FTA says student diplomas are jeopardized

FRESNO, Calif.

Roosevelt High is considered one of the premiere performing and visual arts schools in the Valley, but questions are being raised whether it's teachers are qualified to instruct students.

The Fresno Teacher's Association alleges at least seven substitute teachers were instructing classes by themselves without the proper credentials.

Gary Alford, Fresno Teachers Association said, "There's one that's a music teacher, multiples that are teaching what is basically the PE course in dance, there's individuals that are teaching costume design."

Classes - the union says students need in order to graduate.

Greg Gadams, Fresno Teachers Association said, "What does the California Department of Education say on the student's diplomas now? These classes are graduation requirements. So they receive graduation credit for something improperly given. We're hoping students aren't improperly penalized for what's going on."

Under California's education code the district can use a sub to fill the position of an absent teacher, but it must try to find a full-time replacement first and prove it did to the commission on teacher credentialing. The district argues these aren't full time positions.

In a written statement, "Roosevelt routinely solicits individuals in the community with recognized expertise to enhance its performing arts courses. While on occasion, the district has utilized the services of local professionals who are not otherwise credentialed, these individuals have equivalent training and experience in their areas of expertise."

For example - it says - one dance instructor owns her own dance studio and choreographs for the Fresno Ballet. Another also teaches hip hop at Fresno City College.

In all - the district says - 4 individuals instruct 9 out of 56 sections per day - which equates to 131 students. But - the teachers union isn't backing down, saying that it's the commission on teaching credentialing and not Fresno Unified that needs to make the call.

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