As the mother of a high school student, education has always been one of my top concerns. Last session, I supported a number of bills that will reform California’s education system through increased local control, improved transparency, expanded educational opportunities and accelerated learning for all California students.
This legislation included a bill to increase exposure to college coursework for high school students through expanded concurrent enrollment. Still another bill allows foster and homeless youth to graduate if state graduation requirements have been met.
On the budget front, I supported a trailer bill that provides almost $3 billion to increase local-flexible school funding, resulting in the highest level of school funding in California history. This legislation also included $20 million for charter school start-up grants, leading to expanded learning opportunities for thousands of students.
I am pleased to report that these bills passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support, and that all have been signed into law. Even so, more needs to be done. Last session I co-authored a bill to repeal the school funding cap, which prevents schools from establishing reserve funds to save for unforeseen costs. Though the bill failed to garner majority support, despite the precedent set by the recently established state rainy day fund, I am hopeful that the issue can be revisited.
California’s education system was once the envy of the nation. Though today our student achievement scores have slipped, I look forward to continuing the effort to improve our schools and secure our children’s future once the Legislature convenes for the 2017- 2018 session in January.