News

Monday, October 7, 2019

California voters will have a chance to approve $15 billion in bond funding to renovate aging school buildings in the state’s March primary under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Monday.

The measure designates $9 billion for preschool through high school, $2 billion for community colleges, $2 billion for the University of California and $2 billion for California State University.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Thursday a comprehensive rewrite of the charter school law that will expand the authority of local school boards to reject new charter schools while requiring that they more clearly justify their reasons for doing so.

Newsom’s staff negotiated the revisions during weeks of tense discussions with organizations that for years have been battling over the growth of charter schools in California. But at the signing ceremony for Assembly Bill 1505, the leaders of the two main antagonists, the California Teachers Association and the California Charter Schools Association, stood side by side next to him, smiled appreciatively and thanked the governor for a compromise that contains elements they like.

Friday, September 6, 2019

By Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell

It’s back to school time. As a parent, teacher, and your representative in Sacramento, I am committed to ensuring that we invest in our children’s success, which results in a better California. I serve as the Chair of the Assembly Education Committee and am well positioned to ensure that Long Beach and surrounding areas have a voice in how state education policy is shaped while addressing the issues I hear from parents and employers in the Assembly District.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Times Editorial Board’s opposition to Assembly Bill 1951, which would allow school districts to swap the state proficiency exams for 11th graders for the SAT or ACT test instead, is misguided. This bill, currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, is an opportunity for California to give greater control to local school districts and for students of all backgrounds to have a better chance at succeeding on the SAT, an exam already used by many colleges to help determine readiness for admissions.

Earlier this month, the editorial board opposed legislation that would have forced school districts to delay start times until after 8:30 a.m. In that instance, the board felt that local control trumped Sacramento’s wish to dictate the “minutiae” of school operations. Brown wisely concurred by vetoing that legislation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

For too many California families, the college application process is expensive and hard to navigate. Fortunately, there’s a solution that would propel more students to be eligible for college admissions.

Giving local school districts the power to choose how students are tested in grade 11 would improve access to college for students of every zip code, ability, and language proficiency level.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Among the torrent of legislation California lawmakers approved this week are bills mandating school safety plans and classroom door locks and a bill allowing school personnel to file a gun violence restraining order. They are now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature — or veto.

None are high-profile items like the bills calling for armed officers in every school and a vast increase in the number of mental health practitioners in schools, which were proposed after the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The armed officer bill died in the Assembly and the Legislature passed a drastically scaled-back version of the mental health bill.

Friday, August 17, 2018

California often leads the nation in innovation, including in our public schools. But in the key area of high school testing, several other states have progressed beyond California when it comes to making these assessments more relevant and meaningful to students and their families.

In support of college readiness, states like Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine and Michigan have received the federal government’s blessing to administer the SAT as part of their state-adopted assessment program. More and more states like these are exercising greater local control when it comes to assessing students in grade 11, and importantly, they are doing so while respecting the needs of special education students and English language learners.