play? Is it fair to encourage teachers, trained to educate America’s children, to arm themselves and protect them or face neglect charges when they don’t or couldn’t?

Shouldn’t we be focused on common sense gun laws? Does it make sense to allow firearms in school?

When it comes to both a rallying cry for common sense gun laws and charges of negligence against Scot Peterson, many on Twitter are asking some of these questions and more.

TruthBeTold wants to know why the federal government isn’t being held responsible for not enacting strict gun laws and asks “What about Congress” What about the president? Didn’t they also fail to protect those children?”

12yearlagavulin and jon-e-lingo point out the irony of laws that protect police offers who shoot unarmed men but convict of negligence. Jonelingo points out how unlikely it would have been for Peterson to face jail time had he actually shot someone rather doing what he did which was not shoot.

Many on Twitter called Peterson a coward for not doing his job or being willing to “put his life on the line. Others, like Junebug, believe he’s being unfairly scapegoated.

Twitter user @LopezMaddox made a donut joke about the Broward cop to make about about Peterson’s lack of action.

This Fresno Teen Is Using The Internet To Get People To Buy Pan Dulce From This Viejito And It’s The Sweetest Story On The Internet

Culture

This Fresno Teen Is Using The Internet To Get People To Buy Pan Dulce From This Viejito And It’s The Sweetest Story On The Internet

Javier Amaro / Facebook

We adore young people that honor their elders by showing them love, advocating for their lives, and more importantly helping them with their hustle. That’s exactly what we are seeing out of Fresno today with a young man asking people to support his favorite street vendor and his bread.

Fresno resident Javier Amaro is paying it forward by giving a local Mexican bread vendor a huge shout out.

Credit: Javier Amaro / Facebook

Amaro, a bodybuilding enthusiast, posted on his social media platforms that local residents should purchase Mexican bread from this vendor. Not only does Amaro say they’re delicious but they are incredibly inexpensive.

“FRESNO, CA AREA!! this older man sells really good Mexican bread they are $1 a bag, I purchased $15 to help him, shows me a lot that even if you are older and not that fit or healthy to work, when you enjoy doing something that you love to do, age or time doesn’t matter. PLEASE help him out he is located in 2034 N. ANGUS or give him a call 559-515-1271”

The post, which went live on Facebook on June 4, has been shared thousands of times.

Credit: Javier Amaro / Facebook

Does this vendor know his phone number is floating around the internet? We’re certain his phone is blowing up nonstop. Who can resist $1 pan dulces?

Fans are showing support for the elderly gentlemen and those who have tried his goods are sending their praise.

Instagram/@glmpsi

“We always brought from him when we lived on Brown Ave., ” Angie G. Aguilar wrote on Facebook. “Sweetest man and his pan is really good! I’ll call him for sure. And share your post.”

@_lizzylizz wrote, “Dude I always use to buy bread off of him really nice sweet guy and the bread is definitely worth it.”

This is not the first time someone has posted a message in order to give their favorite vendor much-needed business.

Credit: @abc12houston / Twitter

Last year, a then 18-year-old  Jacqueline “Jackie” Garza tweeted that her father’s bakery would close due to lack of business. So, she asked people to come and help, and they did. Thanks to her social media outreach, the panaderia was able to stay in business.

READ: Here’s How One Houston Panadería Was Saved Because Of A Teenager’s Tweet

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