Press Release posted 4/20/13 – Sacramento – The Senate Education Committee took action today to defeat reforms intended to help California students by voting against measures authored by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar). With the actions of the Senate Education Committee, students have been denied the right to public school choice regardless of their socioeconomic or ethnic background and parents will not have any voice or power to make positive changes at California’s lowest performing schools.
SB 451 and SB 452 are part of the Senate Republican Education Reform Package. Both measures had earned the support of a number of parent and student organizations, including American Center for School Choice, California Charter Schools Association Advocates, Democrats for Education Reform, Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, Parents Advocate League and 32 Por Mexico. Many people from these organizations testified on behalf of Senator Huff’s legislation.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed by today’s committee action,” said Senator Huff. “Committee members had a chance today to improve the lives of many California students and give them the kind of education opportunities that all students deserve. But reform and change scare some people. Committee members instead voted to keep the status quo.”
SB 451 would have expanded public school choice for all students and also would have empowered parents by allowing them to choose which public school serves their children best. Senator Huff introduced the measure because current law assigns students to schools based on their zip-code, and as a result California does not have an equal and fair distribution of education benefits. Opportunities for a quality education exist only for those who have the financial means to acquire it by moving to a neighborhood with high performing public schools or paying for a private education.
SB 452 would have expanded the landmark Parent Empowerment Act to include the lowest performing schools. The Parent Empowerment Act enables parents in certain underperforming schools to make real changes to their schools if a majority of parents sign a petition to authorize reforms.
“The Senate Education Committee may have voted down both bills, but these issues are not going to go away,” said Senator Huff. “Our effort to bring change to ensure that every child has the opportunity for a great education grows with every passing day. We must prevail for our students.”