Tony Thurmond Becomes State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Tony Thurmond, educator and public school parent, and recent Assembly Member, took his oath of office as California’s twenty-eighth State Superintendent of Public Instruction Monday, January 7, saying that it is an honor to lead the state’s 6.2 million students and over 10,000 schools. Thurmond was sworn in by retired Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gordon Baranco. Thurmond’s plan for improving schools includes lifting California from the bottom end of per student spending to the top end. “Providing more money to our schools helps our students, our communities, and our economy. But most of all it helps create a bright future for our state,” he said.
The swearing-in ceremony was headed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. It featured remarks from Congresswomen Barbara Lee and leaders of legislative caucuses representing diverse communities of California. CUE was represented at the Inauguration by John and Ruthmary Cradler. At the event we talked to prior State Superintendents Bill Honig, Delaine Eastin, Tom Torlakson, current State Board of Education members and others from the CDE. We also had an opportunity to talk to the new Deputy Superintendent, Lupita Alcala, and Mary Nicely, Special Projects Director, about ACR 268 and some of the future plans.
For details click here for the press release from the CDE.
Lupita Cortez Alcalá Sworn in as Chief Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction
Lupita Cortez Alcalá was sworn in as Chief Deputy to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond on Wednesday, January 9, at the State Board of Education meeting after the board approved her appointment. She will be the first Latina to serve in the position. Cortez Alcalá served for more than 12 years at the California Department of Education, where she was Deputy Superintendent in the Teaching and Learning Support Branch. During her tenure, Cortez Alcalá oversaw the creation of the English Learner Division, revamped the migrant education program, initiated the Seal of Biliteracy to recognize students fluent in two or more languages, and oversaw the development of the English language arts/English language development framework and standards. For details, go to the CDE press release here.
Governor Newsom’s Proposed 2019-2020 State Budget
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019–20. “Governor Newsom hit a home run in his first budget in education and across the board. The budget is thoughtful and balanced and makes good use of public funds, but it is appropriately aggressive in its focus on helping Californians who need it most,” he said. Governor Newsom proposed increasing K–12 education funding by $2.3 billion, investing $1.8 billion in early education, and providing $3.7 billion to help all districts deal with rising pension costs, which are stressing budgets of districts throughout the state. The pension aspect of his budget includes a proposed a one-time $3 billion contribution to CalSTRS and $700 million in each of fiscal year 2019–20 and 2020–21 to reduce the rates districts are charged for their employees’ pensions.
The proposed budget will be revised based on new legislation and recommendations from the Legislature by May 15th. After additional changes, the final budget will be signed sometime in July 2019. To read the proposed budget click here.
Delaine Eastin is Optimistic about Newson Administration and Education’s Future
Many of you know I ran for governor in part because of my concerns about our lack of investment in education and the lack of focus on the youngest among us. As I have said for 40 years, budgets are statements of values. The focus on education, from preschool through higher education, children, low income families, healthcare, mental health, housing and the homeless in Gavin Newsom first budget makes me optimistic about this administration and the future of California. This is what investing in the future should look like.
Delaine is now a member of Governor Newson’s Transition Team and in a position to advise on education and educational technology. Delaine has agreed to participate in the planning for the California Educational Technology Summit with CUE leadership as recommended in ACR 268.
Update on the CUE Initiated Educational Technology Resolution
On August 30, 2018, Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 268, by Assembly Members Tony Thurmond (now State Superintendent), Kevin Mullin, and Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, passed by the State Assembly and Senate. ACR 268 was Chaptered September 11, 2018 as Resolution Chapter 221, Statutes of 2018. ACR 268 was initiated by Computer Using Educators (CUE) with support from other education entities. Assembly Member Thurmond, the principal author of ACR 268 recently tweeted:
Integrating technology in K-12 education prepares students for success in college & careers. My ACR 268 was chaptered today and sets CA on the path of leading in education tech. It makes educational technology a state priority and calls for a state summit to develop new legislative budget proposals.
With the new State leadership there will be an opportunity to establish new plans and initiatives to address new priorities in many areas and especially education. The next step is to work with State Superintendent Thurmond, in his new role, to enable the State Board of Education and Governor Newson to become familiar with ACR 268 and to understand that the State Legislature has made a formal commitment to making educational technology support and access a major priority. We are now establishing a planning team to begin planning for an Educational Technology Summit as recommended in ACR 268, to establishing priorities for education and technology with recommendations for legislation and related funding. More details about ACR 268 can be found in the November 28th edition of the Legislative Update. For the full text of ACR 268 click here.
Retiring State Board Chair Suggests Funding for Teacher Training
Michael Kirst retires after eight years as president of the State Board of Education, satisfied that the key pieces of Gov. Jerry Brown’s education policies he helped create are solidly in place. But in an interview, he expressed worry that a failure to sufficiently fund training for teachers and principals in the new academic standards, school climate and other supports for students could undermine expectations for achievement and erode the public’s faith in the new system. His comment suggests possible renewed interest in supporting legislation and related State funding for teacher professional development which is a top priority for CUE as stated in the CUE Advocacy Platform and in the Resolution – ACR 268.
Action on prior legislation reported in CUE Legislative Updates
California Net Neutrality Legislation (SB 822) Signed by the Governor: The Net Neutrality for California bill, SB 822 by Senator Scott Wiener, Senator Kevin de Leon, Senator Jerry Hill, Assembly Member Kevin Mullin, and 19 other co-authors to enact the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018, passed both houses and was signed by Governor Brown on September 30th. Several of our Congressional Delegation strongly supported this State initiative including U.S. Congressional Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Ana Eshoo, and Senator Dianne Feinstein. CUE was a major and active supporter of this bill and had sponsored AJR 7 by Kevin Mullin, the net neutrality resolution that led to the introduction of SB 822.
Scott Wiener stated: We passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation. This is about a level playing field and an Internet where we as individuals get to decide where we go on the Internet instead of being told by Internet service providers, or manipulated by Internet service providers, into going where they want us to go.
Implementation of SB 822: Now that the bill has passed, it is being challenged by the American Cable Association (and others) in the U.S. District Court for California and will be considered during January/February 2019. Meanwhile, over 20 other states are introducing and passing similar legislation and related resolutions. Also, now that Democrats control the U.S. Congress, there is a possibility that Federal Legislation can be moved forward to re-instate net neutrality at the Federal level. The advocacy groups include the National Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), CoSN, ISTE, and others, continue to advocate for both State and Federal net neutrality legislation. Additionally, FCC Commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, (former CUE advocacy award recipient) continues to advocate for restoration of net neutrality as evidenced by her Tweet:
California Governor Jerry Brown just signed a net neutrality bill. A hefty thank you to the Golden State for your effort to get right what the FCC got so wrong when it rolled back open Internet protections late last year. The fight to save net neutrality continues!
CUE continues to monitor and actively support potential Federal legislation and efforts to restore net neutrality.
SB 830-Media Literacy Bill Signed and Chaptered: This bill would require, on or before July 1, 2019, the California Department of Education to make available to school districts on its Internet Web site a list of resources and instructional materials on media literacy, as defined, including media literacy professional development programs for teachers. According to SB 830, “Digital citizenship” means a diverse set of skills related to current technology and social media, including the norms of appropriate, responsible, and healthy behavior. “Media literacy” means the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and use media and encompasses the foundational skills that lead to digital citizenship. This bill was signed by the Governor on September 17, 2018. To read SB 830 (Section 51206.4 to the Education Code, relating to pupil instruction) click here.
CUE Legislator and Advocates of the Year Awards
Because of his dedication to education and serving as Principal Author of the CUE Initiated Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR 268). Former Assembly Member and now State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond was selected to receive the CUE Legislator of the Year Award. It is planned that he will attend the CUE Spring Conference to receive his award.
The Advocate of the Year Award will be presented to two of Senator Scott Wiener’s staff for their work with the Senator and with many organizations (including CUE) to on processing SB 822, the Net Neutrality legislation through the various committees until signed the Governor. CUE Staff will deliver the award Advocacy Awards to Brayden Borcherding and Aria Ghafari at the State Capitol.
CUE Advocacy Strategy: As opportunities arise, CUE continues to be proactive in the development, co-development, sponsorship, and support of state and Federal legislation and resolutions which are consistent with the CUE Legislative Advocacy Platform. The CUE Legislative Advocacy Committee (LAC) meets periodically to take positions on relevant bills, resolutions, policies, and other related actions suggested by the CUE Legislative Consultant, Board Members, staff, and Committee members. Anyone who is interested in being involved in supporting the CUE advocacy effort should contact Mary Kopp, CUE Senior Program Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or John Cradler, email@example.com For earlier Legislative Updates, click here.