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In This Moment (10/30): State Senate Hearing on Distancing Learning

October 30, 2020 | Iish Ryaru

This week we address an inquiry from the field about the status of new career measures to be included in the College/Career Indicator and how these measures will be reflected on the California School Dashboard.

In other news on Monday, October 26, the California State Senate held an informational hearing on the challenges around distance learning.

If you have additional policy updates that would be valuable for the Linked Learning field, please share them with Iish@LinkedLearning.org.


College/Career Indicator (CCI): Inclusion of New Career Measures in Dashboard

As part of Agenda Item 02 of the September State Board of Education meeting, the Board focused on building out the College/Career Indicator, continuing work on the student growth model, and exploring school-level data collected through the local indicators with potential for state-wide relevance.

As noted in our September 11, 2020 blog post, the Board adopted four new career measures for inclusion in the CCI:

  • Pre-Apprenticeships - available to both traditional schools and Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS) schools
  • State and Federal Job Programs - available only to DASS schools
  • Transition Work-Based Learning Experiences – available only to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • Transition Classroom-Based Learning Experiences – available only to students with IEPs and a certificate of completion

The SBE’s action on Item 02 to approve the four new career measures will allow the CDE to report out on them publicly this fall. According to the CDE, while the reported data on these new measures “...will not be used to determine a color performance on the Dashboard, the CDE and stakeholders agree that it is important to demonstrate how schools are performing in the areas of career readiness and to recognize the success of schools that are implementing these career programs.”

We will continue to monitor how the data on the new career measures will be reported by the CDE, and will provide additional updates and opportunities to provide feedback as they become available.


Senate Holds Informational Hearing on Distance Learning

The Senate Committee on Education and the Select Committee on Emergency Pandemic Response held an informational hearing examining the challenges of distance learning on October 26, 2020.

Martha Guzman Aceves, a Commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and a panelist during the hearing, expressed concern that high-speed, broadband internet access is still not considered, or treated as, a utility, saying, “We need to govern the internet as the essential service that it is. It is a utility. This essential service needs to be regulated like one and legislated like one.”

Beyond simple access, members of the committee also explored issues around current state standards for subsidized broadband internet projects, and whether those are sufficient for students to meaningfully engage in educational activities. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, a panelist during the hearing, also remarked, “We can work with the CPUC and the Department of Transportation, we can put out a recommendation (on this issue); but without legislation or regulation, it will not have any impact.”

Since this was an informational hearing, no actual policy decisions could be made. However, members use the information and discussions from these hearings to help shape future legislative proposals.

It is very likely that several bills will be introduced early in the 2021 Legislative Session to address broadband challenges and other critical issues related to public education such as mental health, student learning loss, childcare, and disaster/wildfire response.