School Board President Predicts Strike for 2018

Megan Rupe

Megan Rupe

Leoni Gavrielides, Staff Writer

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‘Tis the season to be jolly’… but maybe not for the Fresno Unified School District and its teachers! In a recent interview, on a wide range of issues with School Board President Trustee, Brooke Ashjian, he predicted that there will be a teachers’ strike in 2018. He expressed his dismal outlook for the impending teachers’ strike.

“My Christmas wish for the district is a settled contract so we could go back to the business of kids.” said Trustee Ashjian. But he is not hopeful that the strike can be averted once the fact finding committee returns its mediation results.

“There’s probably going to be a strike. There’s 18 articles that they brought. That means that there’s 18 different things that they want to talk about or get solved in their contract, along with money. So there’s money and there’s 18 pieces of legislation that they want to stick in their contract or it’s in their contract that they want to add to or take from. So, when you have to solve the money and the 18 issues, it’s very unlikely that we’re going to solve all those within 30 or 45 days.”

He was asked if the teachers are being unreasonable and too demanding. He appeared to be somewhat understanding. “I sense frustration with the teachers and some of their frustration is my frustration. But, that being said, some of their issues, I’ve tackled. Special Education, they want to talk about Special Education, I’ve called for a complete audit of Special Education, because I know Special Education is broken.”

Trustee Ashjian also understands that safety and discipline is an issue with the teachers too, but he says that it’s a more complicated issue to solve.

On another topic, he expressed great concern about the Achievement Gap for the district’s African American students. He pointed out that Edison and Bullard have the most African American students on their campuses, but their performance on standardized tests must improve. Trustee Ashjian said he was personally working across the district to make sure that the gap narrows. He added that this is part of a reform movement to raise academic standards across the district.

The reform movement that he spoke of is embedded in “restoring respect to the classrooms, embracing higher academic standards, and providing more vocational education.”

He is pleased with the new Bullard Tip-Line that is designed to bring about more inclusiveness by allowing students to confidentially report certain alleged crimes. He’s thrilled with Bullard’s new face-lift and beams with pride, as he affectionately talks about the new library, administrative building, lecture hall, and classrooms. His protegee and predecessor, Michelle Asadoorian, who accompanied him to the interview, also expressed delight with the new construction that began with her ideas when she sat on the board.

 

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