By Mikhail Zinshteyn
A bill to waive first-year tuition at community college for all California residents attending full-time is awaiting the governor’s signature after winning support from a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the state Legislature Wednesday.
If signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Bill 19 would allow for an estimated 19,000 additional students to take advantage of the state’s generous subsidies for community college students — irrespective of their financial need — under a new program called California College Promise.
For the bill to have teeth, it needs money appropriated from the state, and currently AB 19 has no funding mechanism. The Department of Finance, which advises Gov. Jerry Brown on fiscal issues, opposed the passage of the bill in August because of the estimated $30 million to $50 million price tag to enroll the additional students. The department also dinged the bill for expanding financial aid to students who don’t need it, “which is inconsistent with the Administration’s effort to target financial aid to the state’s neediest students.”
Source: Gov. Brown weighing support for free first year of community college | EdSource
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Friday urged all local educational agencies throughout the state to immediately begin issuing diplomas to those students who have met all other high school graduation requirements in the 2014-15 school year except the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).
Senate Bill 725, authored by Senator Loni Hancock, passed by legislators, and signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown, eliminated the CAHSEE requirement for an estimated 5,000 students who were unable to take the July exit exam after the test was no longer available.
“This is a key part of the legislation the California Department of Education sponsored back in February to assure students would still get their high school diplomas and thus be assured of their admission to our four-year universities would not be impeded,” Torlakson said.
In a letter to county and district superintendents, charter school administrators, and CAHSEE coordinators, Torlakson wrote, “Local educational agencies may immediately begin issuing diplomas to eligible students.”
via Torlakson Urges Diplomas be Granted – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
A total of $28.4 million in grants have been handed out to 38 states by the Department of Education in an effort to offer low-income students the ability to take Advanced Placement exams to boost their readiness for college and career life.
Schools that received the grant money will now be able to offer the AP exams to students at a reduced rate of $12, totaling a savings of as much as $29 per exam. Individual states may decide to ask students to pay a portion of that cost.
- “These grants are a smart investment in equity and a way to eliminate barriers for low-income students, level the playing field and allow more students to access the college-level critical thinking and reasoning skills taught in AP courses,” John King, U.S. Department of Education, said in a statement. “These grants are a smart investment in equity and a way to eliminate barriers for low-income students, level the playing field and allow more students to access the college-level critical thinking and reasoning skills taught in AP courses.”
via Dept of Ed Awards AP Grant Money for Low-Income Students.
By Susan Frey
Lawmakers have set aside $10 million in one-time funds to be used during the next three years to train teachers and administrators across the state on how to use more positive approaches to disciplining students.
The funding, which was part of a trailer bill to implement the budget, is for training educators to develop a Multi-Tiered System of Supports — from creating a positive school climate for all students to providing individualized counseling to troubled students. The funding is a response to recommendations from the Statewide Special Education Task Force report, said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the California Department of Finance. The task force found that students in special education are disproportionately suspended and expelled, and recommended the multi-tiered approach to school discipline.
via Budget allocates $10 million for training in positive discipline | EdSource.