By Beth Meyerhoff, California State PTA Education Advocate
Assembly Bill 1703 (Ramos)
California State PTA supports Assembly Bill 1703 (Ramos). This bill would change California’s education code to encourage school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to establish a California Indian TaskForces with California Tribes local to their region or historically located in their region to discuss and update a high-quality curriculum around Indian education.
The current curriculum on Native American history may be inaccurate or misleading. By partnering with local California Tribes, schools can ensure that the curriculum educates California students on their local tribes and culture.
The bill would also require the California Department of Education to submit a report to the education committees of both houses of the legislature regarding narrowing the achievement gap and adoption of the curriculum.
Accurate and culturally relatable California Indian history will help make the school curriculum relevant for Indian students and help all students become informed about their local California Tribes.
By Anita Avrick, Education Legislation Advocate
AB 1614 (Muratsuchi)
It’s Time to Raise the Base Grant
California State PTA supports increasing school funding for all students. Our students deserve adequate funding for a full curriculum. AB 1614 (Muratsuchi) would raise the amount of money used as a base grant in California’s public school funding formula. California State PTA has voted to sponsor this bill.
In 2013-14, California enacted the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) which is how schools are allocated money in California. LCFF is intended to provide school districts with greater discretion in using their funds to educate students while providing an emphasis on additional resources for those with greater needs.
In the 2018-19 Budget, LCFF was fully funded. However, California was still below average per-pupil funding rates when compared with other states. There is still inadequate funding of the base to cover rising fixed costs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, greater flexibility is now needed by local school districts to focus on sustaining and expanding a student-centered recovery. All school districts will benefit from base grant increases.
Currently, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) states that there will be an additional $8.4 billion available for ongoing K-12 priorities that can be used to address changes school districts and our students are facing. In addition, in the Governor’s proposed budget for the year 2022-23, $102 billion for Proposition 98 funding includes $3.3 billion in Proposition 98 funding for LCFF, but no additional funding for the base grants.
AB 1614 takes $4.2 billion (half of the estimated Proposition 98 increase) and adds it into the LCFF above the statutory Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for the 2022-23 budget year. The base rates would increase by about $3.4 billion and would also provide increases of the supplemental and concentration grant by roughly $750 million each. The goal is to bring California into the top ten states in the country for K-12 per-pupil spending.
By California State PTA Legislation Team with the Health and Community Concerns and Education Commissions
With the governor’s signing of Assembly Bill (AB) 101 Ethnic Studies (Medina), California is the first state in the country to require that every high school student take an ethnic studies course in order to graduate. This bill, which was supported by California State PTA, requires schools to offer ethnic studies beginning with the 2025-26 school year and makes the one-semester ethnic studies course a graduation requirement beginning with the 2029-30 school year.
Students must take a course that meets one of the following requirements:
- A course based on the model curriculum, which was approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) in March 2021.
- An existing ethnic studies course already offered at their high school.
- A course that has been approved as meeting the A-G requirements for the University of California and the California State University.
- A locally developed ethnic studies course approved by the school board or the governing body of the charter school.
The ethnic studies course requirement is important because it seeks to include voices that have not always been represented in instructional materials – voices of Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans. Ethnic-studies advocates cite evidence that the inclusion of voices often omitted from traditional lessons and texts can lead to more student engagement and improved general academic performance.
School districts can use the model curriculum, adopted on March 18, 2021, by the California State Board of Education, as a guide to new instructional materials. AB 101 also enables school districts to create their own lesson plans. As a result, the content of ethnic studies courses may vary from district to district. Many school districts in California such as Los Angeles Unified and Fresno Unified already have ethnic studies courses.
The new high school graduation requirement follows last year’s Assembly Bill 1460 signed by Governor Newsom which requires California State University students to take an ethnic studies course in order to earn their university degree. An ethnic studies course as a graduation requirement has already been vetoed twice: once by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018, who stated in his veto message that he was concerned about overwhelmed students and again in 2020 by Governor Newsom who vetoed the measure since the model ethnic studies curriculum had not yet been adopted.
California State PTA supported this bill in order to provide the most comprehensive and diversified education possible for all children. Specifically, California State PTA supports curricula that develop an awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity designed to help students to develop personal worth and confidence in one’s own abilities.
To Learn More About this Topic
The basis for PTA’s support of AB 101 includes:
Articles that provide more background and perspective: