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Change of Focus for Advocacy

July 15, 2016

Legislative Update for CUE Members - July 2016 | more leg updates

Prepared by John Cradler, CUE Legislative Policy Consultant


Change of Focus for Advocacy


In the past, legislative advocacy at both the State and Federal level focused mostly on emerging and new bills specifically related to access to and use of technology in support of teaching and learning. However, over the last 5 years there has been a trend towards block granting or combining funding from categorical programs and then distributing the combined funds to States and to districts based on a formula. For example, initiatives such as CTAP, CLRN, and School Based Educational Technology Grants and about 40 others at the State level, were eliminated with funding being distributed as part of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). At the Federal level programs such as Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT), and 50 other categorical programs were eliminated with the funding consolidated to become part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The consistent message from the Governor and the White House is to move away from categorical programs, deregulate education programs, and to promote local level decision-making.


A limited number of bills are still being introduced which tend to be directly focused on supporting the planning and implementation of LCFF, ESSA, and the related new accountability systems. With this shift to local control of funds, there are many new policies and procedures needed to be established by the U.S. Department of Education and the California State Department of Education regarding how to prioritize, plan, implement, and evaluate the impact of the new Block Grant funding. For these reasons, it has become necessary to shift advocacy effort to working directly with Federal and State Departments of Education to help shape new guidelines, which include priority setting, planning procedures, ways to ensure local input to decisions, documentation of how funds are used. CUE and ISTE are now and should continue to be proactively involved in shaping the implementation of LCFF and ESSA.


2016-17 State Education Budget


The $115.4 billion state budget that Gov. Jerry Brown signed on June 24 and took effect July 1. The Budget included record high spending for K-12 schools and community colleges. The Budget includes total funding of $88.3 billion ($51.6 billion General Fund and $36.7 billion other funds) for all K12 education programs. The Budget provides a $5.9 billion increased investment in K14 education. since 201112. In spite of this increase California Education funding falls behind most states as emphasized in a recent quote from Delaine Easton, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction stated that, “despite being one of the most expensive states to live in, California is near the bottom in per-pupil spending.”  This is primarily because of the passage of Proposition 13 in 1998 in addition to cuts made by previous Governors.


Because of Proposition 13, the average California real-estate tax rate is still 60 percent lower than when the law passed in 1978, according to the State Board of Equalization. Since Proposition 13 became law, California has slid from 7th place among states to 27th place in spending per pupil, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as the law constricted the biggest traditional source of education money. Legislation to repeal Proposition 13 has been introduced several times without success.  The Jarvis Taxpayers Association, that sponsored Proposition 13, claims that any attempt to weaken Proposition 13 is doomed to fail, as opposition is driven by a “fringe element” of public-employee unions with limited support.


Following are some of the key dollar amounts, including funding for new programs, for 2016-17:


• Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)—An increase of more than $2.9 billion Proposition 98 General Fund to continue the State’s landmark transition to the LCFF. The LCFF is the primary mechanism for distributing funding to support all students attending K12 public schools in California. 


• College Readiness Block Grant—An increase of $200 million onetime Proposition 98 General Fund for grants to school districts and charter schools serving high school students to provide additional services that support access and successful transition to higher education. 


• Teacher Workforce—A combined increase of $35 million onetime General Fund ($10 million nonProposition 98 and $25 million Proposition 98) to fund programs aimed at recruiting additional teachers and streamlining teacher preparation programs.


• California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE)—An increase of $24 million onetime Proposition 98 General Fund for the CCEE to: (1) support statewide professional development training on use of the evaluation rubrics by local educational agencies, and (2) implement a pilot program to inform the Collaborative’s longterm efforts related to advising and assisting local educational agencies in improving pupil outcomes. This funding will build local and state capacity to implement a system of continuous improvement in the eight LCFF priority areas.


• MultiTiered Systems of Support—An increase of $20 million onetime Proposition 98 General Fund allowing local educational agencies to provide services to assist and encourage multitiered support systems. These services support academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs and have been successful in improving outcomes for all students.


• Online Effective Practices Clearinghouse for Community Colleges: The Budget includes $5 million Proposition 98 General Fund to support the creation of zerotextbookcost degrees, and credentials and articulates the expectation that community college districts make them available through an online clearinghouse of effective practices to encourage their adoption across all community college campuses.


• Online Courses for Community Colleges: An increase of $20 million onetime Proposition 98 General Fund to expedite and enhance the adaptation and development of online courses that will be available through the online course exchange.


• K-12 High Speed Network (HSN): Funding for K-12 HSN at $4.5 million, which is less than the $50 million allocated for 2015-16. The budget language does not specify the use of this funding within the context of K-12 HSN.


• Additional funding for Rubric Development and School Accountability Report Card (SARC), which is an opportunity to include the use of technology within the emerging SARC topics.


The 70-page CA State Budget can be accessed at: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/FullBudgetSummary.pdf


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Update


The 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).


ESSA State Plan required: As part of California’s transition to ESSA, California must submit an ESSA State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The State Plan will describe the State’s implementation of standards, assessment, accountability, and school support and improvement activities,

State plans must be developed in consultation with stakeholders. The plans are submitted to the ED and undergo a peer review process determined by the ED Secretary of Education. The best source for monitoring the CDE progress in developing the State ESSA plan is to follow the progress of the State Board of Education (SBE) where details are reported with the agenda for each SBE meeting. ESSA is a major topic now and in the near future for each SBE meeting. http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/


CUE provided input to ED: A representative for CUE, John Cradler, along with Craig Thibaudeau, ISTE Chief External Relations Officer and John Bernstein, ISTE Lobbyist along with national representatives of NSBA, CoSN, NEA, Libraries, and others provided input to the ED Director of Educational Technology regarding the “guidance” that ED should provided to States on how to develop their State ESSA Plans. After reviewing the topics to be addressed, I prepared specific responses to four questions and presented to at the meeting. Question were: 1) Are there aspects of the state’s role that would be helpful to explain? 2) The Department plans to offer definitions for the following: digital learning, personalized learning, blended learning and openly-licensed education resources, 3) The Department plans to provide light guidance on the role of  “needs assessments” and “evidence-based practices, and 4) Are there additional areas in Title IVA for which guidance would be particularly useful and/or areas to highlight.


A number of competitive and non-competitive grant opportunities are outlined in ESSA, as are a variety of options for state and local uses of funds. For an in-depth analysis of the fiscal implications of ESSA, please see the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) document, “Summary of Significant Spending and Fiscal Rules in the ESSA,” available on the CCSSO Resources Web page at http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Publications/Summary_of_Significant_Spending_and_Fiscal_Rules_in_the_Every_Student_Succeeds_Act.html.


CUE provides input to the CA ESSA Plan: CUE, as well as other state professional associations were asked to provide input to the CDE on development of the State ESSA plan. CUE, ACSA, CETPA, and TICAL provided a joint letter to Tom Torlakson, SPI, and to Mike Kirst, State Board of Education (SBE) President, with specific suggestions for the CA ESSA plan to include: . . . “the State ESSA plan should incorporate suggested uses of technology within each component of the ESSA plan. It is also suggested that the State ESSA plan should provide guidance on how ESSA will be linked to the LCFF and related LCAP or to combine the LCAP and ESSA into a single district consolidated plan. In addition, the State should provide guidance on effective ways to integrate technology into ESSA district-level planning as well as a process for documenting the impact and benefits made possible by the use of ESSA funding”


The SBE recently prepared a timeline for the implementation of ESSA in conjunction with LCFF and the related LCAP implementation as summarized in the following chart:



Proposed Transition to ESSA Requirements

Proposed Development of LCFF Evaluation Rubrics

January 2016

Solicit applications for the California Practitioners Advisory Group (CPAG). Anticipate U.S. Department of Education (ED) guidance with intent to publish regulations within six months. Public hearing on ESSA.

Present example of quality standards and expectations for improvement using graduation rate as the example.

March 2016

The State Board of Education (SBE) Screening Committee makes recommendations for appointments to the CPAG.

Present t0SBE final design features of the evaluation rubrics based on User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and feedback.


California Department of Education (CDE) solicits input from stakeholders on considerations for the ESSA State Plan.


Present the SBE with update on use and evaluation of the rubrics prototype


CDE drafts plans to conform to rules and regulations and continues to solicit input from stakeholders.

Proposed concepts for integrating federal requirements with state accountability.

Finalize evaluation rubrics based on guidance from the SBE, feedback from local educational agencies (LEAs), county offices of education (COEs), and, input from stakeholders.


CDE revises early draft of ESSA State Plan based on stakeholder input.

Final Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Evaluation Rubrics for SBE Adoption.


Draft ESSA State Plan presented to SBE for review.




ESSA State Plan presented to SBE for approval at January meeting.  CDE then submits approved ESSA State Plan to ED; ED has up to 120 days to review ESSA State Plan.



Accepted ESSA State Plan is published.


 New Accountability System begins August 2017


LCAP Update:


LCAP Problems: At a Senate hearing in February, State Board of Education President Michael Kirst acknowledged the wide variation among districts in meeting the template and spending regulations and the need to clarify what’s required in the LCAP. Kirst stated that the challenge of LCAP regulations is to strike the balance between holding districts accountable for improved outcomes for students and being too prescriptive in telling districts how to do that. Many districts’ LCAPs have already grown to hundreds of pages, partly in response to revisions required under the current template.


A recent review of LCAPs in the Bay Area has shown little or no inclusion of technology to support instruction. Also, surveys and site visits conducted by Educational Support Systems found that most educators were not aware of ways to build technology into LCAP plans or even how to provide input to LCAP plan development. A statewide review of LCAPs found that it is often difficult, if not impossible, to find out how much some districts are spending on high-needs students; to track the expenditures over time; and to find a justification or rationale for districts’ spending decisions. Many districts were using LCFF funding to supplant rather than supplement existing funding. For more details go to: https://west.edtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/11/ETW-April-2016-Report-Puzzling-Plans-and-Budgets-Final.pdf


LCAP Proposed Solutions: Increasing accountability for the LCAP to determine the extent to which districts are addressing LCAP’s eight priorities should cause districts to take the Plans more seriously and monitor and report on use and potential impact of the LCAP. The SBE is developing a set of “evaluation rubrics” that will guide districts and county offices of education in identifying deficient areas in an LCAP. The Board’s deadline for adopting the evaluation rubrics is Oct. 1, 2016. The Legislative Analysis’s Office is recommending a tighter focus for the LCAP as follows: 1) require districts to distinguish between ongoing and new LCFF funded actions, 2) clarify metrics used to document LCAP implementation, 3) require the CDE to publicize model LCAP’s, 4) describe how LCAP documents uses of funds serve English learners and low-income children, the chief beneficiaries of the LCFF.


Related Action Item for CUE: It is suggested that when CUE conducts its membership survey that questions be included relating to the use of technology, online learning, and technology related professional development incorporated into the LCAP. Also, questions about educator awareness and opportunity to have input to the LCAP should be asked. Keep in mind that LCFF is about the only available funding source for educational technology. Also, it is suggested that CUE provide guidance and examples to members on how incorporate technology into their local LCAP.  The guidance and examples should focus on the 8 LCAP priorities grouped into the three major focus areas for ESSA which are: 1) Conditions for Learning, 2) Pupil Outcomes, and 3) Student Engagement.


1. Conditions of learning: Basic school conditions (LCAP priority 1), including the assignment of fully credentialed teachers to appropriate courses, access to standards-aligned textbooks and materials, and safe and clean facilities. Implementation of state standards (LCAP priority 2), including the Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards for all students, and implementation of the new English Language Development Standards for English learners. Access to a broad course of study, including courses required for high school graduation (LCAP priority 7): Measures may include availability of courses required for admittance to a four-year state university and career-technical education programs.


2. Pupil outcomes: Student achievement (LCAP priority 4) as measured by performance on standardized tests; the percentage of English learners who are reclassified as fluent in English; the share of high school students who pass Advanced Placement course exams with a score of at least a 3 out of 5; the portion of students deemed college-ready on the Early Assessment Program, and other measures of college and career preparation. Other student outcomes (LCAP Priority 8) as measured by performance in other required areas of study, including student portfolios and other forms of assessments, such as the SAT or ACT college entrance exams.


3. Student Engagement: Student engagement (LCAP priority 5) as measured by graduation and middle and high school dropout rates, chronic absenteeism and attendance. Parent involvement (LCAP priority 3) as measured by efforts to solicit parents’ participation in school-site decisions. School climate (LCAP priority 6) as measured by suspension and expulsion rates, and other local measures such as surveys of students, parents and teachers to measure a sense of safety and feelings of being connected to the school.


Parent Engagement with LCAP Planning: The legislation and the SBE have added requirements for reaching out to parents, students and community members during the LCAP development process. After the LCAP is written, the district superintendent must present it to a District Parent Advisory Committee – a majority of whose members are parents and guardians, including parents of students who are from low-income families. The superintendent must also present it to an English Learner Parent Advisory Committee if English learners constitute at least 15 percent of a district’s enrollment and at least 50 students. The superintendent must respond in writing to the advisory committees’ suggestions. School boards must hold at least one public hearing on the proposed LCAP before subsequently adopting it at the same school board meeting at which the district’s budget is also adopted. The district superintendent and school board should do extensive outreach and integrate priorities suggested by the district advisory committees, school site councils, parents and the public at large into the LCAP.


LCAP Frequently Asked Questions: To access frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Local Control Funding Formula go to: http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/lc/lcfffaq.asp#LCAP


LCFF Guide: EdSource produced a guide that provides comprehensive information about how the new system works, how much money school districts receive, and which parts of the law remain to be defined and implemented. https://edsource.org/2016/local-control-funding-formula-guide-lcff/89272


Funding to Expand Schools' High-Speed Internet


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted to increase funding that supporters say will expand the Internet capacity for an additional 40 million students in 100,000 schools nationwide.

The commission raised the E-rate, a federal program paid for by telephone customers, by $1.5 billion per year, bringing the total yearly funding to schools and libraries for Internet connections and operating subsidies to $3.9 billion.


“It’s a historic day for students and library patrons,” said Evan Marwell, CEO and founder of Education Superhighway, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that works with districts and states to extend their Internet capacity. He said the additional money, plus other changes that the commission passed, should meet President Barack Obama’s goal of providing 99 percent of students in America with next-generation broadband – between 100 megabits and 1,000 megabits per second (1Gbps) by the end of 2018. That would provide enough capacity for laptops and tablets for all students in every classroom.

Only 30 percent of schools nationwide – and only 14 percent of schools in low-income neighborhoods — currently have the targeted high-speed capacity, according to the FCC.

The new revenue should narrow the digital gap in California, according to Andrea Bennett, the executive director of the California Education Technologists Professional Association (CETPA). “We applaud the effort of the FCC,” she said. “We hope they continue to work on these changes and listen to schools.” In particular, she said the new revenue would help California schools in rural areas, which have the most problems with Internet connectivity.


The FCC estimates that the new E-rate surcharge will raise the cost of a phone line by about $2 per year. Established in 1997, in the era of slow-speed modems, the E-rate pays for Internet connections and subsidized service to the nation’s schools and libraries. The priority is extending broadband connections to buildings, with leftover money going for equipment for Wi-Fi access to classrooms and ongoing broadband service subsidies. Rural and low-income schools receive E-rate priority.


However the E-rate has not been able to keep up with the demand for more broadband, which is increasing 50 percent each year. According to the FCC, only 30 percent of schools nationwide – and only 14 percent of schools in low-income neighborhoods — currently have the targeted high-speed capacity. Only 45 percent of districts have the Wi-Fi capability that would enable every student to use a device linked to the Internet.


With nearly three in five districts reporting that the ongoing connectivity costs are the major barrier to faster service, the E-rate expansion should make a difference, Marwell said. E-rate subsidies for Internet service range from 20 to 90 percent for low-income schools. But there hasn’t been enough money in the program to go around. This year, California, schools requested more than $1 billion in E-rate funding, but the FCC committed $290 million, according to data provided by Universal Service Administrative Company, the firm that processes E-rate applications. The commission also approved incentives for states to contribute to the cost of extending broadband to schools.


The FCC had not raised the cap on the E-rate since it was established. Earlier this year, it directed an extra $1 billion for broadband for schools and libraries by diverting subsidies that had gone to outdated technologies. The five-member commission approved the E-rate changes with a partisan 3-2 vote.


New Online E-rate Information Resource:  If you are interested in the latest information and continuous updates as well as the history of the E-rate along with examples of how other states are implementing E-rate check out this new resource: http://erate.tips/


FCC Modernizes Lifeline Program for the Digital Age


The FCC votes to make low-income Americans eligible for subsidy. Low-income Americans will be eligible for a monthly subsidy of $9.25 to receive high-speed Internet service recently approved by federal regulators in an effort to close the digital divide and expand access to broadband. The FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to expand a 3-decade-old program that subsidizes phone service for people who cannot afford it. Much of the testimony focused on how this change will help close the “homework gap” so students can work at home with Internet access needed to complete assignments.


FCC Commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel who spoke on this topic at CUE 2016 was one of the three Commissioners who voted “yes” for the Lifeline amendments at the FCC Hearing yesterday. CUE signed on with the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) a letter to the FCC to support Life Lifeline.  CETF is a non-profit organization committed to helping enable high speed Internet access to underserved homes and schools and was acknowledged by CUE with the Legislative Advocacy Award given to CETF President Sunne McPeak at the Spring Conference in Palm Springs. CUE continues to collaborate with CETF on issues related to Internet access.


Computer Science and STEM Education priorities for Hillary Clinton


Computer science education and STEM education would get extra attention and resources under a proposal released by Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Clinton, wants to partner with the private sector to train 50,000 new computer science teachers, either by bringing in new recruits to the teaching profession, or by giving existing educators additional training.


She's also interested in helping schools and districts develop "innovative" schools that put a priority on STEM and helping kids learn through hands-on activities in so-called "maker spaces."  But she doesn't attach a dollar amount to those plans. And the former secretary of state wants to double the federal investment in the $120 million Investing in Innovation (i3) program, including a 50 percent set-aside for computer science education. This echoes a proposal from President Barack Obama to funnel more federal resources into computer science education.


Source: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2016/06/computer_science_stem_education_hillary_clinton.html

California Legislation


Very few bills have been introduced that directly relate to the CUE Advocacy Platform priorities. While not addressing technology, bills of interest related to implementation of LCAP, ESSA, and new accountability system but are briefly summarized as follows. Click on the title of the bill to access current status, analysis, history, and complete bill language.


 SB 871 - Liu (D): California Collaborative for Educational Excellence: Professional Development Training: Pilot Program: Requires the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) to establish a statewide infrastructure to provide professional development training to local educational agencies (LEAs) to successfully implement forthcoming evaluation rubrics to be adopted by the State Board of Education (Board). Also requires the CCEE to implement a pilot program that will inform its long-term efforts to advise and assist LEAs in achieving the goals set forth in their local control and accountability plans (LCAP). Contingent upon funding provided in the budget or another enacted statute.


Action: Passed with amendments to encourage inclusion of stakeholders and make clarifying changes


AB 2548 - Weber (D): School Accountability System: This bill requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to adopt a statewide accountability system aligned to California's local framework and that satisfies the federal accountability system requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Among other things, the SBE would be required to use data from key indicators (addressed in the bill).


More specifically, the bill would require the system to (1) satisfy the accountability requirements of the ESSA, (2) align California’s LCFF, which is focused on identifying and supporting local educational agencies with the additional need to identify, support, and improve California’s highest need schools, as specified, (3) rely upon data from key indicators established by the evaluation rubrics adopted by the state board, (4) provide the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, county superintendents of schools, and the public with data to be used in a multitiered system of review and assistance, and (5) ensure the creation of a data and reporting system that provides meaningful and accessible information on school and school district performance that is displayed through an electronic platform.


Action: Passed


 AB 2680 - Bonilla (D): Parent, Guardian, Pupil, and Family Engagement Support: This bill requires local education agencies (LEAs) to develop and implement a strategic plan to address parent engagement, subject to one-time funding being provided in the budget act. 


Action: Held in Committee


Additional Bills Relevant to CUE: We continue to monitor legislation and report on bills that could be of interest to CUE members. If you know of bills that you feel we should monitor and perhaps take positions on please let us know.  


To find bills you should go to: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billSearchClient.xhtml

Additional Information: For additional information and updates on any topics addressed in this Update, contact John Cradler: cradler@earthlink.net