I. Race to the Top (RTTT): 2010
In the 2009 Digest of Legislation, it was mentioned that the Governor had called a Special Session (5th Extraordinary) to ensure California was eligible and competitive for RTTT funding. RTTT funding is a $4.35 billion United States Department of Education program designed to spur reform in state and local K-12 education. It is funded by the United States Department of Education Recovery Act as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Only states that permit linking achievement data and teacher and principal data for the purposes of teacher and principal evaluation are eligible to apply for these funds. In October 2009, it was learned that other reforms were needed to address other federal competition criteria including:
• Strengthening requirements that districts implement bold turnaround strategies in the bottom 5% of persistently low-performing schools, helping increase the overall quality of our state’s education system.
• Outlining components for agreements between school districts and the state to work with local teachers unions to turn around struggling schools, helping ensure that all California students can reach our high academic standards.
• Giving parents more freedom to choose the school that best serves their children by authorizing open enrollment for students in the lowest-performing schools, allowing them to attend any school in the state.
• Repealing California’s charter school cap, which is an unnecessary barrier to innovation.
• Reinforcing a school district’s authority and ability to reward teachers who consistently do a great job improving student achievement. Locally bargained alternative pay schedules help California recruit and retain high-quality teachers and principals, highlight effective teaching practices and create incentives to improve our education system.
The deadline for applying for the Phase I funding under RTTT was January 19, 2010. It was imperative, in order to meet the January 19, 2010 deadline, that the Special Session was called. (Clarification note: The RTTT funding is different than the funds which California received under the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds which was also part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and was cited in the 2009 Digest of Legislation in error. As noted in the 2009 Digest of Legislation, there was legislation already going through the process concerning RTTT.)
The Senate, in December 2009, passed SB 1 X5, SB 2 X5, and SB 4 X5 which were vehicles used to implement reforms to make California eligible for the funding. The Assembly also passed SB 2 X5 in December, made substantial amendments to the other two on December 3, 2009, January 4, 2010, and January 5, 2010. On January 5th, the Assembly passed the two bills and on January 6th the Senate concurred in the amendments and the Governor signed them on January 7th. The following are the bills which became law:
• SB 1 X5 (Steinberg), Chapter 2, Statutes of 2009-10, 5th Extraordinary Session, gave direction with regard to the state’s application for federal RTTT funding and did all of the following: (1) established a framework for the state’s application for federal RTTT funding and the related memoranda of understanding with local education agencies, (2) defined “low-achieving schools” and “persistently low-achieving schools” and set forth, intervention strategies to be followed in conformity to the RTTT regulations, (3) established the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Career Technical Education Educator Credentialing Program for purposes of providing alternative routes to the teachers, (4) extended authorization of state testing programs by two years, required state involvement in the national academic content standards project, and reestablished a Standards Commission in order to revise California standards so that at least 85% will match the national standards, and (5) authorized the data in the California Educational Information System, alone or in conjunction with any other data system, to be used by local educational agencies for evaluating teachers and administrators and for making employment decisions, if those decisions are in compliance with specified public school employee collective bargaining law.
• SB 2 X5 (Simitian), Chapter 1, Statutes of 2009-10, 5th Extraordinary Session, established a process for reviewing and responding to requests for individual pupil data records based in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System.
• SB 4 X5 (Romero), Chapter 3, Statutes of 2009-10, 5th Extraordinary Session, established an Open Enrollment Program, which authorizes a pupil enrolled in a “low-achieving” school, as defined, to attend any higher achieving school in the state; and established a Parent Empowerment Program that authorizes parents of specified schools to sign a petition requiring a local educational agency to implement a school intervention model, as specified.
On January 15th, the Governor signed the state’s RTTT application which had the prospect of bringing $1 billion in federal funds for California’s schools. The application was strongly supported by over 800 local educational agencies and was also signed by Attorney General Edmond G. Brown, Jr., State Superintendent of Public Institution Jack O’Connell, and State Board of Education President Ted Mitchell. On March 4th, the United States Department of Education announced that California was not selected as a finalist for round one of the RTTT funding program. On March 16th, the Governor and along with eight others, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education requesting that the Department accelerate the timeline for the release of RTTT Phase I peer reviewers comments and scores, and requested the deadline to submit the RTTT Phase 2 application be extended until July 1, 2010. On March 3rd, the Governor and Senator Gloria Romero issued a statement announcing California’s intent to apply for Phase 2 funding which would have provided $700 million for California schools. On June 1st, the Governor submitted the application for the Phase 2 funding. The application for funding was developed by the working group of seven school superintendents (San Francisco, Sacramento, Clovis, Fresno, Sanger, Long Beach, and Los Angeles). The application addressed the stated federal goals of RTTT applications, including both teacher and principal evaluations based in part on student performance, ensuring effective teachers and principals are placed in low-performing and high-poverty schools, and using critical data to improve student achievement to turn around low-performing schools. In addition to the working group of superintendents, the application was joined by more than 100 school districts and more than 200 charter schools. As before, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education also signed it. On July 27th, the U.S. Secretary of Education announced that California was selected as one of the finalists. On August 16th, the state education officials defended the state’s application before the U.S. Department of Education’s peer reviewers selected to judge the competition and the awards were to be made known in September. On August 24th, the U.S. Department of Education announced that California was not selected for the RTTT funding.
On October 11, 2010, the California Office of Reform Education (CORE) was established by the seven superintendents representing those California districts that served on the working group for the RTTT Round Two application, along with California Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss and the California Department of Education (CDE). CORE is a nonprofit organization which will pursue the education reform agenda that the seven school districts committed during the last road of competition for RTTT.
II. Education Content Standards
California’s content standards specify the content that students need to acquire at each grade level from kindergarten to grade 12. The content standards are the foundation for the accountability system, instructional materials and staff development programs. The State Board of Education (SBE) has adopted content standards in the areas of reading/language arts, math, history/social science, science, visual and performing arts, career technical education, physical education, health education, and most recently world languages. The standards in history/social science and science were adopted in 1998, and they have not been revised or updated.
Recently enacted legislation, SB 1 X5 (Steinberg), Chapter 2, Statutes of 2009-10, Fifth Extraordinary Session, establishes the Academic Content Standards Commission to develop academic content standards in language arts and mathematics that are comprised of at least 85% of the common core academic standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative consortium. Pursuant to SB 1 X5, the Standards Commission submitted its recommendations to the SBE to adopt the common core state standards with some additions and these recommendations were adopted by the SBE on August 2 of this year.
AB 97 (Torlakson) would have established the Academic Content Standards Commission for purposes of reviewing and revising the history/social science and science academic content standards. However, the Governor vetoed the bill stating: “Given California’s participation in the Common Core initiative and the anticipated reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, this bill is premature. This bill could create an unnecessary, duplicative process in the development of content standards and in the integration of those standards into the state’s assessment system.”
III. Other K-12 Legislation
The 2010-11 Budget maintained a modest increase in education funding on a per-pupil programmatic basis for 2010-11, and begins paying “settle-up” payments for the 2009-10 fiscal year with a $300 million payment in 2010-11. The Budget provided ongoing Proposition 98 funding of $49.6 billion and, through a new deferral of $1.9 billion and one-time funds, brought total state funding for schools and community colleges to $52.5 billion.
The major piece of education reform which was enacted other than the reforms made by the RTTT legislation was SB 1381 (Simitian), the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010. SB 1381 revises the age of admission to kindergarten and first grade by one month in each of three years so that in 2014 and later years, a child will have to be five-years-old on or before September 1st, in order to attend kindergarten. The California Kindergarten Association stated that changing the entrance date will help to ensure success for children through their school careers. California students compete with other states on standardized testing and the state has been handicapping its students with the December 2nd cut-off date.
Other K-12 education legislation of interest that was enacted included SB 205 (Hancock) giving the statutory authority for the CDE and the California School Finance Authority to administer the federal Qualified School Construction bonds audit program; SB 331 (Romero) expanding the scope of a status report that the migrant education State Parent Advisory Council is required to submit; SB 438 (Yee) clarifying that provisions regarding freedom of speech and expressive activities in public schools similarly apply to the state’s charter schools; SB 798 (DeSaulnier) altering the current funding formulas for federal carryover funds for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers to include a specified amount of funding (15%) for summer programs; SB 847 (Steinberg) ensuring that schools receive the $1.2 billion in federal education job fund dollars to school districts to use to rehire teachers, nurses, counselors, librarians, and other school-related personnel; SB 851 (Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee) enacting the 2010 Budget Trailer bill for education; SB 944 (Runner) designating February 6th of each year as Ronald Reagan Day as a day of significance which encourages public schools and educational institution to observe this day and conduct educational exercises remembering his life; SB 1116 (Huff) ensuring pupils have the opportunity to attend heritage schools to supplement their full-time day school curriculum of a foreign language and the culture, traditions or history of a country other than the United States; SB 1256 (Hancock) designating January 23rd of each year as Ed Roberts Day, an advocate for persons with disabilities, as a day of special significance, encouraging schools and educational institutions to observe the day and conduct suitable commemorative exercises remembering his life; SB 1290 (Kehoe) requiring the State Board of Education and the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission to include self-defense instruction, as defined, and safety instruction, as defined, in the next revision of the physical education framework for pupils in grades 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12; SB 1317 (Leno) enacting a new misdemeanor for parents of K-8 children who are chronically truant; SB 1353 (Wright) requiring consideration to be given to specified factors in making educational and school placement decisions for children and youth in foster care; SB 1354 (Hancock) enhancing the California Partnership Academics Program by becoming aligned with the Regional Occupational Center Program; SB 1357 (Steinberg) requiring the CDE to include pupil attendance data on chronic absentees in the Annual Report on Dropouts in California and in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System; AB 184 (Block) continuing the current special education incidence factor formula through the 2011 fiscal year; AB 185 (Buchanan) appropriating $903,840,000 in federal funds for the School Improvement Program and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund; AB 346 (Conway) ensuring that noncertificated candidates are screened for criminal background checks; AB 1374 (Brownley) streamlining the process by which candidates may become adult education teachers; AB 1933 (Brownley) requiring a local educational agency to allow a child in foster care to remain in his/her school of origin for the duration of the court’s jurisdiction; AB 1775 (Furutani) proclaiming January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, as having special significance in public schools and educational institutions; AB 1937 (Fletcher) expanding the individuals who are allowed to administered school immunization; AB 2089 (Coto) extending the sunset date of the American Indian Education Center program until January 1, 2017; AB 2160 (Bass) extending the authorization for teachers with a credential to teach students with mild and moderate disabilities to also serve students with autism spectrum disorder until October 1, 2013; AB 2178 (Torlakson) authorizing the sharing of pupil data between schools and After School Education and Safety programs with which that school contracts; AB 2211 (Fuentes) allowing school districts to provide work-based learning opportunities for pupils through existing specified programs; AB 2444 (Furutani) providing that a pupil who has been granted an interdistrict transfer does not have to reapply for that transfer, and authorizes a school district of residence to rescind existing transfer permits if it receives a qualified or negative fiscal certification; AB 2685 (De La Torre) requiring the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to make available to each private school, a listing of all credential holders who have had final adverse action taken against their credential; and AB 2694 (Blumenfield) revising the definition of “supplementary instructional materials” and authorizing schools to include relevant technology-based materials when adopting instructional materials.
Vetoed K-12 education legislation of significance included SB 515 (Hancock) which would have enhanced students pathways to postsecondary and workforce opportunities; SB 675 (Steinberg) which would have established the Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education, and Dropout Prevention Program; SB 930 (Ducheny) which would have modified California’s public school assessment and accountability system with respect to English learner pupils; SB 1191 (Wiggins) which would have required consideration of the pupil-counselor ratios when the CDE evaluates the Quality Education Investment Act of 2006; SB 1380 (Hancock) which would have added new requirements and conditions to be met by districts that apply for and receive Career Technical Education Facilities Program funding; SB 1432 (Hancock) which would have required local educational entities to certify that new construction projects meet, or can meet special education student facility needs in the future; SB 1444 (Hancock) which would have deferred science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in statute, to provide a framework for structuring such education curriculum and course sequence; SB 1451 (Yee) which would have ensured that the revisions of the Texas Administrative Code’s Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies did not influence the content of California textbooks relative to social studies; AB 391 (Torlakson) which would have required the Superintendent of Public Instruction to contract with an independent evaluator to evaluate the Standardized Testing and Reporting System; AB 572 (Brownley) which would have made charter schools subject to the California Public Records Act, Government Code conflict of interest laws, and the Political Reform Act; AB 1223 (Block) which would have encouraged linked learning classes; AB 1683 (Torres) which would have clarified that state allocations of federal funds to school districts also include county offices of education; AB 1742 (Coto) which would have ensured equal access to technology for all students with special needs, including those attending nonpublic, nonsectarian schools; AB 1954 (Ammiano) which would have required school districts to accept reasonable evidence that a pupil meets residency requirements for school attendance within the district, and would have specified certain types of documents that shall be considered reasonable evidence; AB 1876 (Torlakson) which would have authorized state-funded after school programs to operate on the weekends, within existing grant funds, and give priority for federal after school funds to existing programs that have met specified pupil outcomes; AB 2026 (Arambula) which would have required a test sponsor to accept the Matricula Consular de Alta Seguridad issued by the government of Mexico through one of its consular offices within the last five-years as a valid form of identification for purposes of admitting a test subject to take a standardized test; AB 2040 (Brownley) which would have required the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to convene an advisory panel of stakeholders with expertise in the field of teacher leadership to explore the recognition of leadership roles within the teaching pathway; AB 2083 (Assembly Education Committee) which would have clarified the methodology used in development of the state’s persistently lowest-achieving schools list, as it relates to high schools; AB 2446 (Furutani) which would have added career technical education, as defined, as an option for pupils to fulfill the existing high school graduation requirement to complete a course in visual or performing arts or foreign language; AB 2478 (Mendoza) which would have expanded an existing misdemeanor related to interference or disruption of school activities and punishable by up to six months in the county jail to include any person who willfully or knowingly creates a disruption with the intent to threaten the immediate physical safety of K-8 pupils arriving at, attending or leaving school; and AB 2543 (Lowenthal) which would have established timelines for charter school renewals and appeals.
IV. Higher Education
The 2010-11 State Budget provided $5.5 billion from the General Fund for support of the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems. Funding was above the 2009-10 level and included funding for enrollment growth and an augmentation of approximately $199 million for each segment to backfill previous cuts to the systems.
On November 10, 2010, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a mid-year tuition increase of 5% – or $105 – for 2010-11 that will go into effect on January 1, 2011, for the Winter/Spring terms and a 10% – or $444 – annual increase for the 2011-12 academic year that becomes effective for Fall 2011. Tuition will rise from the current $2,115 to $2,220 for the Spring semester for full-time undergraduate students. Full-time tuition will increase by $444 per academic year for undergraduate students, $516 for credential program participants and $546 for graduate students for Fall 2011. Undergraduate tuition will rise from $4,400 to $4,884 per year. The Trustees indicated that they will request the state funding needed to “buy out” the proposed 2011-12 tuition increase. If approved by the Governor and Legislature, these funds would make it possible for the CSU to rescind the tuition increase.
The UC President on August 8th announced he was going to propose an 8% increase in tuition fees for the UC stating that the increase was needed because state funding continues to be inadequate under the plan, undergraduate fees for California residents would rise to $11,124 a year, or an average of $12,150 when campus-based fees are included, a level that compares favorably to fees charged at public companion institutions, according to the President.
The two university systems indicate that most students’ tuition increases will be covered by financial aid. Those not covered by financial aid would benefit from newly expanded federal tax credits available for family incomes of up to $180,000.
On November 15, 2010, the State Supreme Court, in a unanimous 7-0 decision ruled in Martinez v. U.C. Regents that California public colleges and universities can continue charging in-state tuition to students who have graduated from the state’s high schools but are in the United States illegally. The case examined whether AB 540 (Firebaugh), Chapter 814, Statutes of 2001, violated a federal provision of law saying that states cannot provide illegal immigrants any higher education benefit that is not also given to United States citizens. To qualify, under AB 540, a student must (1) attend a California high school for three or more years; (2) graduate from a California high school or receive the equivalent general education diploma; (3) register or be currently enrolled in a California Community College (CCC), CSU, or a UC; and (4) sign a statement with the college or university stating that he/she will apply for legal residence as soon as he/she is eligible to do so. The State Supreme Court rules that AB 540 does not give illegal immigrants a special benefit because it also applies to United States citizens who go to school in California. Illegal immigrants do not qualify for financial aid at public colleges and university in California. SB 1460 (Cedillo) and AB 2413 (Fuentes) of 2010 would have provided financial aid but was vetoed.
Higher Education legislation of note that was enacted into law included SB 82 (Hancock) increasing the maximum amounts that CCC district governing boards are authorized to charge for transportation services; SB 650 (Yee) revising the Whistleblowers Protection Act to treat complaints by UC employees the same as those by CSU employees; SB 1046 (Cogdill) removing the CSU from the jurisdiction of the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board by allowing CSU to process its own claims; SB 1075 (Correa) requiring academic institutions to reasonably accommodate and assist students who are called to active military duty, so they can meet any and all coursework requirements missed due to military service; SB 1143 (Liu) requiring the CCCs Board of Governors to adopt a plan for promoting and improving CCCs; AB 867 (Nava) authorizing the CSU to establish a three-campus pilot program to independently award a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree; AB 1436 (Portantino) requiring public higher education entities, as specified, to make available on the Internet a live audio broadcast of each of its meeting that is open to the public; AB 1610 (Assembly Budget Committee) enacting the Higher Education Provisions of the 2010 State Budget; AB 1891 (Assembly Higher Education Committee) restoring, in statute, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program operated by the UC, which was inadvertently deleted from statute in 2009; AB 1971 (Lowenthal) extending, by five years, the authority for the UC and the CSU to release the names and addresses of their alumni to businesses with whom they have affinity-partner agreements; AB 2079 (Torlakson) requiring a California postsecondary educational institution that offers athletic scholarships to provide information as specified, on it is Internet Web site; AB 2086 (Coto) requiring specified teacher preparation programs and institutions of higher education that participate in the Cal-Grant Program to provide information on license examination passage rates; AB 2203 (Solorio) ensuring the regulatory of community college course materials to fully comply with articulation agreements with the university system; AB 2297 (Brownley) expanding the options available to a local community college governing board for setting nonresident tuition fees; AB 2382 (Blumenfield) authorizing the CSU to award the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, a distinguished from the doctoral degree programs at the UC; AB 2385 (Johan A. Perez) establishing the Pilot Program for Innovative Nursing and Allied Health Care Profession Education at the CCCs to be administered by the CCC Chancellor’s Office; and AB 2402 (Block) requiring, for purposes of ensuring public notice and transparency that the Trustees of the CSU ensure that changes in the criteria for admission to a university campus comply with specified requirements.
Vetoed Higher Education legislation included SB 330 (Yee) which would have required auxiliary organizations of the UC, the CSU, and the CCCs to comply with the California Public Records Act except in specified instances; SB 957 (Price) which would have required that Cal Grant C awards be prioritized for student seeking training the fields based on specified criteria; AB 1997 (Portantino) which would have required the CCC Chancellor’s Office to establish a voluntary pilot program to increase student participation in state and federal financial aid programs; AB 2047 (Hernandez) which would have authorized the UC and the CSU to consider geographic origin and household income in undergraduate and graduate admissions; AB 2448 (Furutani) which would have authorized a community college district to let any contract for expenditures greater than $50,000 for the purchase of supplies and materials in accordance with “best value at the lowest cost acquisition” policies as adopted by the local governing board, and AB 2682 (Block) which would have required the Board of Governors of the CCCs to establish a pilot project to create a centrally delivered system of student assessment.