Upper Fresno Area Applicants Agree on Need for FUSD to Increase Academic Scores – GV Wire
Candidates for the Fresno Unified Zone 5 trustee seat agreed at Thursday’s forum that the district’s dismal record of academic performance — only two in 10 Fresno Unified High School graduates meet literacy standards — but shared different ideas on how to turn the tide.
Only a few dozen people were present to hear from the four candidates during the forum, which was held in the Fresno High School cafeteria.
They munched on free pizza as the candidates – Russ Allen, Andrew Fabela, Andy Levine and Daniel Renteria – answered a series of questions about the changes they would make and their priorities if elected to the school board. The audience included Trustees Veva Islas and Terry Slatic and several Trustee Liaisons.
The deadline for voters in Zone 5 to vote in the special election is April 12. The winner will serve the remaining two years of longtime trustee Carol Mills, who passed away last July. Mills was reelected to a four-year term in November 2020, but lost her battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease eight months later.
The forum was co-hosted by Building Healthy Communities and GO Public Schools Fresno. The live broadcast on CMAC got off to a bad start when the audio system broke down, causing a brief pause in the Q&A. The forum has been recorded and will be available on the Government channel CMACsaid a staff member.
The candidates seemed to agree on many topics, including the need for greater accountability from Fresno Unified administrators, staff, parents, and students; better air filtration systems in schools; increased security on campus; increase student support by adding school counselors and psychologists; and devote resources to improving the academic performance of specific student groups such as African Americans, students receiving special education services, and English language learners.
On improving school performance in the district, Fabela said he would advocate for an end to social promotion, the reinstatement of end-of-year tests and worry less about self-esteem. students if they are withheld a grade so that they can acquire the knowledge they will need. to succeed in their next grade.
Levine said he favors personalized supports for students, which he believes would be more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach to improving students’ academic performance.
Renteria said he would make reading a high priority and that district resources should be devoted to tutoring and after-school sessions for students who struggle with reading.
Allen said his goal would be to increase the number of preschool and preschool classes, encourage parents of preschoolers to prepare their children for school, and provide additional services for English learners. .
Allen said he would advocate reinstating physical education as a requirement and encouraging students to actively participate to improve their physical health.
Levine said he would like to see the district request a portion of the $3 billion the state of California has allocated to community schools, which in addition to educating students, provide a variety of resources for families and residents. of the school community, including health care, mental health and social services.
Fabela said he would advocate for retired teachers to return to assess and mentor current teachers, offering help as needed.
Renteria said he supports using district resources to encourage parents to become more involved in their children’s education and to remove the barriers that currently exist that prevent them from engaging and s ‘involve.
Numerous studies have shown that students do better academically when their parents are interested in them and encourage them in their studies.
Who to vote for?
Afterwards, several Fresno High voters said they were happy to have the opportunity to see all four candidates at the same time.
But Terry Shelton Jr. and Mike Wells said they haven’t decided who to vote for yet.
For Wells, “it’s a tie between Danny (Renteria) and Andy (Levine),” he said.
Thursday’s forum came nearly a month after a candidate forum hosted by GV Wire.