Pathways to College Petition

I SUPPORT AB 1951 (O’Donnell), the Pathways to College Act, which addresses the college diploma gap by opening doors to higher education for students and parents through the offering of college entrance tests like the SAT or ACT during the school day at no cost to students. Specifically, AB 1951 gives school districts the choice to administer a college admissions test to their 11th graders in lieu of the state assessment.

A growing body of evidence shows that offering a college entrance exam, like the SAT or ACT, at no cost to students during the school day propels more students into college. If more students are able to take a college admissions test, more underrepresented students can be connected directly to scholarships, free, personalized test practice tools, and college application fee waivers—removing their historic barriers to higher education.

This bill results in leveling the playing field because the SAT and ACT offer free, personalized test practice and other resources to students of all means, no matter where they’re from or how much their parents make. This bill also ensures that students with exceptional needs are appropriately accommodated.  Equally important, AB 1951 requires English learners to be provided appropriate accommodations, including access to testing instructions in their primary language, bilingual glossaries and extended testing time.

Consistent with one of the primary tenets of the Local Control Funding Formula, AB 1951 gives local school districts more control over how students are tested in grade 11 by allowing districts to choose the test that provides the most benefits to their students. The value of this choice has been recognized by the federal government, which now gives states the opportunity to help address the diploma gap by giving all students easier access to college admissions tests.

The local flexibility provided by AB 1951 makes sense for school districts by creating choices that are more meaningful to students and their higher education goals.

For these reasons, I strongly SUPPORT AB 1951.