California’s Key Ed Equity Related Legislative Proposals

This year marked a number of noteworthy policy wins and significant strides toward education equity in California. We were proud to stand with fellow nonprofits, educators, parents, student leaders, and other advocates to champion “The Equity 8” – eight key legislative proposals that were focused on educational equity issues. This year, through the tireless work of advocates and policymakers alike, we saw more than half of “The Equity 8” proposals signed into law, in addition to other important policy wins for California education.

8 Proposed Laws Important for Education Equity in 2018

Below we outline key policy wins and provide status updates on 8 legislative proposals that are key for advancing education equity in California:

1. Governor Brown Establishes a Student-Centered Community College Funding Formula

Under the new equity-centered funding model, colleges will not be funded solely on how many students they enroll, but will now be rewarded for progress toward increased student completion as well as additional funding to support low-income students.

Result: Governor Brown and the Legislature have agreed to invest $378 million in the 2018-19 budget for California’s Community Colleges to implement a student-centered funding formula.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

The Campaign for College Opportunity, Community College League of California, Next Gen California, Students Making a Change, LA Chamber of Commerce, SoCal College Access Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) – Pomona Valley, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement, Young Invincibles, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, UnidosUS

Read more about how student leaders and other advocates championed this approach here and see more about how Student Centered Funding Formula supports equity here.

 

 2. SB1224 (Glazer) – Statewide Educational and Workforce Database

This bill would have required 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.

Status: While this bill did not move forward this year, the Senate Select Committee on Student Success held an Informational Hearing on Longitudinal Data Systems on August 7th. At this hearing Legislator gained valuable insight on how California can establish a data system and what are some short term fixes to improve our educational data systems in the state. We expect there will be some advancements in this area during the next Legislative session and/or during Budget negotiations.

 

3. AB 2735 (O’Donnell) – Ensures English Learners Have Access to the Core Curriculum and Graduation Requirements   

This law prohibits local education agencies from denying English learners access to the core curriculum, including courses required for graduation and college admission.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

Association of California School Administrators, California Immigrant Policy Center, Californians Together, Computer Science Teachers Association, California Teachers Association, Public Advocates, California State PTA, California Association for Bilingual Education, Riverside County Superintendent, TeachPlus, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, California American Civil Liberties Union

 

4. AB 1936 (Low) – Office of Higher Education Performance and Accountability

AB 1936 would have created 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

Status: While this bill did not move forward this year, the Assembly Select Committee on The Master Plan for Higher Education held multiple informational hearing throughout the state on how we could update our outdated Master Plan for Higher Education. At these hearings, a re-occurring theme and concern was the need for a central entity, like the phased-out CA Postsecondary Education Commission, that is charged with modernizing, coordinating, and planning for higher education. We expect there will be some advancements in this area during the next Legislative session and/or during Budget negotiations.

 

5. AB 2015 (Reyes) – Requires Completion of FAFSA in High School Economics Class

This law will position more students for success by requiring local education agencies to provide information on how to properly complete and submit a FAFSA or CA Dream Act application to all students at least once before grade 12.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

CA Immigrant Policy Center, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, California School Boards Association, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement, California Student Aid Commission, BLU Education Foundation

 

6. SB 1275 (Stern) – Plan Against Hunger in Higher Education

SB 1275 would have enacted the Plan Against College Hunger Act of 2018, and expand financial aid awards to cover the cost of meal plans. This bill was intended to help students to focus on academic success, and will be especially helpful to students dependent on financial aid.

Status: While this bill did not move forward this year, there is acknowledgement within the Legislature that food and housing insecurities at our postsecondary institutions need to be addressed. Addressing these issues will help students focus on their academic success, and will especially help students who are dependent on financial aid. Although some advancements were made through other bills which targeted food insecurities, we expect there will be more progress in this area during the next Legislative session.

 

7. AB 2635 (Weber) – Expands Definition of Unduplicated for LCFF to Serve Lowest-Performing Students

Originally intended to make LCFF more responsive to the needs of African American students who are not also low-income, but consistently low performing among subgroups, it evolved into a $300 million block grant for low-performing students enacted in the budget.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

California Charter Schools Association, California School Boards Association, Los Angeles County Office of Education, EdVoice, Children Now, NAACP of California, California Charter Schools Association, Greater Sacramento Urban League, KIPP LA Pubic Schools, Black American Political Association of California, California Alliance of African American Educators

 

8. AB 1895 (Calderon) – Income Based Loan Repayment for DREAMERS

This law allows California Dream Loan recipients to repay their loans based on an income-based repayment plan and provides undocumented college graduates with the security of loan deferment if they are unable to secure work in the United States.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

California Undocumented Higher Education Coalition, Community College League of California, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, LA Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,  SoCal College Access Network, The Institute for College Access and Success, The Campaign for College Opportunity, Immigrants Rising (formerly Educators for Fair Consideration), Kid City Hope, Students Making a Change, Young Invincibles

 

Other New Education Equity Laws

AB 1894 (Weber) – Authorize the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program on CSU Campuses

This law authorizes the State Department of Social Services to enter into a statewide memorandum of understanding with the Chancellor of the California State University (CSU) to prevent hunger among college students by allowing any qualified food facility located on a campus of the CSU to participate in the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), even if the facility is located in a county that does not participate in the RMP.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

California State University, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Young Invincibles, Associated Students, Inc. – Sacramento State, Sacramento State Office of the President, University of California Student Association

 

AB 1805 (Irwin) – Community colleges: Student Equity and Achievement Program

This law builds upon the success of last year’s AB 705 bill and provides students with easily understandable information about community college course placement policies, their right to access transfer-level coursework, and academic credit ESL coursework.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

California Teachers Association, The Campaign for College Opportunity, California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

 

AB 2248 (McCarty) – Student financial aid: Cal Grant program

This law is an informational campaign that will inform Cal Grant award recipients of the unit load needed (15 semester units or the equivalent quarter units, or 30 semester units per academic year) to graduate within four years.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

California State University, The Institute for College Access and Success, The Campaign for College Opportunity

 

AB 2291 (Chiu) – Safe Learning Environment for Students

Expands current law to ensure that California’s school campuses provide our students with a safe learning environment by requiring local education agencies to adopt procedures relating to the prevention of bullying, including cyberbullying, by or before December 31, 2019.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

California Immigrant Policy Center, California School Boards Association, California State PTA, InnerCity Struggle, Advancement Project, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, American Civil Liberties Union of California, Khmer Girls in Action, Common Sense Kids Action, Asian Americans Advancing Justice

 

AB 2514 (Thurmond) – Pathways to Success Grant Program

This law establishes the Pathways to Success Grant Program which provides grants to local education agencies in order to establish or expand dual language programs.

Thank you to the advocates who supported this cause:

California Immigrant Policy Center, Public Advocates, San Francisco Unified School District, California State PTA, California Association for Bilingual Educators, Californians Together, California School Boards Association, Common Sense Kids Action, Advancement via Individual Determination, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Parent Institute for Quality Education, Advancement Project