While traversing budget cuts, one college works to produce potential teachers.
The Kremen School of Education and Human Development has been fully accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education since 1953.
Paul Beare, the dean of the Kremen School of Education and Human Development since 2003, said California’s success is important to the country as a whole.
“If we can’t turn around education in the Central Valley and start graduating more kids from high school and send more kids to college we are never going to catch up with the rest of the world,” Beare said.
The Kremen School has felt the brunt of budget cuts. This past fall, it had to limit enrollment and more than 100 students were not allowed to join the program. According to Fresno State’s Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning (IRAP) reports the school awarded 377 undergraduate degrees in the 2008-09 school year compared to 593 in the 2004-05.
Beare said the mission of the school is to develop students’ educational skills creating teachers that have the tools to proficiently shape the young minds of the future.
“We’re more engaged than any other school or college at Fresno State,” Beare said. “We are more engaged in making a difference in the community than any school or college of education that I have ever seen,” Beare said.
The associate dean of the Kremen School, James Marshall, said he is proud of the preparation the school of education gives its students.
“We have a very hands-on approach,” Marshall said. “Our students will be able to hit the ground running [as teachers].”
Marshall also said well-qualified professors and affiliations with local school districts assist students to become superb teachers.
“We have numerous award-winning faculty members,” Marshall said. “Our system is very contemporary. We have developed numerous partnerships with local school districts so our students have a venue with field experience.”
Melissa Penerian has been attending Fresno State for four years and is a blended, dual credential candidate. She already has her degree in liberal studies and is working toward her credentials to become a special education teacher.
“I spend 20 hours a week in a first grade class at an elementary school,” Penerian said. “I teach the students for the first half of the day at Hidalgo Elementary in downtown Fresno.”
Penerian said that her education at the Kremen School has put her on the right track to becoming a teacher that can make a positive impact on students.
“They offer wonderful professors with doctorates and field experience who help guide and train us to do whatever we have to do in the classroom,” Penerian said.
In 2008, Fresno State won the Presidential Award for higher education and community service. The award recognizes universities for their commitment to, and achievement in, community service. Beare said the Kremen School has played a very influential role in the Fresno area.
“Our school right now has 29 different projects and partnerships that are trying to improve life in the Valley,” Beare said. “There are 180 kids from McLane High School taking classes here at our building. Those kids have much higher graduation rates than those at McLane [High School] that don’t take classes here.”
Improving education at the earlier grade levels, Beare said, will help rebuild the entire education system in the state.
“If you’re a seventh-grader in California you have a seven or eight percent chance, when you graduate from high school, to be eligible to attend a [California State University] or [University of California] without taking a remediation class,” Beare said. “That is terrible.”
“All of our classes are open,” Beare said. “We could have taken another 100 or 150 more students because we graduate so many.”