8 Proposed Laws Important for Education Equity in 2018
1. Governor Brown’s Budget Proposal to Establish a Student-Centered Community College Funding Formula
Governor Brown proposes $175 million in the 2018-19 budget for California’s Community Colleges to implement a student-centered funding formula. Rather than providing funding based on enrollment, the new formula would provide base funding for all students, and supplemental and student success grants to help low-income students succeed and reward successful student outcomes. The focus on low-income students and incentivizing student success makes the new formula the best opportunity for closing opportunity and achievement gaps in 2018.
2. SB1224 (Glazer) – Statewide Educational and Workforce Database
This bill would require the creation of a statewide data system to track individual students’ progress from kindergarten through college and into the workforce. This would be a major advancement for California’s student data systems, which are currently limited and not connected. SB 1224 would provide the capability to answer important questions regarding student progress and outcomes and craft effective solutions to close opportunity and achievement gaps.
3. AB 2735 (O’Donnell) – Ensures English Learners Have Access to the Core Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
1 in 5 students in California’s public schools is learning English. In some districts, English learners are unable to access grade-level content and more rigorous college-preparatory courses. AB 2735 would remedy opportunity gaps by ensuring Local Education Agencies cannot deny English learners access to the core curriculum and courses required for graduation.
4. AB 1936 (Low) – Office of Higher Education Performance and Accountability
AB 1936 would create the Office of Higher Education Performance and Accountability (OHEPA) as the statewide postsecondary education coordination and planning agency. OHEPA would serve as a clearinghouse for statewide data, and provide analysis and recommendations for cross-segmental initiatives such as transfer, financial aid, and workforce alignment. We view these functions as being foundational to inform state strategies to close opportunity and achievement gaps
5. AB 2015 (Reyes) – Requires Completion of FAFSA in High School Economics Class
Students who apply for financial aid are much more likely to attend and succeed in college. In California, students are entitled to a Cal Grant award if they or their school submits a verified high school grade point average and they complete the Federal Application for Financial Student Assistance (FAFSA). AB 2015 would position more students for success by requiring assistance with FAFSA completion in high school economics courses, which are required for graduation.
6. SB 1275 (Stern) – Plan Against Hunger in Higher Education
California’s public college and university students are struggling with food insecurity. SB 1275 would enact the Plan Against College Hunger Act of 2018, and expand financial aid awards to cover the cost of meal plans. This will help students to focus on academic success, and will be especially helpful to students dependent on financial aid.
7. AB 2635 (Weber) – Expands Definition of Unduplicated for LCFF to Serve Lowest-Performing Students
African American students continue to face major opportunity and achievement gaps. They are usually the lowest performing racial or ethnic subgroup on standardized assessments. AB 2635 would provide supplemental funding to serve students in the lowest performing subgroup, if they are not already receiving supplemental state or federal funds, by adding them to the definition of unduplicated students for the purposes of the Local Control Funding Formula. The sponsor estimates about 90,000 non low-income, non-EL African American students would generate supplemental funds, and Local Education Agencies would be required to give African American students greater attention in their Local Control Accountability Plans.
8. AB 1895 (Calderon) – Income Based Loan Repayment for DREAMERS
This bill provides California Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act students the same opportunities as their peers, and specifically supports low-income graduates. California is one of only six states that provides financial support for undocumented college students. AB 1895 makes DREAM loans easier to repay and offers financial relief to undocumented graduates working in lower wage professions by giving them the option to enroll in income-based repayment plans.