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Which Education Bills Made the Cut? (Part I)

By Cathy Bui - September 30, 2008

After the recent enactment of the 2008-09 budget, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger began determining the fate of over 850 bills waiting on his desk.  Today is the deadline for the Governor to sign – or veto – the bills passed by the legislature.  Starting with this update, we will provide you with a summary of some of the bills signed or vetoed by the Governor.

Here is a summary of several bills approved or vetoed by the Governor since this past Sunday.

Curriculum and Instruction
AB 2135 (Mendoza) – Vetoed 09/28/2008
This bill requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to revise the reading and language arts framework to include, as a core program, an English Development Literacy Program during the next revision cycle.

The SBE adopted the 2007 English Literacy Arts Frameworks & Evaluation Criteria on April 17, 2006.  These criteria have guided publishers in the development of instructional materials to be submitted for adoption. According to the California Department of Education (CDE) those materials have been developed, are in production, and are up for being reviewed for adoption by the SBE in November 2008.  The instructional materials selected by the SBE for adoption will be in California classrooms until 2014.

Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed this bill because of his concern that this bill would circumvent the decision by the SBE. 

Pesonnel / Human Resources
AB 2167 (De Leon) – Vetoed 09/28/2008

This bill expands the rights of classified employees of local education agencies (LEAs) and community college districts to challenge frivolous information and have it removed from their personnel records.  Under AB 2167, anyone who doesn’t like their evaluation could insist on it being removed.  The purpose of AB 2167 was intended to be narrow in scope, and give those very few employees that have unknowingly had something negative placed into their personnel file the ability to have that material removed.  This bill would have imposed some additional duties and responsibilities on LEAs and creates a reimbursable mandate for LEAs.

The Governor vetoed this bill because he believes current law already provides adequate protection for school employees to review the contents of documents in their personnel file, and provide a rebuttal.  In his veto message, the Governor stated that enacting this bill could hinder the reasonable process of school management personnel to fairly evaluate and discipline employees.

Pupil Information
SB 1298 (Simitian) – Chaptered 09/29/2008

This bill establishes processes by which LEAs and public institutions of higher education issue, maintain, and report information using the unique statewide student identifiers required under current law.  This bill (a) convenes a high-level working group to decide the best governance structure for the data system, (b) directs the State Chief Information Officer to prepare a strategy plan outlining a clear path for technical implementation, and (c) requires the various education segments to begin using a common student identifier, so that once a governance structure and technical architecture are in place, records can be linked from pre-K through the university.  Overall this bill establishes the Education Data and Information Act of 2008.
Pupil Restraint and Safety
SB 1515 (Kuehl) – Vetoed 09/29/2008

This bill would prohibit an educational provider from using chemical and mechanical restraining and limits the use of physical restraint and seclusion.  While in the Assembly, this bill underwent numerous changes and the major provisions were reworked without altering the intent of the author.  The changes include (a) to authorize the school safety plan to include rules and procedures regarding restraint, (b) clarify definitions, (c) further specify conditions under which restraint is authorized, and (d) limit to pupils with disabilities the prohibitions in the bill related to physical restraint.

This bill was vetoed because the Governor felt the provisions of this bill were too prescriptive.

Pupil Services: Early Development and Learning
SB 1629 (Steinberg) – Chaptered 09/26/2008

SB 1629 establishes the Early Learning Quality Improvement System Advisory Committee to propose recommendations on how to evaluate and improve the quality of child development programs providing services from birth to age five, including preschool.  This includes a quality rating scale for parents to make informed decisions about programs for their children.  The bill also establishes a framework for future resources necessary to achieve and maintain higher quality programs and ensures that children receive either part-day or full-day child development services based on the needs of the family.

Teacher Credentialing and Development
SB 1660 (Romero) – Chaptered 09/25/2008

This bill authorizes a school district to expend Professional Development Block Grant (PDBG) funds to compensate new and existing mathematics, science, and special teachers in schools ranked in deciles 1, 2, or 3 of the Academic Performance Index in a manner separate from the salary schedule.  This bill requires a school district that utilizes the authority to compensate mathematics, science, and special education teachers to submit an annual report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the education policy committees of the legislature, and the Director of Finance on the amount of PDBG funds used for this purpose.

Stay tuned for Friday’s EdBrief update, which will include more extensive reports on key bills signed or vetoed by the Governor.

Editor's Note: Cathy Bui  conducts legislative and policy reserach on education issues for Governmental Solutions Group, LLC in Sacramento.  Prior to joining GSG, Ms. Bui worked in the office of Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.