CATESOL has legislative advocates in Sacramento and in Carson City to keep our members informed about issues related to teaching English language learners and to inform the legislators of the needs and positions of our membership.
CATESOL is unique in that it represents teachers of English to non-native speakers at every level and type of educational setting.
CATESOL also sends representatives to Washington once a year to meet with U.S. legislators to put forth the concerns of ESL teachers in California and Nevada.
November Elections Update - A Lot of Things Changed and California Stays the Same
The November 2016 elections will be viewed as historic nationally with the election of Donald Trump as our next President and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. But in California the results showed continued domination by Democrats of the electoral and policies process. Kamala Harris cruised to victory over fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez with 65.5% of the vote and there were 16 legislative races that pitted two Democrats against each other. The voters also supported an array of initiatives that included new restrictions on firearms, tighter death penalty timelines, looser criminal sentencing procedures, and increased taxes on upper income earners. In short, California certainly seemed to be an outlier in the greater political drama that played out across the country.
Education-Related Initiatives - From an education perspective, the voters approved several key initiatives including:
Proposition 51 - $9 billion statewide school bond with 54% of the vote
Proposition 54 – Requires all bills to be in print for 3 days before it can be voted on which will be create greater transparancy
Proposition 55 – the 12 year extension of the income tax surcharge on upper income earners with 64% of the vote
Proposition 58 – the repeal of the “English Only” Statues and replacing it with locally driven academic options for EL students passed by 72%
Impact of the Election on ESSA Implementation – After 16 years of the federal No Child Left Behind Congress approved the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Currently the US Department of Education is taking public input on the regulations that will implement the new law. While we do not know very much about what President-Elect Trump might want to achieve in public education, it is very possible that the new administration will prioritize local control over stringent federal requirements. This line of thought could have an impact of requirements like “supplement and not supplant” which are designed to protect funding for targeted populations of vulnerable students. His administration is also likely to support the expansion of charter schools and voucher options. How the new administration will address the implementation of the requirements for how the bottom 5% of schools in academic performance will be calculated is not known. Additionally, how that requirement would be allowed to be implemented in states like California that are developing alternative accountability systems that are not based on a single test score is very unclear as well.
State Legislative Races - While the control of both houses of the state legislature was never in doubt in yesterday’s election, there were a number of key races that would determine whether the Democrats would be able to control both houses with 2/3 majority numbers. Should this occur, it would mean the Democrats would be able to increase taxes and more easily override gubernatorial vetoes. In the Assembly, the Democrats did pick up 3 seats for a total of 55. The seats where party affiliation changed were Assembly District 65 in North Orange County with Democrat Sharon Quirk Silva returning to the Assembly after narrowly beating Young Kim with just 50.8% of the vote. Kim had beaten Quirk Silva two years ago. Democrat Sabrina Cervantes, who had been a district director for neighboring Assembly member Jose Medina, was able to defeat Republican incumbent Eric Linder with 52% of the vote in the heart of Riverside County. Finally, Democrat and former Assembly member Al Muritsuchi, was able to reclaim his seat in the Torrance area of Los Angeles County with a win over David Hadley with 53% of the vote. Hadley had beaten Muritsuchi two years ago in a very low turnout race.
Battle of Dem vs. Dem – some of the most closely watched legislative races were the battles where both candidates were Democrats and were the top two vote getters in the June primaries. Several of these races were important and generated huge campaign spending because they were races that included so called “mod” candidates that were backed by corporate and/or the state Chamber of Commerce and charter school-related funding. In many of these races the moderate pro business candidates were victorious. In all, it appears that 10 of the newly elected legislators will be a part of the growing moderate Democratic Caucus. Some of the more interesting of these Dem vs. Dem races were:
AD 14 (Contra Costa) – Moderate Tim Grayson, a police chaplain and newcomer to politics, defeated Mae Torlakson, wife of current SPI Tom Torlakson with 62% of the vote
AD 24 (Palo Alto) – Moderate Palo Alto City Council member Marc Berman defeated Palo Alto attorney Vicki Veenker with 52% of the vote.
AD 27 (San Jose) – Current San Jose City Council member Ash Kalra defeated moderate Democrat Madison Nguyen who had previously served on the San Jose City Council with 52% of the vote.
AB 30 (Monterey) – Former Assembly member Anna Caballero defeated Karina Alejo, the wife of sitting Assembly member Luis Alejo, handily with 62% of the vote.
AD 39 (Los Angeles) – Former Assembly member Raul Bocanegra regained his seat by beating current Assembly member Patty Lopez handily with 61% of the vote. Their race in 2014 resulted in a shocking upset of Bocanegra who ahs worked for two years to regain his seat. Bocanegra is considered a moderate Democrat on business issues.
AD 47 (San Bernardino) – Current Assembly Member, and member of the Moderate Caucus, Cheryl Brown was defeated in her bid for re-election by Eloise Reyes, an attorney from Colton by 52% of the vote. Brown had angered party leaders this session for her unwillingness to support climate change legislation.
SD 3 (Napa Valley) – Current Assembly member and moderate caucus member Bill Doff defeated former Assembly member Mariko Yamada handily with 59% of the vote.
SD 11 (San Francisco) – Moderate Democrat and member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Scott Weiner defeated civil rights attorney Jane Kim narrowly with 52% of the vote.
SD 35 (South Central Los Angeles) – Democrat Steven Bradford, who was termed out of the Assembly two years ago, defeated Warren Furatani, a former member of the Assembly himself, for the Senate seat that was vacated by Isadora Hall who was running for Congress. Bradford received 54% of the vote.
Impact of the Growing Mod Caucus – While California is electing plenty of Democrats to the state legislature, the focus is on “what type of Democrat” they are electing. The last legislative session showed the moderate, business-back members of the moderate caucus were having an impact5 on key bills. While this loose caucus does not have an official roster and its members ebb and flow based on the issue, it does have political impact. For example, Senator De Leon’s climate change bill from last year was the most high profile example of a bill that was significantly amended because of the unwillingness of moderate Assembly Democrats to support the original version. This policy impact will no doubt carry over into 2017. One legislative focus for 2017 could be on charter school legislation where education unions and management could combine to seek a strengthening of charter school law. Many of these moderate candidates were funded, in part, by charter advocates. These members are likely to show support for charter school positions: Anna Caballero from Monterey, Laura Friedman from Glendale, Scott Weiner from San Francisco, Bill Dodd from Napa, Tim Grayson from Concord, and Marc Berman from Palo Alto could be strong charter school association supporters.
California Ballot Measures on the Nov 2016 ballot
Eighteen measures, which are linked for your review, have qualified for the November 2016 statewide ballot. Many of these are high profile and will have significant funding behind their campaigns. Given that the ballot will be long and the presidential and senatorial candidates will be controlling the media messaging, it will be critical for the education community to help get the word out on the important initiatives that most closely impact school and students.
While many of these initiatives are "worthy" of public debate and action, the length and complexity of the ballot - in a Presidential election year - significantly complicate the job of passing Proposition 51 (the School Bond), Proposition 55 (the extension of tax on upper income earners) and Proposition 58 (the repeal of California's English Only Constitutional Amendment). These are the 3 key measures on which educators are focused.
The supporters of Proposition 51 and 55 are now looking at the polling data and are trying to determine the best way to structure their campaigns to improve the chances of victory. It would not be surprising to see them join forces as the campaign nears its conclusion and send the message to voters that these are the "pro education measures" on the ballot.
We will keep you all informed as the campaigns get rolling and more information becomes available.
California Proposition 58
SB 1174(Lara/Chapter 753/Statutes of 2014) ~ California Multilingual Education Act
- The Field Research Corporation has analyzed various wordings for Proposition 58, and the impact a specific wording has on support for the proposition. Proposition 58 is a measure that would allow school districts to broaden the use of bilingual education, teach English using a variety of programs, and doesn't limit specialized instruction to one year. Please read both the Field Poll and CATESOL's Position Statement regarding Proposition 58.
- One of the most important measures on the November statewide ballot is The California Multilingual Education Act which was sponsored by State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-33) as Senate Bill 1174, or the Multilingual Education for a 21st Century Economy Act.
Proposition 58 would repeal the sheltered English immersion requirement and waiver provisions required by Proposition 227, and instead require that school districts and county offices of education instead provide English learners with a structured English immersion program.
Proposition 227 (the English Language in Public Schools Statute), also known as the English for the Children Act, was introduced by Ron Unz, a software entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, and Gloria Mata Tuchman, a teacher in Santa Ana California. The statute called for changes to the approach used to teach "Limited English Proficient" (LEP) students in California public schools, requiring that special classes be taught predominantly in English and shortening the time that LEP students were in special classes before moving to regular classes.
Proposition 58 would enable school leaders to develop strategies and academic content that better meets the needs of each EL students. The measure would also require more robust parent participation in how the academic programs of their students are developed.
CA Prop 58. Legislative Analyst's Office CA Prop 58. Voter Guide Summary
CA Bills Passed this Session
In the late evening of September 30, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. completed his actions on the bills that reached the Governor’s office before the 2016 Legislative Session ended. Over the course of 2016, 1,059 bills reached Governor Brown, and he signed 898 of them. The Governor vetoed 159 bills, and allowed two to become law without his signature. According to an October 2 Los Angeles Times column, this year’s veto rate of 15% is the highest of Governor Brown’s second tenure in office, and slightly higher than his six-year average veto rate of 13%.
In a news quote, the Governor indicated that he would have been inclined to veto more bills but acknowledged that “he needs to get along with the legislature.” As usual, the Governor reserved his vetoes for bills that, in his mind, were too costly for the state budget to absorb and for bills that over reached in terms of their policy goals.
Among the bills acted upon by the Governor were several bills that were of importance to CATESOL. Attached are the bills we have been following on behalf of CATESOL. While several bills CATESOL supported were not approved by the legislature, there were some important victories both from an EL policy and community college staffing stand point. Please click on the link to get the full report.
US DOE Newcomer Tool Kit
The White House announced on June 30, 2016 "Bright Spots for welcoming and expanding opportunities for Linguistic Integration and Education. The President's announcement identified a list or resources including the introduction of the Department of Education's Newcomer Toolkit designed to help schools support immigrants, refugees and their families with a successful integration process. The toolkit will provide information, resources, and examples of effective practices that educators can use to support newcomers in their schools and communities.
The statement above is based on an email sent by: Libia S. Gil, Ph.D., Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) U.S. Department of Education Libia.Gil@ed.gov (202) 401-4300