April 29, 2022
State Superintendent-Sponsored Bills on Mental Health and Improving Equitable Outcomes Progress Toward Becoming Law
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today celebrated several new pieces of legislation he is sponsoring making it one step closer to becoming law, thus improving the lives of California students and their road to success in the classroom.
One of those key pieces of legislation is Senate Bill (SB) 1229, authored by Senator Mike McGuire (D-North Coast). On Wednesday, Thurmond testified at the Senate Education Committee in support of the bill, which will add 10,000 mental health professionals to support schools and youth throughout the state.
“Given the struggles students have faced during the pandemic, I believe that this could be one of the most important bills that we act on this year. At this time, addressing the social–emotional needs of our students is job number one,” said Thurmond.
This bill stemmed from an unprecedented need for youth mental health supports as we emerge from two years of a global pandemic that has affected every community but often hit hardest in communities of color, leaving some of the most vulnerable students with additional trauma and disproportionate gaps in learning, engagement, and development. SB 1229 passed out of Senate Education Committee and will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee in May.
A second bill sponsored by Thurmond heard this week by the Assembly Education Committee was Assembly Bill (AB) 2794, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson). AB 2794 would distribute resources to provide crisis intervention and de-escalation training.
“This bill sets the foundation for a de-escalation model that will give schools the tools they need to defuse violent situations before they get out of control,” Thurmond said. “We continue to see evidence that adding cops to campuses is not the solution. Instead, we need to train adults in the types of de-escalation methods that keep our students from falling victim to the school-to-prison pipeline.”
The bill passed out of the Assembly Education Committee and will be heard next in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Thurmond’s third piece of sponsored legislation heard this week by the State Legislature was AB 2774, authored by Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego). The bill is a direct outcome of the work of Thurmond’s task force on Improving Black Student Achievement and his steadfast commitment to addressing institutional racism and the inequities that have caused disproportionate learning gaps for Black students and other students of color. The hearing brought out hundreds of students in support of the bill and of the resources and direct services it would provide to close the achievement gap for Black students throughout California. The bill passed unanimously on Wednesday and will be heard next in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“We’re excited to be a part of big changes to transform schools, and we must now ensure that these programs and resources have the greatest impact,” Thurmond said. “We have a historic budget, and these investments are crucial to allowing us to meet the extraordinary challenges for our students, families, and educators are facing during this pandemic and allow us to transform California schools.”
State Superintendent Thurmond sponsors the following additional bills that are currently on their way to the Appropriations Committee or still on the Floor:
- AB 2465 – Bonta (D-Oakland): Provides multifaceted strategy including family and community literacy, biliteracy, digital tools, and library access to support a student's ability to learn to read.
- AB 2088 – Cooper (D-Elk Grove): Provides state funding to high schools to administer a paid internship program for students. The state would also provide criteria for high-quality internship opportunities.
- AB 2694 – Rubio (D-Baldwin Park): Supports the induction of 45,000 new teachers currently teaching under waiver provided by executive order but who would still need to complete the Teaching Performance Assessment and/or the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment.
- SB 952 – Limón (D-Santa Barbara): Issues grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) and California State Preschool Programs to help them expand dual language immersion programs.
- SB 364 – Skinner (D-Berkeley): Provides 2.5 school meals to students per day, and provides new infrastructure grants for school sites.
- AB 1703 – Ramos (D-Highland): Encourages local educational agencies (LEAs) and charter schools to form California Indian Education Task Forces to develop curricular materials on the history, culture, and government of local tribes, and requires the Task Forces to submit a report of findings to the CDE.
- AB 2806 – Rubio (D-Baldwin Park): Prohibits suspensions and expulsions in state preschool and child care programs.
- SB 830 – Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge): Uses “average daily membership” (enrollment) instead of average daily attendance (ADA) to calculate state funding for LEAs and county offices of education.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100