This legislative session saw an abundance of important education bills. The number of underprepared teachers working in California’s classrooms has more than doubled in just three years. As a top education priority, the CCC advocated several measures to strengthen our statewide K-12 teaching force for all students – especially those most in need.
AB 2285 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) will recruit more out-of-state teachers in high-demand subjects. This was passed and signed into law earlier this year.
SB 577 (Dodd, D-Napa) will allow community colleges to offer teacher credentialing programs for those areas with low college-going rates or limited access to teacher credentialing. AB 2547 (McCarty, D-Sacramento) will train and mentor beginning educators through creative teacher residency programs that equip them to stay in the profession. Both of these bills are awaiting signature by the Governor.
Another bill, SB 1214 (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge), would have provided teachers with a $2,500 deduction for required fees they pay out of their own pockets to complete their credential. Such creative tax policy was aimed to empower all new teachers who are now actively educating our state’s public and private school students – as well as those who may not be teaching right now, but will join or return to the classroom in the future. This bill was co-sponsored by the CCC and the California Federation of Teachers. SB 1214 passed the full Senate and Assembly policy committee on unanimous, bipartisan votes but was held because it was not included in the final budget. Senator Portantino will make a budget ask of this measure in the next Legislative Session.
It is essential to educate children both at home as well as at school to respect the life and dignity of all persons. The CCC supports SB 972 (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge), which would require that all student identification cards are imprinted with a suicide hotline. This will give students contemplating suicide, and other students who know classmates that may be doing so, an immediate access to vital supports necessary to cherish their life. AB 1868 (Cunningham, R-Templeton) will enable students to be educated in the curriculum under the Healthy Youth Act on the dangers of messaging sexually explicit materials through cell phones, social networking sites, computer networks, or other digital media.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. The CCC supports two measures that will unite entire school communities with a common awareness of how to identify indicators that children are being groomed for such enslavement and how to prevent it. AB 1861 (Rodriquez, D-Pomona) and SB 1104 (Roth, D-Riverside) will provide students and parents together with vital information, training and education on ways to combat the horror of labor and sexual exploitation. The CCC is hopeful the Governor will sign both of these bills.
Pope Francis reminds us that we are an interdependent world, one people, living in a common home. Climate change represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity, with its worst impact felt by our poorest communities and developing countries worldwide in the coming decades. The CCC continues to support SB 100 (de León, D-Los Angeles) that can drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This establishes a new state policy that all electricity must come from renewable and zero-carbon resources by 2045. SB 100 would quantifiably reduce the emissions harmful to our planet and the health of our communities, especially for our most vulnerable Californians. The CCC is supporting this bill and looking to urge the Governor to sign it.