Legislation Update - 08/21/2011

SB 532 (Hernandez)

As you know, right before the Legislature adjourned SB 532 got out of the Assembly Education committee with a vote of 10 to 0 and is it has been placed on the Assembly floor’s consent calendar. This means that if the consent calendar is adopted by the Assembly members on August 15, SB 532 will move into concurrence. Because our bill was amended in the Assembly, the Senate will have to concur with the proposed amendments. We anticipate full support from the Senators and I would say it is highly likely to expect SB 532 to go to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

I will keep you apprised of further developments. While we do not anticipate opposition from the Governor’s office, it is very important for us to reach out to him and ask for his support and to sign SB 532 into law.

Among other things, SB 532 would:

  • require the State Superintendent to annually update information regarding IB programs on the CDE’s website and would require the State Superintendent to provide support to high schools that offer IB programs to facilitate communication with the Academic Senate of California’s higher education institutions about the rigor of those courses and to ensure that college credit is given to pupils who participate so they benefit from successful efforts in IB programs.
  • encourage the Academic Senates to continue their efforts to adopt consistent system wide guidelines for the acceptance and granting of credit for IB courses.

Senator Hernandez has agreed to continue helping us with the Academic Senates so that a policy is developed and adopted as soon as possible for the acceptance and granting of credit for International Baccalaureate Diploma Program courses taken by students while they are in high school. To start this effort, he is willing to send a letter to the Academic Senates articulating the problem and our request. Senators Hancock and Price have also expressed willingness to help us on this issue. We have also asked Senator Hernandez to help us reach out to the community colleges chancellor, Jack Scott. A letter from Jack Scott to the Academic Senates would reinforce that this issue is a priority. Once SB 532 is signed into law, this letter will be drafted.

Legislature Returns for Final Month of 2011 Session

On August 15, the State Legislature will return from summer recess to take final action on hundreds of bills that remain active in this legislative session. To be enacted this year, a bill must be approved by the Legislature by September 9. At that point the Governor will have thirty days to approve or veto the bills sent to him by the Legislature. So by mid-October we will know if major new legislation is enacted on several major issues.

Several bills of concerning issues have continued to move through the legislative process and will be subject to final action this fall. These bills would drastically change several education policy areas, such as instructional materials, common core implementation, school accountability, student fees, charter school accountability, and teacher evaluation, and have generally been moving through the process with partisan votes—Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing. If this trend continues, it appears most of these bills will reach the Governor’s desk and the question will be what action Governor Brown will take on these measures in September and early October.

Torlakson Transition Team Releases “A Blueprint for Great Schools”

This week State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released the recommendations of the Transition Advisory Team that he formed after taking office. Many of the recommendations will be of substantial interest to California educators. The report includes proposals to “rethink” the design of the California High School Exit Exam, to recreate a professional development infrastructure for the state, and to create a weighted student formula for state funding. Many of the recommendations will require collaboration with or approval by the State Board of Education or the State Legislature and Governor. Nonetheless, the report highlights the priorities and proposals of the new State Superintendent and will help shape the California education agenda. To view the report, please go to: http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/bp/bpcontents.asp

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