The Equity 8 – California’s Key Legislative Proposals

Each year, California legislators propose new policies, programs, or changes to existing programs through the legislative process and the California budget process. Annually, Ed Trust-West analyzes the state budget and proposed legislation and identifies 8 key proposals that have potential for advancing educational equity and justice for California’s students and educators. This year, we saw our highest priorities for educational justice approved, in addition to other key wins for California’s education system.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2019-2020 state budget reflects key funding priorities for moving educational justice, visit this page for an analysis of ed equity budget investments, and for a webinar outlining the California budget process.

The Equity 8 for 2019:

AB 1617 (Reyes) would further integrate applying for financial aid into a high schools students experience by ensuring all 12th grade students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application before graduating from high school. Completing the FAFSA is one of the most important steps to going to college, and AB 1617 would significantly boost college-going for low-income students and students of color. The bill includes opt-out provisions that ensure this effort is a benefit for students, not a barrier to graduation.
ETW is sponsoring this bill.

The bill builds on last year’s AB 2015 and is intended to address California’s low financial aid application rate. Take action today to support this effort and go #AllinForFinancialAid

Status: currently in Assembly Education Committee as a two-year bill, and expected to be revisited and voted on in January 2020.

AB 1623 (R. Rivas) would create the Golden State Teacher Incentive Grant program to encourage credential candidates to teach in a shortage area. Low-income students and students of color are feeling the worst effects of the teacher shortage as schools in their communities are having the most difficulty in finding qualified teachers. Under the Golden State Teacher Incentive Grant program, shortage areas include STEM teachers, special education teachers, and bilingual teachers. ETW co-sponsored this bill along with Public Advocates.

Result: The 2019-20 State Budget includes an investment of $89.8 million for the Golden State Teacher Incentive Grant. This program will provide $20,000 grants to prospective teachers who commit to teach in subjects with shortages and in schools with a high percentage of teachers holding emergency-type permits. This investment is a big win! As such, AB 1623 will not move forward in the legislative process as a bill since the program was voted on and funded as part of the budget.

AB 1012 (Reyes) would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to implement the California Education for a Global Economy Initiative, reflecting a commitment to providing bilingual and biliteracy opportunities for all pupils by appropriating a total of $84 million to be allocated for the 2020–21 fiscal year through the 2022–23 fiscal year. This proposal was co-sponsored by the California Association of Bilingual Educators and Early Edge California, and was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Status: held in Assembly Appropriations Committee as a two-year bill, and expected to be revisited and voted on in January 2020.

SB 291 (Leyva) – Sponsored by the California Community Colleges, SB 291 would establish the California Community College Student Financial Aid Program, to provide need-based grant awards to eligible community college students. This bill seeks to address current policies that often prevent community college students from accessing some financial aid programs. While students would still be expected to contribute to the cost of their education, the new financial aid program would do more to address the full cost of college including non-tuition costs like housing, books, and supplies. Read more about this bill here.

Status: currently in Assembly Higher Education Committee as a two-year bill, and expected to be revisited and voted on in June 2020.

SB 594 (Rubio) would establish the English Learner (EL) Roadmap Initiative under the administration of the State Department of Education and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE). The bill would require the department and the CCEE to establish a process, administered by the department, to select, subject to the approval of the executive director of the state board, a county office of education with expertise relating to English learners and the EL Roadmap to serve as the lead agency to conduct specified activities to support EL students.

Result: The 2019-20 State Budget includes an investment of $10 million in funding dedicated to professional development for the English Learner Roadmap. Another win! Due to this investment, SB 594 will not move forward in the legislative process since it was voted on and funded as part of the budget.

SB 461 (Roth) would extend Cal Grant awards for up to 2 additional summer terms. This bill seeks to address a crucial gap in existing financial aid programs that don’t currently allow students to utilize funding during some summer periods in their educational journey. This limitation has equity considerations, as it often prevents students from utilizing their financial aid during beneficial summer courses, summer bridge and educational opportunity programs. Read more about this bill here.

Result: The 2019-20 State Budget includes an investment of $4 million to UC and $6 million to CSU to waive summer tuition and fees for students eligible to receive state financial aid. Another Equity 8 win this year. Due to this investment, SB 461 will not move forward in the legislative process since it was voted on and funded as part of the budget.

SB 3 (Allen) would establish the Office of Higher Education Coordination, Accountability, and Performance under the administration of a governing board composed of 5 members. The bill would give the office specified functions and responsibilities for purposes of statewide postsecondary education planning, oversight, data collection, and coordination. The bill would require the governing board to establish an advisory body, comprising 11 members, to provide recommendations to the governing board on issues before the governing board.

Status on SB 3: Remains in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and may be reconsidered in 2020.

AB 130 (Low) would have established the Higher Education Performance, Accountability, and Coordination Commission, composed of 5 public members with experience in postsecondary education, as the statewide postsecondary education oversight, coordination, and planning entity. The bill would have required the commission to develop and publish an independent annual report on the condition of higher education in California. The bill would have established other functions and responsibilities of the commission, which would have included specified advisory duties and acting as a clearinghouse for postsecondary education information.

Status on AB 130: Vetoed by Governor.

Governor’s Proposal for a Longitudinal Data System; SB 2 (Glazer); AB 1466 (Irwin) – these bills, and the Governor’s budget proposal, all take steps to establish a State Longitudinal Data System on Education (SLDS) in California. Currently, California does not have a way to follow student data from high school to college, preventing us from seeing how well California schools are preparing students for their post-high school educational journeys. These efforts seek to lay the groundwork for such a system, connecting and coordinating data from our K-12 and college systems, along with workforce data, for a wide range of stakeholders. Learn more about why ensuring this system is developed and implemented with equity at its foundation in our Data for the People brief.  

Result on SLDS: In a huge win for advocates across the state, the 2019-20 State Budget includes an investment of $10 million to begin development of a Cradle-to-Career statewide longitudinal data system. Read more about the 2019-2020 State Budget in ETW’s response statement.

Result on SB 2: Due to the investment in the Budget, SB 2 will not move forward in the legislative process since the budget includes an investment in the Cradle-to-Career data system.

Result on AB 1466: Due to the investment in the Budget, AB 1466 will not move forward in the legislative process since the budget includes an investment in the Cradle-to-Career data system.

 

For more on what’s next for the data system, check out our just-released Equity Alert – Data For The People: What’s Next For California’s Cradle to Career Data System

Ed Equity Advocacy Resources and Recaps: