The Education Trust–West Responds to Governor Newsom’s Veto of AB 811

For Immediate Release
October 9, 2023

Contact: Mariel Matze, 650-380-1973, [email protected]


The Education Trust–West Responds to Governor Newsom’s Veto of AB 811

Oakland, CA — In response to Governor Newsom’s veto of AB 811 (M. Fong), Rachel Ruffalo, Senior Director of Strategic Advocacy at The Education Trust–West, issued the following statement:

By vetoing AB 811 last night, Governor Newsom has protected students’ rights to transfer-level coursework and community colleges’ progress toward equitable access. From its introduction to the Assembly last spring, we have been deeply alarmed by the threat AB 811 posed to student success, particularly for Black and Latinx students experiencing poverty. In response, we led a coalition of organizations in opposition, rallying advocates across the state to urge lawmakers to make the right move for students by opposing this bill.

AB 811 would have created a powerful monetary incentive for California community colleges to encourage their students to retake courses even after successfully completing them, rather than prioritizing effective academic supports upfront. There is no evidence that shows that retaking a course after passing it improves student success or enhances learning. In fact, for the roughly 80% of community college students who intend to transfer, taking additional courses unnecessarily can prolong their efforts to earn transfer credit and lead to greater attrition. What’s more, retaking courses adds to the cost of college, sucking up limited financial aid resources and increasing the likelihood of student debt for a population already disproportionately burdened.

Low-income students, especially those who are Black and Latinx, have already been disproportionately impacted by remediation and course repetition. Fortunately, thanks to AB 705 (Irwin) and AB 1705 (Irwin), community colleges are shifting toward enrolling students directly in transfer-level courses and corequisites instead, yielding promising results for students of color, as discussed in our recent bright spot highlighting Ventura College. Both the California Community College Vision for Success and the Multi-year Roadmap call for a reduction in excess unit accumulation, reinforcing AB 705’s requirement that colleges use evidence-based academic support practices. This veto likewise underscores that rather than pursuing ill-informed, costly approaches, community colleges should be focused on equitably implementing AB 705.

Put simply, AB 811 was bad for students. As we and other partners pointed out in calling for a veto, students deserve coursework and academic support designed to help them succeed the first time around. They deserve research-backed practices, not those that increase their odds of stopping out. And colleges should never profit from policies that hurt students. We applaud Governor Newsom for standing up for what’s best for students.  

Please contact Mariel Matze at 650-380-1973 for support with further comment.


About The Education Trust–West

The Education Trust—West is an evidence-driven advocacy organization committed to advancing policies and practices to dismantle the racial and economic barriers embedded in the California education system. For over two decades, Ed Trust—West has worked to improve racial equity in education by engaging diverse communities and increasing political and public will to build an education system where students of color and multilingual learners will thrive. For more information, see or follow us on X. 



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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.