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    School's Back In Session: Education Bills to Watch in 2013

    While most schools in California are getting ready for their annual spring break, Sacramento is busy discussing bills that could shape the future of education in the state. Legislators have introduced more than 500 bills that focus on education and schools and VICA is tracking the bills of particular interest and importance to our members and the business community. Here are five bills that could drastically change the next school years to come:

     

    SB 5 (Padilla) - Teaching Credentials

    Since 1970, California has mandated that aspiring teachers earn a bachelor’s degree in a specific subject, and then take a one-year graduate level program to qualify for a teaching credential. State law currently prohibits a bachelor’s degree in education from being used as a qualification for a teaching credential and also limits the graduate level programs to one-year.

    SB 5 would allow undergraduates to qualify for a teaching credential by earning a bachelor’s degree in education. The bill would also allow graduate level teaching programs to expand from one to two years.

     

    AB 67 (Gorell) - Tuition Freeze

    In November, California voters approved Proposition 30, a statewide tax increase that is expected to generate $50 billion in new revenue over seven years, with a portion going toward higher education. While there is a provision in the measure to ensure this new revenue flows directly to schools, there is no provision guaranteeing that there will be funding increases for California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) campuses. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst recently forecast that funding for the UC and CSU systems will remain relatively flat over the next five fiscal years, even with the $50 billion in new revenue anticipated from the passage of Prop 30.

    This bill, along with SB 58 (Cannella), will require that there be no mandatory tuition and fee increases for CSU and UC campuses from the rates set in the 2011-12 academic year. This tuition freeze would last seven years, the same amount of time the Prop 30 tax increases are in effect.

     

    SB 594 (Steinberg) - Dropout Reduction and Workforce Development Bond

    High school dropout rates are always an area of concern because a strong business community relies on an educated, skilled workforce.

    SB 594 intends to address this problem by creating a more career-oriented curriculum and training for California students by enhancing the connections between schools and industry. The proposed business-school partnerships, would provide students with opportunities for career training leading toward middle-class job opportunities.

    SB 594 would provide three new tools to finance the development of career pathways through these public-private partnerships. Programs serving economically disadvantaged students in school districts with high dropout rates would be given priority for funding.

     

    SB 39 (De Leon) - Clean Energy Employment and Student Advancement Act

    California’s school system is the largest in the country - one in every eight students in the K-12 system nationwide goes to school in California. With this large population of students comes a $700 million annual energy bill.

    Proposition 39, passed last year, will dedicate half of its revenues to job-creating energy efficiency and clean energy programs and the other half to California schools. SB 39, along with AB 39 (Skinner), intend to shape the implementation of Prop 39 revenues and use the money to retrofit California’s schools in order to save on annual energy costs.

    SB 39 would award energy efficiency upgrade grants to the most economically disadvantaged school communities in need of modernization to create long-term cost savings for schools. This bill intends to maximize clean energy job creation, in order to bring jobs to California and lower our carbon footprint.

     

    AB 386 (Levine) - Online Education

    Online classrooms have become a prominent form of receiving education in the last few years. Currently, all 23 CSU campuses run online programs through their school.

    AB 386 would integrate registration procedures at all CSU campuses, in order to allow students to enroll in online courses that may not be available through their home campus. This bill would combine the online resources from all campuses  across the state and make these resources available for any CSU student, regardless of the campus to which they pay tuition.

    This bill was followed by AB 387 (Levine), which also pertains to online learning, and would create the means to measure the performance and quality of online courses. This bill would impose two-year reporting requirements on the CSU Board of Trustees, until 2019, to measure the performance of online courses. This bill would also require that at least 10 percent of new course offerings at CSU campuses be online classes.

    For more information about this legislation and other education projects affecting you as a San Fernando Valley stakeholder, click here to receive notices about VICA’s Education Committee.

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