Ongoing developments in Fresno Unified School District affairs could affect aspiring teachers at Fresno State.
The Fresno Bee reported on Nov. 17 that the university will pull more than 200 hundred student-teachers from their assigned schools if Fresno Unified School District teachers carry out their threat to strike after fact-finding results are announced on Jan. 18.
The Fresno Teachers Association (FTA) said they are striking for several reasons including class-size reduction and retroactive salary increases.
The policy to pull the student-teachers was agreed to by California State University Chancellor Timothy White, university lawyers, district staff and the FTA leadership. At this point, the student-teachers who would potentially be affected have been notified via email by the college.
Paul Beare, dean of the Kremen School of Education and Human Development, said his priority is the well-being of his students who are learning how to be teachers.
“We cannot guarantee that the teacher candidate’s master teacher will be in place, thus no time spent in schools may count toward the required hours of field experience,” Beare said. “For liability reasons, no Fresno State student teacher can be in a classroom in that role without public school and university supervision available.”
Instead of doing their course field work at schools in the community, students will be required to attend a teach in (lecture) about past education strikes, according to The Fresno Bee.
The field work courses that take place on Fresno Unified campuses will also be temporarily relocated to Fresno State’s Kremen Education Building or elsewhere. The courses will still meet at their regular assigned time if the strike occurs, Beare said.
Carlos Gonzalez, a liberal studies major who is a student-teacher at Jefferson Elementary School, said he is unhappy about being pulled out of his class.
“I do not really like it, but if it is what they must do, I have no choice but to go with the flow,” Gonzalez said.
Substitute teaching has been on his mind and the minds of his fellow peers. The district has advertised on multiple occasions that subs can receive $500 a day for subbing during the strike.
Although he is interested in subbing, Gonzalez said his classmates are divided on the issue.
“I could really use the money since I am not working right now, and I have rent to pay – not to mention tuition coming up for next semester,” Gonzalez said. “I will only sub if I can and it does not interfere with my schooling and classes.”
Beare said the Kremen staff is supportive of both the district and the union, both of which play a role in the career preparation and employment of graduates.
“This is a very complex situation and we are neutral on all political issues,” he said. “We are positive in our admiration of the teachers and the district leadership.”
If students have any questions on the potential strike, they can go to the Kremen School of Education and Human Development dean’s office in the Kremen Education Building in Room ED 210.