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July Advocacy Update

July 17, 2017

Legislative Update for CUE Members - July 2017 | more leg updates

Prepared by John Cradler, CUE Legislative and Policy Consultant

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Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR 7) to sustain net neutrality, Lifeline, and E-Rate


AJR 7 is a resolution asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the US Congress, and the President to support the already FCC-approved implementation of net neutrality, to continue broadband-enhanced Lifeline, and to sustain the established funding model for E-Rate. Assemblymember and Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin is the author of AJR 7. AJR 7 is a crucial piece of legislation since President Trump, with the current Republican-dominated FCC, intends to cut and/or repeal these programs. CUE initiated and is working closely with Assemblymember Mullin and his staff to help move AJR 7 through the legislative process. The previous update and past articles in OnCUE provide history and more details on AJR 7 and can be accessed at cue.org.


AJR 7 passed the Assembly Floor with 55 ayes (all Democrats), 18 noes (all Republicans) , and seven abstentions. AJR 7 now is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee for a vote and then will be sent to the Senate Floor on July 18th at 9:00 am. At least four CUE representatives will be attending this Committee hearing and will testify as needed. We added an amendment to include a provision that funds collected from phone bills for Lifeline could only be used to support access to Lifeline. The author, Assembly Member and Speaker Pro Tem Mullin, feels confident that the resolution will pass the Senate. The resolution then will need to go back to the Assembly for concurrence.


Recent Amendment to AJR 7: Because it was found that several states were diverting their Lifeline program funding to other priorities, the following amendment was added to AJR 7:


WHEREAS, Federal Lifeline program moneys should be dedicated solely to the purposes established by Congress and the FCC, and diverting those moneys to pay for other programs through the imposition of state taxes, fees, or surcharges, directly or indirectly, on Federal Lifeline program benefits or connections should be prohibited;


I approved this amendment suggested by Assembly Member Mullin and think it strengthens the resolution. To view the latest version of AJR 7 with this and the prior amendments visit this site:


Additional Action by CUE to Push Back on Threat to Net Neutrality

by John Fleischman, CUE Advocacy Consultant


The net neutrality rules, approved by the FCC in 2015, were designed to preserve an open Internet and ensure that it could not be divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for web and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal would undo those regulations that were put in place during the Obama administration. In essence, if approved, the new rules would eliminate the commission’s legal authority to prevent Internet providers from blocking or throttling web content or creating fast lanes. The 75- page proposal, ironically known as “Restoring Internet Freedom,” is now open for public comment through August 16, 2017. The FCC will collect comments from stakeholders and the general public before drafting a specific order and voting on whether to set it into law.


To facilitate collection of comments by CUE members, the CUE Legislative Advocacy Committee (with CUE staff support) created a Google form: http://www.cue.org/cuefcc. Before the August submission deadline, CUE staff will do a bulk upload to the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System. To date, nearly 100 CUE members have submitted their comments via the Google form. Some sample comments:


“I am a teacher and use the Internet daily to help access information with my students. Opening the door to additional fees being charged for this access will only further the gap between the education of the rich and poor.”


“The repeal of net neutrality will change instruction in the classroom and will cause an inequity in home access to my students. I use high-speed Internet access in my classroom everyday. My students are required to use it as well in their assignments. Access to high-speed Internet has changed what students are able to do - - they are no longer passive learners - - they are able to create and demonstrate their understanding in engaging, graphic ways.”


It would be fantastic if we can gather more than 500 comments from CUE members. Help get out the word and make our collective CUE voice heard by the FCC!


Other Recent Actions to Save Net Neutrality: CUE and the California Legislature are not alone in fighting for net neutrality. The ACLU, The Nation, and Fight for the Future as well as Amazon, Netflix, and Reddit—banded together on Wednesday, July 12, for an Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.


“Websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. We'll provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your followers / visitors to take action. From the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we've shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. Now, we have to do it again!”


Note: The CUE homepage provided a popup on July 12 for the “Net Neutrality blackout.”


Trump’s Rural Broadband Initiative Contradicts Current FCC Actions


President Trump said he plans to propose an expansion of broadband access to remote areas as part of an ambitious infrastructure bill.  "I will be including a provision in our infrastructure proposal — $1 trillion proposal, you'll be seeing it very shortly — to promote and foster, enhance broadband access for rural America," he said. "We will rebuild rural America.” Trump stated that limited broadband is keeping farmers from using the latest agricultural technology, like big data tools that track crop growth and soil conditions or online livestock auctions. The White House didn't offer any details as to how such an expansion might be implemented or how much of a budget he would allot for it. The FCC previously instituted Lifeline, E-Rate, and net neutrality in an attempt to address the issues to which Trump is now referring. However, the President has been instrumental in blocking Internet expansion in a variety of ways through his FCC appointments.


The FCC has been taking action that contradict these recent pronouncements by the President. In a reversal of his predecessor's policy in February, FCC Chairman Pai blocked nine companies from offering discounted service to low-income areas through the agency's Lifeline program, which was originally created to subsidize phone service in 1985. The next month, he delegated oversight of the program to state governments in a move that opponents say could hand more power to telecoms and cable companies to kill competition. He is threatening to make E-Rate into a block grant which would reduce the possibility of targeting rural and underserved schools and to repeal net neutrality which allows companies to charge different rates for services according to their potential for profit.


For more details on the Trump broadband initiative go to this site.


CA Budget Funds Expansion of K-12 Computer Science Instruction


Standards Development: The 2017-18 California budget includes funding to expand K-12 student access to computer science coursework and instruction. Computer Science includes computational thinking and problem solving. The State Board of Education is considering approving 21 individuals recommended for appointment by the Instructional Quality Commission to serve on the California Computer Science Standards Advisory Committee (CCSAC). This new committee will schedule meetings beginning this fall to develop a vision and definition for computer science which distinguishes it from computer literacy, educational technology, digital citizenship and information technology. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed California computer science standards in the spring of 2018.


Implementation Process: A second, related initiative is the approval of AB 99 – the creation of a California Computer Science Strategic Implementation Advisory Panel to begin work on or before March 1, 2018. The panel will develop recommendations related to effective and equitable implementation of computer science in K-12. Panel membership will include positions appointed by the Governor, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Senate Rules Committee, and the Assembly Speaker’s office. AB 99 stipulates that recommendations for a computer science strategic implementation plan be submitted to the Superintendent, State Board, and Legislature on or before January 15, 2019.


Possible CUE Involvement: It is suggested that CUE make an effort to be represented on both the CCSAC to provide input to the standards and the Implementation Advisory Panel to advise and support implementation of computer science curriculum and instruction. It is an obvious opportunity for CUE to establish professional development opportunities related to the future, State-adopted Computer Science Standards. Geoff Belleau, the CDE Educational Technology Consultant, will discuss the computer standards at the Fall CUE Conference.


For more details on the California Computer Science Instruction initiative go to this site.


The 2017-18 State Budget Allocates an Increase in Education Funding


The 2017-18 State Budget includes total funding of $92.5 billion ($54.1 billion General Fund and $38.4 billion other funds) for all K‐12 education programs. The budget allocates more money to K-12 schools and community colleges, which is expected to increase by $3.1 billion over the 2016-17 level to $74.5 billion. School districts’ share of the increase will include $1.4 million more for the Local Control Funding Formula, bringing its full implementation to 97 percent complete. The following are Budget items of possible interest to CUE members:


Local Control Funding Formula: An increase of almost $1.4 billion Proposition 98 General Fund to continue the State’s transition to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). This formula commits most new funding to districts serving English language learners, students from low‐income families, and youth in foster care. This increase will bring the formula to 97 percent of full implementation.


One‐Time Discretionary Grants: An increase of $877 million Proposition 98 General Fund to provide school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools with discretionary resources to support critical investments at the local level. These funds can be used for activities such as deferred maintenance, professional development, induction for beginning teachers, instructional materials, technology, and the implementation of new educational standards.  


Teacher training funding: Includes $25 million to expand a Classified Employee Teacher Credential Program that will provide grants to support recruiting of non-certificated school employees to participate in teacher preparation leading to becoming certificated public school teachers; $5 million to create a Bilingual Teacher Recruitment and Professional Development Program; and $11.3 million earmarked for a California Educator Development Program that will provide one-time competitive grants to assist schools and districts in recruiting and providing ongoing training for educators and school leaders in high-need subjects and schools through the redirection of federal ESSA Title II funds, which were originally earmarked for preparing, training, and recruiting high quality teachers and principals.


For more details go to this site.


State Legislative Update


Internet for All Now Act (Assemblyman Garcia - AB 1665): Proposed legislation being developed by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), AB 1665, would focus on broadband adoption for the most disadvantaged residents to achieve 90% access by 2023. This bill clearly addresses the need for students to have home-access to broadband in typically underserved areas, thereby addressing the “homework gap.”


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 for 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.


CUE supports AB 1665 which was introduced and presented to and has passed the Assembly

Communications and Conveyance Committee. CUE representatives, John Cradler and Micah

Studer, testified at the hearing at the State Capitol on April 17 to support AB 1665. The bill passed this Committee, the Assembly Appropriations Committee, as well as the Assembly Floor and now has moved on to the Senate.


The bill is scheduled to be heard on June 18th by the Senate Energy,  Utilities, and Communications Committee. At this time the position is Support unless amended. If the bill passes this Committee, it goes to Senate Appropriations and then to the Senate Floor. If it passes the Floor vote, then it goes to the Concurrence Committee to obtain agreement in both houses on any Senate amendments.


For additional details on the Internet for All Act, go to this site.


California Broadband Internet Privacy Act (AB 375):  Legislation that Trump signed in April repeals broadband privacy protections approved during the waning days of the Obama administration. Those rules would have required broadband service providers to get opt-in consent before using information collected about what kids and families do online for non-service purposes, such as selling and sharing the data, or using it to profile or market to kids and families. California has an opportunity to take matters into its own hands.


AB 375, by Assemblyman Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, seeks to ensure that California protects kids’ online privacy while offering basic protections to all broadband Internet users. Indeed, to protect kids, we need to protect everyone, as their information is inherently mixed in with all other information on the internet. Bill status: This bill has passed the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development committee 7/17/17.  


State Bills CUE is watching: The following bills are generally related to the CUE Advocacy Platform. However, formal positions have not yet been taken by the CUE Board.


  • AB 37 (O’Donnell) - Recommendations for media arts standards - Status: In the Assembly waiting for a Floor vote
  • SB 135 (Glazer) - Implement model curriculum in media literacy - Status: Passed Assembly and now to be heard in Assembly Ed. Committee 7/12/17
  • SB 203 (Jackson) - Recommendations for instruction in digital citizenship and media literacy - Status: Waiting to be heard in Senate Appropriations (date not set)


How to Locate and Monitor Progress on California Bills: The California Legislative Information website makes it easy for anyone to track the progress of any bills or other State bills or resolutions. A "Daily Updates" reporting feature displays, by house, measures for which there was activity the previous day such as new analyses, hearings, placement on the Daily File, amendments, History actions, or votes. Measures prior to 1999 can be still be found at http://leginfo.ca.gov which will remain as an archive for legislative information.


To use this free legislative information service go to this site.

 

CDE Update

By Geoff Belleau, CDE Consultant  edtech@cde.ca.gov


There are a couple of big ideas. One is with respect to the Educational Technology Blueprint or Plan. The CDE is still focused on providing digital citizenship resources and promoting positive digital citizenship this fall with Digital Citizenship week in October. The CDE recognizes there are needs for PD for Administrators and teachers on the effective uses of technology.


Regarding ESSA, Title IV is only guaranteed for FY2017 at this point, so the CDE does not have long term plan. Details will be too late for this publication, but the SBE will be in discussion regarding the ESSA plan during the July board meeting and will be voting on it/submitting in September. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to read it here (Item 3 in the SBE Board meeting this week. Attachment 1 page 1).


http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr17/documents/jul17item03.doc


CUE Advocacy Strategy


CUE’s advocacy focus is on influencing implementation of existing programs so that the programs include collaboration with other education associations, proactively developing State legislation, disseminating policy advice on the development of new State and Federal Education initiatives, and the continual monitoring and position taking 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 sponsorship of State and Federal legislation and resolutions. The CUE Legislative Advocacy Committee meets monthly to take positions on relevant bills and complete other related actions suggested by the CUE Legislative Consultants and the Committee members.


Anyone who is interested in supporting the CUE advocacy effort should contact Mary Kopp, Executive Assistant to the CUE CEO at mkopp@cue.org, or John Cradler at jcradler@cue.org.