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CUE Policy and Legislation Update

December 6, 2016

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

Prepared by John Cradler, CUE Legislative Policy Consultant


2016-17 Advocacy Strategy: The focus on advocacy is to influence implementation of existing programs to include, collaborate with other education associations, be proactive development of the 2017-18 State budget, provide policy advise 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 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. The CUE Legislative Policy Consultants, John Cradler, and John Fleischman work closely with the CDE staff directly involved with educational technology to include Geoff Belleau and Jason Spenser.


Collaboration with Education Associations: CUE took a leadership role in the establishment of a State-level Educational Technology Alliance as described in a Winter 2015 OnCUE article prepared by the CUE Legislation and Policy Consultant.  The third meeting of the Alliance was hosted by the Capitol Advisor at their office in Sacramento. Associations represented at the meeting were CUE, K12 HSN, CCESSA, CEDPA, ACSA, and the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF).  Other potential association members may include California Teachers Association (CTA), California School Boards Association (CSBA), Small School Districts Association, California State Employees Association (CSEA), and the California Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (CASCD).


The group shared the belief that we are stronger working together on shared issues and having a framework for collaboration will allow us to more rapidly respond to issues with a unified voice. Issues of mutual interest that we agreed to work on together in 2017-18. The members are in the process of preparing policy statements for these issues to be followed with an action plan

  1. Net Neutrality
  2. School and home access to broadband Internet
  3. Security and data privacy
  4. One-to-one access to computers and curriculum integration
  5. Professional development


The third meeting held on November 16th addressed the following topics:

  1. Review of policy statements submitted to include Professional Development, Net Neutrality, decided to add, “broadband access to schools and homes”, as a new topic.
  2. Discussion and agreement to prepare an Assembly/Senate Resolution that clearly states the position of the Legislature on critical policies, needs, and possible solutions related to technology in California education.
  3. Preparing for and conducting a hearing at the State Capitol to inform legislators about the critical current and future educational needs that can be addressed with technology.
  4. Reviewed and suggested edits to draft policy documents submitted by John Cradler and John Fleischman relating to professional development and net-neutrality. We will be preparing a draft of a possible Assembly/Senate resolution related these topics for consideration at the January meeting of the Collaborative.


There was much discussion about the perception the public seems to have that technology is being layered on top of education and sold to school by corporations without regard to documented needs and cost-benefits. For this reason, it was decided to focus on educational improvement in general with technology as the underlying focus of the collaborative. The Collaborative would also promote uses of technology that address documented needs backed by credible documentation of effectiveness in supporting education goals.


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Update: As described in prior 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 combined into a single plan. This plan will provide the details on how districts will develop plans for their use of the funding.


The State Plan will describe the State’s implementation of standards, assessment, accountability, and school support and improvement activities. The State Board of Education (SBE) approved appointments of 17 members to provide input on the development of the Plan. The State has completed six regional meetings conducted at County Offices of Education to collect input for the preliminary plan. State plan is being developed in consultation with stakeholders according to the following timeline:


A number of potential funding opportunities are outlined in ESSA, as are a variety of options for state and local uses of funds. As with LCFF, it is up to the district level planning to determine specific allocations of funds. Some of the possible uses of ESSA funding include but are not limited to the following:

  • Literacy Education for All
  • Teacher and School Leader Incentive program
  • Effective Educator Development
  • School Leader Recruitment and Support
  • STEM Master Teacher Corps
  • “Well-rounded educational opportunities” activity
  • “Safe and healthy students” activity
  • Effective use of technology (up to 15% can be used for technology infrastructure)


For additional details and updates about the ESSA State Plan districts go the CDE Website at: www.cde.ca.gov/essa

Receive updates by joining the ESSA listserv. To subscribe, send a blank message to join-essa@mlist.cde.ca.gov


FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel nominated for CUE Advocacy Award: 3. 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.” 


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.


Recently, a member of the Senate was intending to block or put a hold on FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel's reconfirmation to the FCC. Because of quick action by the ISTE Advocacy Network with support of CUE this hold was lifted. However, we are not sure about the future for her as the Trump is opposed to much of what has been accomplished with Rosenworcel’s efforts.


State Legislative Update:

AB 2329, Assemblywoman Bonilla signed by the Governor: AB 2329, a bill actively supported by CUE, requires the SPI to convene an advisory panel to develop recommendations for a strategic computer science implementation plan. The panel would represent multiple stakeholders, including parents, teachers, students, advocates, policymakers, and leaders from state and local government. The CDE has established an internal working group and is in the process of drafting recommendations to be reviewed by the representative panel as defined in AB 2329. As mentioned in the last update, this bill is intended to provide for:

  • Broadening the pool of teachers to teach computer science
  • Ensuring all students have access to computer science courses
  • Procuring a pathway for computer science to count toward high school graduation and college admission
  • Providing access to computer science in both college and career pathways
  • Ensuring school districts have adequate broadband connectivity and access to hardware and software


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:

  1. 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.
  2. Maintains funding priority for last-mile unserved households and allows improvements in underserved areas only if adjacent to unserved areas.
  3. 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.
  4. Allocates $150M to Office of Emergency Services to connect county and state fair sites with command centers for emergency response.


I am participating on a CETF committee to provide input to the language for this proposed legislation. CETF has not identified the author yet but have several State Legislators in mind.


Relevant State Propositions: CUE has taken positions on Propositions 51 and 55 as they have a significant impact on education funding. Most of the California Education Associations have taken and published their positions on these two Propositions. Clicking on the PDF HTML provides the details prepared by the Legislative Analysist’s Office (LAO). http://www.lao.ca.gov/


Proposition 51: School Bonds. Funding for K-12 School and Community College Facilities. Initiative Statutory Amendment:  Proposition 51 passed (yes 54%) which makes it possible for the State to sell $9 billion in general obligation bonds for education facilities ($7 billion for K-12 public school facilities and $2 billion for community college facilities).


Proposition 55: Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare. Proposition 55 passed (yes 62.1%) which makes it possible to increase Income Tax on high-income taxpayers, which are scheduled to end after 2018, would instead be extended through 2030. Increased funding for schools and community colleges from roughly half of the revenue raised by the measure. This measure extends for 12 years the additional income tax rates previously established in 2012 by Proposition 30.


Superintendent Torlakson’s Comment on Proposition 55: Education leaders State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, along with former Superintendents Delaine Eastin and Jack O’Connell, are voiced their strong support for Proposition 55 on the November ballot. Prop. 55 maintains the taxes on the wealthiest Californians to prevent billions in cuts to education and other vital services. At the recent CTO Roundtable, Superintendent Torlakson mentioned that even with passage of proposition 55, California still ranks 43rd in the nation in terms of education funding.


Former State Superintendent of Public Delaine Eastin to run for California Governor: Delaine Eastin recently announced that she is a candidate for State Superintendent. Delaine was a strong advocate for the infusion of technology into teaching and learning. When State Superintendent, she convened a committee that developed and Educational Technology Master Plan known as Connect, Compute, and Compete (1996) which informed legislation and educational technology policy at that time. When 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, 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). She was the architect of the first “Net Day,” where 30,000 volunteers joined Eastin, President Clinton, and Vice President Gore in an electronic “barn raising” which motivated the proposal by VP Gore to introduce the e-rate.


Action taken on the Educational Technology Blueprint: On November 10th at the CTO Roundtable in Sacramento, Superintendent Tom Torlakson announced that we will be reconvening the Educational Technology Task Force, a 49-member committee of representative educators that developed the Blueprint. The intention is to review progress made so far with implementation of various recommendations in the plans as well as determining future actions to be taken. Mike Lawrence is planning to invite the Task Force to meet at the Spring CUE conference in Palm Springs to discuss actions taken and continue with planning the future strategies for implementing the Blueprint.


Prioritizing Blueprint Topics: During June and July 2016, it was decided to update the Blueprint priorities to help inform decisions regarding current and future priorities for education technology in California. The strategy for the update was to convert the 19 Blueprint topics into a survey that would be administered to a sample of California educators. A sample of 164 persons involved in education with 41% as teachers and the remainder technology support and administrators and others. Following are the ranking of the 19 recommendations by the respondents on a scale with 1 as low to 5 as high priority:

  1. Provide at least one Internet-connected devices to students and educators (4.5)
  2. Enhance tech integration throughout K-12 and higher education (4.5)
  3. Prevent cyberbullying and protect student data (4.4)
  4. Monitor and expand network bandwidth to support one-to-one computing (4.4)
  5. Pursue measures to close the digital divide for students and homes (4.3)
  6. Pursue statewide and regional enhancement of broadband connections (4.3)
  7. Instruct all students in technology use and programming (4.3)
  8. Create programs for Ed Tech professional development (4.2)
  9. Remove barriers that restrict instructional use of technology (4.2)
  10. Advocate for instructional technology and related professional development (4.1)
  11. Design School facilities to support technology resources (4.1)
  12. Provide professional development for technology with learning assessments (4.0)
  13. Recognize students who demonstrate 21st century skills and State standards (3.9)
  14. Provide regional and State tech support in the within the context of LCFF and LCAP (3.8)
  15. Build capacity for informed decision making re digital learning resources (3.8)
  16. Establish standards for development of low-cost shared digital learning resources (3.9)
  17. Create a State level senior-level position for educational technology (3.6)
  18. Create tools for evaluation of educational technology use by teachers, students, and parents (3.4)
  19. Explore the deployment of statewide cloud computing data (3.3)


Meeting with Assembly Member Kevin Mullen, Assembly Speaker Pro-tem: On November 17th, I met with Assembly Member Mullin to discuss education legislation and specifically technology issues. Kevin is the son of Gene Mullen, prior Senator and Assembly Member whom co-authored previous legislation to re-authorize CTAP. In his role as Speaker Pro-tem, he makes the budget recommendations to the Speaker and has input on all Assembly Bills.  I reviewed the major education technology issues with Kevin and his major issues are broadband access to underserved schools and homes and educator professional development.


At a follow-up meeting with Assembly Member Mullen, presented the idea about having the Assembly introduce a Resolution supporting the Net Neutrality policy already approved by the FCC as a California policy adopted by the Assembly and Senate. Mullen offered to take this on and be a sponsor of such a resolution and will work with us in December and January to work out the details. He felt this was very important since President Trump intends to repeal the FCC version of Net Neutrality and appoint new Commissioners. 


Trump on Education: 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 on Net Neutrality: With Donald Trump headed to the Oval Office in 2017, the FCC's network neutrality regulations could be in danger of getting the ax -- a move that might embolden internet service providers to hike prices for consumers and content companies. The FCC's Open Internet Order, adopted in February 2015, bans internet providers from blocking or slowing down traffic as well as from engaging in "paid prioritization" schemes that give preference to content providers who pay for the privilege. The rules also reclassified broadband internet service as a common-carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act, giving the FCC much more latitude to regulate the industry.