CUE Policy and Legislation Update
Legislative Update for CUE Members - January 2017 | more leg updates
Prepared by John Cradler, CUE Legislative Policy Consultant
State Education Budget Proposal for 2017-18
On January 10th, the Governor released his proposed State Budget. This budget is submitted to the State Legislature for review and possible amendments. On May 15, a revised budget is released to the Legislature and again reviewed and amended as needed, with a final budget presented to the Governor in July 2017. The Governor then will sign a final budget which may or may not include all recommended amendments. Go to http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/FullBudgetSummary.pdf for State budget details. CUE will provide State Budget updates as changes emerge over the next few months.
Cost-of-living overall increase: Citing recent revenue declines and uncertainty about the future, Gov. Jerry Brown has lowered funding for schools by $500 million in the current year and is proposing little more than a cost-of-living increase in the 2017-18 budget.
Proposition 55: Brown said that his administration would not issue any of the $7 billion bonds for K-12 school facilities that voters approved in November with Proposition 55 until the Legislature established better auditing procedures to document how the money will be spent. In November, voters approved extending the increase on income tax rates for the state’s top 2 percent of earners. Proposition 55, which was supported by CUE, will not fully take effect until 2018-19 and will not affect next year’s budget.
Proposition 98: Declining revenues lowered the minimum spending guarantee under the Proposition 98 funding formula by $1.8 billion over three years. The projected increase in 2017-18 would be only 2.1 percent above what the Legislature approved in June for K-12 schools and community colleges. The minimum spending guarantee under the Proposition 98 funding formula would drop by $500 million to $71.4 billion for this year and would rise next year to $73.5 billion. Districts would not have to cut their budgets this year. However, they would receive the amount anticipated a month late at the start of next year, in July.
Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF): Brown has made it his priority to fund the transition to the LCFF that provides extra money for high-needs students, including low-income students and English learners. The state is still on target to reach full funding in 2020-21. That’s the point at which every district will receive at least the inflation-adjusted, pre-recession funding it received in 2007-08. Many districts with large percentages of high-needs students already are funded well above that level. But for next year, funding will remain where it is this year, at 96 percent of full funding. As has been discussed in prior updates and OnCUE articles, LCFF would be the major source of funding for educational technology which means that districts would need to incorporate technology applications and hardware into their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP).
Assembly/Senate Joint Resolution to sustain Net Neutrality
CUE representatives, John Cradler and John Fleischman, proposed a resolution to be potentially adopted by the California Legislature that would support establishing net neutrality as a State priority followed by legislation to maintain net neutrality as a California initiative. Assembly Member and Speaker Pro-Tem, Kevin Mullin offered to take this on and be a sponsor of such a resolution and work with us on its development. He felt this was very important since President Trump intends to repeal the FCC version of Net Neutrality and appoint new Commissioners.
Early in December, Assembly Member Mullin decided to introduce the California net neutrality Resolution but to add language related to providing access to unserved or underserved homes. We will be working with Mullin’s staff in Sacramento on the language of the resolution and next steps during January and Februrary 2017. The resolution will need to be presented to, and voted on, by the California Assembly and Senate during the current legislative session.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel nominated for CUE Advocacy Award:
The CUE Advocacy was unanimous and the Board approved Rosenworcel, recently nominated by John Cradler, to receive the award. Recently she agreed to attend the CUE Conference in Palm Springs to receive her well-deserved award. Commissioner Rosenworcel’s accomplishments at the Federal level clearly support the CUE Platform item number 14, Support of Underserved Areas: “CUE fully supports the creation and maintenance of equitable access to technology and technology applications for all students, teachers, and administrators in California, including those in rural and other underserved areas. It is the position of CUE that access to technology and technology applications should be the same for all learners in our state, regardless of geographic location or economic status. Equity of quality and service must be maintained.”
As mentioned in the last update, Commissioner Rosenworcel urged the FCC to free up more of our airwaves for unlicensed spectrum use making additional Wi-Fi connectivity possible in more places which would help bring more broadband to low-income households with school-aged children. Rosenworcel has been a leading champion of updating national education technology policies in order to wire the country’s schools and libraries with broadband. She is responsible for popularizing the term “Homework gap” and has brought attention to the need of students to get online when they are outside of school. On March 31, the FCC voted 3-to-2 to expand the Lifeline program, which currently subsidizes telephone access for low-income Americans. Commissioner Rosenworcel was one of three of the five FCC Commissioners to vote “yes” on the expansion. She is also a major proponent of Net Neutrality. Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate did not approve her continuation as an FCC Commissioner. It is reported that this was due to political pressure from President-Elect Trump. Additionally, Trump has stated that he would reverse many of the FCC rulings to include net neutrality.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Update
As described in the last Updates and in OnCUE, ESSA was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 10, 2015, and goes into full effect in the 2017–18 school year. The ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s federal education law, and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
As part of California’s transition to ESSA, California must submit an ESSA State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The California ESSA funding will be part of a single coherent local, state, and Federal accountability and continuous improvement system that is aligned with and supportive of California’s priorities. The State plan for the Local Control Funding Formula and related Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and ESSA will be combined into a single plan. This plan will provide the details on how districts will develop plans for their use of the funding.
Possible Trump-related change in ESSA: The Federal education budget proposed by the Obama administration is still being reviewed by Congress. Changes to the way spending on schools must be reported under the Every Student Succeeds Act—along with a dramatic political fight in Washington about proper use of federal money in schools—are part of the picture as schools prepare for the new environment under ESSA come the 2017-18 school year. However due to language within ESSA, Trump’s new education secretary will have a restricted role. For details on how Trump could impact ESSA go to: http://understandingessa.org/what-will-trumps-administration-look-like-for-education/
With the election of Donald Trump to the presidency and Republicans' continued control of Congress for at least the next two years, the prospects for increased education funding are not clear at this time. Also, the priorities for the use of ESSA funding may change due to rumors that the new Secretary of Education along with the President, are suggesting that States allocate a portion of the ESSA funding to support charter and/or education vouchers. For additional details and updates about the ESSA go to the CDE Website at: www.cde.ca.gov/essa. You can receive updates by joining the ESSA listserv. To subscribe, send a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Trump’s Education Agenda
As discussed in the last update, the future of education–especially at the National level is uncertain at this time as indicated by the following quotes by Mr. Trump. Trump states that,” if we don't eliminate the U.S. Department of Education completely, we certainly need to cut its power and reach. Education has to be run locally. Common Core, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top are all programs that take decisions away from parents and local school boards. These programs allow the progressives in the Department of Education to indoctrinate, not educate, our kids.”
Trump states that students should be able to attend a magnet school, a charter school, or a public or a private school. He says that American schools are no better than those in a developing country, and Common Core standards are a “disaster.” Mr. Trump said the $20 billion in Title I grants for poor students would come from existing federal spending. Rather than sending federal education dollars to schools, as the existing system does, Mr. Trump proposed giving block grants to states, which would have the option of letting the dollars follow students to whichever school they choose, including a charter, private or online school.
Trump's positions are clearly supported and stated in the education approach advocated by Betsy DeVos, recommended by Trump to be the next Secretary of Education. In general she would like to privatize education through the use of vouchers and charter schools. A recent EdSource article states: “Her single-minded focus on finding alternatives to public education – largely in the form of taxpayer-supported vouchers and other ways to underwrite tuition for private schools – is unmatched by any other previous occupant of the post.” https://edsource.org/2017/devos-sets-precedent-as-secretary-of-education-without-strong-commitment-to-public-schools/574836?utm_source=Jan.+6+digest+-+John&utm_campaign=Daily+email&utm_medium=email
ISTE and other National Education Groups to address the Trump education agenda
Education Associations will participate in Inugaration event in Washington DC, sponsored by the National Coalition for Technology Education and Training (NCTET). CUE representatives Ray Chavez, Mike Lawrence, and John Cradler will be in attendance as it provides an opportunity to meet with representatives and advocates for national associations, including ISTE, CoSN, NCTET, NEA, NSBA, CCSSO, and others. The objective is to discuss possible actions to take at the National, State, and local levels to sustain and possibly improve education and technology related programs, policies, and legislation over the next four years.
State Legislative Update:
Proposed legislation: Internet for all Now Act: Proposed legislation being developed by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF): The bill would focus on broadband adoption for the most disadvantaged residents to achieve 90% access by 2023. Following are some of the major purposes of this bill:
- Requires the CPUC to identify priority unserved areas to achieve Legislature’s goal of 98% deployment in each region and set objectives for timely decisions.
- Maintains funding priority for last-mile unserved households and allows improvements in underserved areas only if adjacent to unserved areas.
- Ensures most disadvantaged residents living in publicly-subsidized housing will be online and able to participate in the Digital Economy to get out of poverty.
- Allocates $150M to Office of Emergency Services to connect county and state fair sites with command centers for emergency response.
CUE supports this bill which is now being introduced. CETF is organizing opportunities for persons supporting this bill to provide testimony and support letters. CUE has already signed on to support this legislation and intends to meet with legislators to support the bill.
Collaboration with Education Associations: As discussed in the last update and in a prior OnCUE article, CUE took a leadership role in the establishment of a State-level Educational Technology Alliance. The fourth meeting held on February 1, 2017 will address the following topics:
- Continue to review and agree on policy statements submitted by members
- Continue planning for an informational hearing at the State Capitol for legislators
- Discuss the Governor’s proposed State Education Budget
- Address potential changes suggested by the Trump agenda.
- Other items to be determined.
It is anticipated that the Alliance members will help to support the net-neutrality resolution and legislation discussed as well as other initiatives supported by CUE.
California Launches a New Accountability System
In addition to increasing funding and fundamentally restructuring the distribution of funds to school districts, the LCFF substantially changed the system of school accountability. The new system shifted from a state‐controlled system focused on compliance to a locally controlled system emphasizing local accountability and improved student outcomes. In the new system, each school district, county office of education, and charter school develops and adopts a Local Control and Accountability Plan and Annual Update. These plans identify local goals for all students in eight state priorities and describe planned actions, services and expenditures to achieve those goals.
The new school accountability system—using multiple measures of student success —provides a more complete picture of how schools are meeting the needs of California’s diverse student population than a single test score. The initial phase of the new accountability tool recently adopted by the State Board of Education includes a concise set of state and local performance measures that address the state priorities under the Local Control Funding Formula. The new accountability tool promotes equity by highlighting any disparities among student groups, furthering the state’s commitment to the highest need students and closing achievement gaps.
An important part of the new accountability system is a web‐based tool developed by the California State Board of Education that will help identify strengths and areas in need of improvement. County offices of education, the state Department of Education and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence will provide technical assistance and intervention for school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools identified as needing additional support. County offices of education will continue to play a critical role within California’s emerging system of support for schools, often serving as the best line of assistance within this new structure. The State Board will further refine the accountability tool and develop a new state plan for use of federal funds in the coming months. The State Board will also continue to renew and develop the system of continuous improvement that provides assistance for struggling districts and schools.
Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin to run for California Governor: Delaine Eastin recently announced that she is a candidate for Governor. Delaine was a strong advocate for the infusion of technology into teaching and learning. When State Superintendent, she convened a committee that developed an Educational Technology Master Plan known as Connect, Compute, and Compete (1996) which informed legislation and educational technology policy at that time. She was a four-term member of the State Assembly, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, and co-authored legislation that established the California Technology Assistance Projects (CTAP), Model Technology Schools, and School Based Educational Technology Grants. Delaine, has been a keynote speaker at CUE and is currently actively involved in supporting the School2Home project supported by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF).
CUE Advocacy Strategy: The focus on advocacy is to influence implementation of existing programs to include collaboration with other education associations, to be proactive in the development of State legislation, provide policy advice on the development of new State and Federal Education initiatives, and continue to monitor and take positions on current and emerging legislation and initiatives relevant to the CUE Advocacy Platform. As opportunities arise, CUE will continue to be proactive in the development, co-development, and sponsoring of state and Federal legislation and resolutions. The CUE Advocacy Committee meets monthly to take positions on relevant bills and other related actions suggested by the CUE Legislation Consultants and the Committee members.