Every spring, California legislators offer new ideas or proposed changes to programs and policies that touch the lives of California’s roughly 10 million students, from preschool to K-12 to higher education. Many of these ideas stand to improve opportunity and access for students of color, students from lower-income communities, and English learners – if decision-makers in Sacramento are encouraged to make them a reality.

That’s why each year, EdTrust-West analyzes proposals for the state budget and new legislation and identifies the top eight greatest opportunities to advance educational equity and justice.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2024-2025 state budget includes several of these opportunities. Read our response to Newsom’s budget proposal for an analysis of key funding priorities for moving educational justice forward.

The Equity 8 for 2024

Last Updated: 4/11/2024

AB 2458 (Berman): Greater Accessibility, Information, Notice, and Support (GAINS) for Student Parents Act (EdTrust-West co-sponsored bill)

California is home to approximately 300,000 undergraduate student parents, the majority of whom are first-generation (61%) and/or students of color (72%). While student parents have greater food, housing, childcare, and transportation costs than their nonparenting peers, these costs are not accounted for in their financial aid considerations, leaving student parents with inadequate financial support. AB 2458 will help student parents successfully complete their degrees. Specifically, it will ensure that student parents obtain the financial aid they are entitled to by considering their childcare expenses and requiring campuses to collect and report data to advance student parent success. 

To learn more about AB 2458 and other ways to get involved, visit: bit.ly/AB_2458

Budget Proposal (Governor Newsom): $20 Million for Teacher Professional Development to Implement the CA Math Framework

Governor Newsom proposes that $20 million be allocated to a county office of education to develop and deliver educator training on the 2023 California Mathematics Framework. EdTrustWest advocated for this framework because the state needs to modernize its approach to math instruction to better serve low-income students of color and multilingual learners. Yet the benefits of the framework will only be realized if local educational agencies* use the framework and teachers receive training on its instructional strategies.EdTrustWest strongly supports the proposal and would also like the funding to build on the state and local learning networks already being developed with $85 million provided in the 2022-2023 state budget for math, science, and computer science professional development infrastructure. 

ACA 7 (Jackson): Permits Consideration of Race and Gender if Research Shows it Improves Educational Attainment 

If approved by the voters, this proposal will amend the California Constitution to permit use of state monies for research-based or research-informed programs or interventions that increase life expectancy, improve educational outcomes, and reduce poverty for specific marginalized racial groups or genders. Such spending will require the governor’s approval. Overwhelming evidence shows that targeting resources toward specific racial groups is key to erasing the racial equity gaps created by California’s denial of resources to communities of color. Glaring, persistent gaps in educational outcomes for California’s students by race and gender offer ample evidence that one-size-fits-all approaches to supporting students do not work, because systemic racism and gender discrimination create an uneven playing field for students. ACA 7 will permit the state to use research to finally make real progress toward closing those gaps. 

The deadline for placing this measure on the ballot for the 2024 general election is June 27th. 

SB 1391 (Rubio): Requests Additional Data in the Teacher Training and Retention Dashboard Within the Cradle-to-Career Data System

SB 1391 will require the inclusion of more robust information in a forthcoming teacher training and retention dashboard. With additional data, the dashboard will dramatically improve access to teacher demographic data and connect educator pipeline data from preparation through recruitment and placement. Right now, the state faces a teacher shortage, too few teachers reflect the rich diversity of the state’s students, and students of color from low-income households are the least likely to have access to fully prepared teachers. These data will allow researchers and policymakers to analyze preparation, hiring, and retention trends with a focus on educator diversity and provide critical information needed to build and sustain the highquality, racially, and linguistically diverse teacher workforce our students deserve 

AB 2074 (Muratsuchi): Requires the Development of an Implementation Plan for the English Learner Roadmap

In 2017, the State Board of Education adopted the California English Learner Roadmap. This comprehensive policy provides a framework for better supporting English learners through alignment and coherence of instructional practices and materials, teacher training and professional development, social and family supports, and parent and community involvement. However, implementation has been uneven across the state. AB 2074 will require the California Department of Education to develop a statewide implementation plan to assist local educational agencies* in implementing the Roadmap so the recommended strategies benefit all English learners statewide. 

AB 359 (Holden): Expanding Access to College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) 

College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP partnerships) aim to provide early exposure to college courses via dual enrollment for high school students who may not yet be considering going to college or who are underrepresented in higher education. AB 359 will eliminate outdated barriers that prevent students from accessing college coursework through CCAP while also making it easier for local educational agencies* and community college districts to develop new partnership agreements and expand course offerings. Specifically, this bill will eliminate the requirement that students obtain a principal recommendation to participate in CCAP, clarify that students should only submit a single application for the duration of their participation, and work towards ensuring that students receive credit from both their high school and college for completing college-level courses. 

Funding for Cal Grant Reform

Financial aid for college students has not kept pace with the cost of attendance – and with inflation at sky-high levels, students living in poverty are hit hardest. Historic reforms to the Cal Grant program enacted through the 2022 Budget Act would have helped make college more affordable and accessible for over 130,000 low-income students, many of whom are student parents and students of color. Yet, without a plan for funding and implementation, it’s still an unfulfilled promise. While we recognize the challenging budget landscape the state is facing this year, EdTrust-West and our partners in the Cal Grant Reform Coalition are asking the governor and the legislature to prioritize funding for Cal Grant reform and make a meaningful first step towards implementation.   

Budget Proposal (Governor Newsom): $5 Million for the California College Guidance Initiative 

College admission and financial aid requirements are complex, and applying for either can be intimidating. The California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI) helps students and families by providing data-driven tools and infrastructure with student-focused curricula to help students move seamlessly from high school to college and/or a career. An increase of $5 million in ongoing funding will extend access to this platform to all 6th-12th grade students in California. This investment will help students and families understand their options, research job markets, submit college applications, and apply for financial aid. This platform will also give high school counselors access to information they need to provide students with one-on-one support in their college application process. This funding will be a big boost to college and career readiness.

In addition to this year’s Equity 8, EdTrust-West continues to advocate for AB 1106 (Soria), which we are sponsoring alongside Children Now. AB 1106 was one of our Equity 8 bills in 2023; its consideration by the legislature was extended into the current legislative cycle, so our advocacy for it continues. 

AB 1106 (Soria) EdTrust-West- and Children Now-Sponsored Legislation to Implement PK-3 Early Childhood Education Specialist Credential

Ed Trust-West and Children Now co-sponsored AB 1106, which establishes a one-time grant program that will provide financial support to colleges and universities so they can implement and offer both the PK-3 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialist Credential and give preference to programs that will simultaneously offer a bilingual authorization. The new credential helps to meet workforce demands by providing an additional pathway into teaching, and students in transitional kindergarten through 3rd grade will benefit from a workforce trained in child development-based pedagogy.

At the end of the 2023 legislative session, the Department of Finance opposed AB 1106, so Ed Trust-West and Children Now decided to make AB 1106 a two-year bill and continue advocating for it in 2024.

Status: After being introduced in 2023, AB 1106 is awaiting consideration in the Senate. 

*Local educational agencies are governmental entities responsible for operating public K-12 schools. They are most typically school districts, but can also include county offices of education, charter schools or charter school networks, and alternative schools.