Two bills put forward by Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) as part of her legislative package that focuses heavily on education passed their respective Senate policy committees, a key hurdle before moving to the Senate Appropriations Committee in coming weeks.
“Education is the great equalizer – in order to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment rates for the long-term, we must ensure that every student in California has access to a top-quality education, regardless of their zip code or background,” Olsen said.
AB 1099, which passed the Senate Education committee in a five to one vote would require schools to disclose anonymous and high-level teacher quality metrics and school funding priorities.
Essentially, the bill would allow parents to engage with schools on a more active basis through the required disclosure of this information relating to evaluation processes used for certificated teaching staff. Additionally schools would be required to disclose whether or not it has adopted an evaluation system for school principals.
“Teacher effectiveness is the most important in-school factor for student success and it should be made clear to parents how their child’s school is measuring teacher quality,” said Olsen. “This bill is a small step toward making sure that every student in California has access to a top-quality education.”
Through an application process, AB 1161, which passed the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance in a 6-0 vote, would establish a pilot program in five counties based on specified criteria for high-quality preschool education for low-income and English-learner students to be funded through private investments in exchange for state tax credits. The state of California does provide early education programs currently, however there are long wait lists of over 200,000 families as a result of high current enrollment demands.
The five-year pilot program offers businesses a 40 percent state tax credit for their investment in a California Preschool Investment Fund (CalPIF). The funding would allow for more spots in these school’s early education programs as the State Preschool Program receives funding from CalPIF. The program is self-sustaining in nature in that it would not cause the state to incur any additional costs as CalPIF would be required to reimburse the State General Fund for administration costs and any distributed tax credits.
“AB 1161 expands early education opportunities without creating a new state program, or raising costs on taxpayers,” said Olsen. “By harnessing the power of the private sector, we can allow more low-income students to enter preschool, which will help prepare them for academic success well into their futures.
“These bills are a part of my ongoing effort to prioritize educational opportunity and excellence for our kids.”