Commentary: Streamline and modernize the Cal Grant program for students

We could not imagine the hardships of being a student in 2021. Today, students face numerous hurdles in pursuing higher education, including competitive acceptance rates, the lack of jobs after graduation, delayed degree completion and disjointed resources for housing, basic needs and mental health. 

On top of these struggles is figuring out how to pay for college, particularly for those who are low-income, but find themselves locked out of student aid programs. Our students will determine the future of this state, and we must do more to support their academic success.

Opinion: Newsom must sign ethnic studies graduation requirement

Nearly two decades ago as legislative staff, I drafted the first bill aiming to standardize ethnic studies in California high schools. Last week was surreal as I witnessed the California Legislature give final approval to Assembly Bill 101, by Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, that would make California the first state in the nation to require an ethnic studies course for high school graduation.

Ethnic Studies in California

Among California’s many distinctions, the state stands out for the minimal requirements it imposes for high-school graduation, among the most lenient in the United States. California is one of a handful of states that require just three years of English and two years of math to earn a high-school diploma. The last revision to the list of 13 required courses was back in 2003, when state lawmakers added Algebra I.

Major expansion of Cal Grant financial aid proposed for state’s college students

Nearly 200,000 more California college students could receive state assistance for tuition and living expenses under one of the largest expansions of the Cal Grant financial aid program ever proposed, according to details released Tuesday.

The plan, unveiled by the California Student Aid Commission and two legislators, would eliminate some current requirements for the main Cal Grant award that favor younger students within a year out of high school who have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Instead, it would broaden access to older students and others not currently eligible.

Letter: The value of teaching ethnic studies

Tom Elias (“Educate, don’t promote grudges,” Sept. 16) attacks the teaching of ethnic studies in the public schools. He distorts and misrepresents the facts. Elias ignores, for example, that, in adding an ethnic studies component to the public schools curriculum, the hope is to educate our children about our society’s full history.