As of September 30th, the 2017-18 legislative session officially came to an end with the Governor taking final action on the bills sent to him by the Legislature before they adjourned on August 31st. The issues debated this year were diverse and, at times, controversial ranging from wildfire liability to privacy to sexual harassment and more. Impacting much of the debate and shaping policy proposals were actions taken at the federal level by the Trump Administration and also by the #MeToo movement. In the final weeks of the legislative session, hundreds of bills were heard and ultimately, many received enough support to pass. Further, this session was Governor Brown's final round as he moves towards the end of his fourth and final term as governor.
In terms of a historical perspective, since 2011 Governor Brown vetoed 10.7% to 15% of the bills he was presented. This year's totals were at 1,016 bills signed and 201 vetoed, with his highest veto rate ever at 16.5%.
Among the many bills signed this session was CCAE and CAEAA's sponsored bill, AB 2098 (McCarty), related to immigrant integration. You will recall that the proposal was originally part of our FY 18-19 Budget framework along with increased funding, instituting a COLA, changing the term "grant" in AEBG and addressing the inequities in the indirect rates. As shared with the field in our July update, the Department of Finance, Administration and budget committees ultimately decided the issue needed to go through a policy process rather than a budget process. Hence, we moved quickly to identify authors in Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento)(Chair, Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education) and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond)(Candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction). Both members were a pleasure to work for and wholeheartedly supported moving the bill forward.
Fortunately, there was widespread, bipartisan agreement that instituting immigrant integration metrics into the Adult Education Program, as applicable, made sense to ensure the needs and outcomes of our immigrant and refugee students who may not yet measure up against the Program's current academic literacy and career progress metrics were explicitly accounted for going forward. As you all know better than anyone, serving immigrant and refugee adults in need of English language skills has been at the core of adult education since its inception. Immigrant and refugee students come to adult schools to develop literacy, and in doing so, gain cultural competency and literacy more broadly defined as health, financial, digital literacy, parenting and family literacy, and civic engagement, all also critical to successful transition to college and careers.
To be clear, AB 2098 is permissive and applies as applicable for adult schools and community colleges. It seeks to address the lack of metrics for these students in the Program by incorporating immigrant integration metrics consistent with English Language Civics ("EL Civics") and associated Civic Objectives and Additional Assessment Plans (COAAPs) that are already in use for federal WIOA reporting purposes into the Adult Education Program. Doing so will help preserve and ensure access and support for these students who are most in need of the programs and services offered in adult education by providing the tools for the students and adult education providers to demonstrate outcomes and progress for these students. Also of note, while permissive as applicable, the language also provides flexibility for those adult schools, community colleges and partners who are collaborating and pushing the boundaries of the EL Civics to be able to do so for the benefit of their students.
At the end of the day, the Legislature wholeheartedly passed AB 2098 with unanimous, bipartisan support and no "NO" votes. The bill was subsequently sent to the Governor who signed the bill on September 26th.
Kudos to you all for your support, letters and overall assistance in pushing the bill to the finish line - this is a significant victory for you and for the students we serve. And thank you to San Jose City Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose - Evergreen Community College District, ACCE, ALLIES, ACSA, CATESOL, CFT Local 4681, the California Immigrant Policy Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action and many other organizations across the state who provided support and grassroots engagement. Congratulations!
For more information on AB 2098, please see http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2098.
Looking Ahead to 2019, Moving Adult Education Forward
It is that time of the year when CAEAA and CCAE begin formulating priorities for the next budget cycle and legislative session. As you know, it is an election year with not only a host of changes in legislative offices possible but also changes in important statewide offices such as for Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction. While it will be some time yet before we are able to fully understand the priorities of the newly elected, we must get started on determining our own priorities for adult education to continue to move us forward. In this regard, we would welcome feedback from the field on policy and budget proposals you would like to see considered for action in 2019. Some of the issues we are already considering include additional funding in the budget, legislation to address the challenges and reciprocity for credentialing of teachers, Education Code changes, career technical education investments and fees, and more. If you have ideas about these issues or others you'd like to have considered by both boards, please share with us no later than October 15th. While we have some time, we must begin evaluating the proposed priorities, determining which to move forward in 2019, prepare language and materials, and begin reaching out to the Department of Finance, Legislature and stakeholders to ensure the smoothest path to success we can hope to achieve.
We thank you for your engagement and look forward to another productive legislative and budget year ahead in support of adult education!