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California higher education leaders have high hopes for Newsom's spending plans

Newsom, who is to be inaugurated Jan. 7, starts off with an estimated $14.8 billion state budget surplus and, as a result, high expectations among higher education leaders and experts that he will keep many of his campaign promises. Among those pledges: more money to the state’s university systems to avoid tuition hikes, two years of free community college, financial aid reform and better coordination throughout higher education.

Cal State system reports improvement in graduation rates

State Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, who chairs the Assembly’s Committee on Higher Education, said Wednesday in an interview that he is “happy to see the growth and it’s certainly something that Governor Brown and the Legislature have paid much attention to.” And even if the increases are not huge, “at least it’s in the right direction.” Medina noted that graduation rates vary widely among Cal State campuses and that he wants to examine campus numbers when those are released.

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes bill regarding ethnic studies as high school graduation requirement

Ethnic studies will still not be a high school graduation requirement in up to 11 California school districts because of Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to veto AB 2772.

AB 2772 proposed a three-year pilot program formulated by Assemblymembers Jose Medina, D-Riverside, Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, and Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, which would mandate a semester- or yearlong ethnic studies course as a graduation requirement during the 2020-2023 school years.

Assemblymember Medina, a former ethnic studies teacher, said in a statement via email that he is disappointed in Brown’s decision.

“The history taught in our classrooms is not inclusive of the diversity that makes up California and that needs to change,” Medina said in his statement. “As a former Ethnic Studies teacher, I’ve seen first-hand the excitement and increased level of engagement students experience when they personally connect to the coursework. Ethnic Studies is a powerful mechanism that helps broaden the understanding of backgrounds and cultures different from our own.”

California community colleges seek larger Cal Grants to cover students' living costs

And despite the price tag, some state lawmakers are signaling support for transforming the Cal Grant, which is already considered one of the most generous state aid programs in the country because of the amounts of money that it offers students.

“We know that tuition is only a portion of the cost students face when attending college and I believe we should expand use of Cal Grant to also cover living expenses and transportation to help lighten the burden students face,” said Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside), who chairs the higher education committee in the state Assembly.

Ethnic Studies courses should be a requirement for high school students

A bill recently introduced by Assemblyman Jose Medina, (D-Riverside), a former ethnic studies teacher, seeks to make ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement in California. The bill, AB 2772 passed the Assembly floor on June 27 and is awaiting a vote in the State Senate. If passed, it would require all high school students to take one semester of ethnic studies in order to graduate, beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.

The ethnic studies kids are alright

The California Legislature is trying to make one semester of ethnic studies a statewide high school graduation requirement and a bill funding pilot programs is headed to the governor’s desk this week. Those who oppose the idea obviously have never taken a Chicano studies course. I urge them to do so. They’ll find a roomful of young Latinos learning that they, too, are a part of this state and country and should contribute to it. What a radical concept.

Capital Report: Brown signs bill allowing undocumented students to serve on college boards

On Monday, Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) announced that Gov. Jerry Brown had signed Medina’s public education governance bill, AB1887, into law on Friday, Aug. 24. Under the new bill, all students eligible for in-state tuition are allowed to serve on college boards and committees regardless of age or citizenship status. Specifically, the law applies to undocumented students who are eligible for in-state tuition under California Education Code 68130.

Bill to overturn California’s murder-accomplice rule gets Assembly approval

SB1437 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would limit murder convictions to those who actually commit the crime, changing current law that holds accomplices to the same standard as those who actually committed the crime under what is called the felony murder rule.

The bill now heads back to the Senate, where it passed previously. If approved there again, the bill would head to Gov. Jerry Brown.

SB1437 would allow those who have been convicted as an accomplice to murder to petition a court to be re-sentenced. The bill exempts any case in which a police officer was killed.