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Keeping Up With California Education Legislation

by Michael Higham, published

California Education Legislation on Progress Report

California lawmakers have been cranking out new bills for the past few months. The legislature is increasingly active in the state of education ranging from K-12 testing and accountability, to the expansion of online courses in colleges. Highlighted are five current pieces of California education legislation that could have large impacts on student life:

Legislation: Senate Bill 69: New K-12 Funding Formula

Lead Author: Sen. Carol Liu

What It Does: Governor Jerry Brown has made countless headlines with his proposed K-12 funding formula. It would put larger portions of the education budget into school districts with higher levels of low-income and English-learning students. SB 69 is a similar, but alternate proposal. It would still provide increased funding for disadvantaged districts, but not as much as Brown proposes. The bill brings funding for affluent and disadvantaged districts closer together. Some affluent districts have felt short-changed by Brown's proposal.

Legislation: Senate Bill 520: Online Course Expansion with Public-Private Partnerships

Lead Author: Sen. Darrell Steinberg

What It Does: SB 520 would establish online courses for 50 highest enrolled introductory courses at universities and community colleges. The online classes would be administered by private online systems such as Udacity and edX. The bill attempts to address overcrowded classes and long waitlists for students by offering an accredited online alternative.

Legislation: Senate Bill 594: Career Technical Expansion Through Bonds

Lead Author: Sen. Darrell Steinberg

What It Does: SB 594 can be seen as California's push for more STEM education. The bill creates a system of bonds that can be issued to businesses to create career technical programs at K-12 schools and community colleges. Developing a skilled workforce is an issue for the state and the nation.

Legislation: Assembly Bill 955: Intersession Course Offering at Higher Costs

Lead Author: Asm. Das Williams

What It Does: AB 955 would allow community colleges to charge tuition at higher rates to bring back Summer and Winter session classes for high-demand courses. The higher tuition would cover all the costs of holding these classes.

Legislation: Assembly Bill 484: Academic Performance Measurement

Lead Author: Asm. Susan Bonilla

What It Does: AB 484 would suspend the K-12 STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) system and establish a new standardized testing system aligned with Common Core Standards beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.

Let us know, either through comments or direct messages, if we missed any important pieces of California education legislation deserving of highlight. All bills can be searched and read online here.

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