September 12, 2023
State Superintendent-Sponsored Bills on Inclusive Education Head to the Governor’s Desk
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today celebrated several pieces of legislation he is sponsoring passing the Legislature and heading to the Governor’s desk.
One of those key pieces of legislation is Assembly Bill (AB) 1078, authored by Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Perris), which would impose a fine on any district that bans a book, especially in an attempt to discriminate against students of color or LGBTQ+ students.
“Inclusive school policies and programs—including those ensuring that Black, Indigenous, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+ students see themselves reflected in class curriculum—benefit all students,” said Thurmond. “Inclusive education can increase student academic outcomes and greater cultural understanding and awareness that helps to build empathy, affirm diversity, and foster greater connection among all students.”
Earlier this year, Thurmond launched a Task Force on Inclusive Education to work with textbook publishers to diversity the content that students see in instructional materials.
Against the backdrop of culture wars being waged by states and some California school districts, including forced “outing” school board policies, Thurmond is dedicated to fight for inclusive education for all California students. “Forced outing policies separate LGBTQ+ students from their support systems both at home and at school,” said Thurmond. “Having a safe space to speak candidly with peers and trained counselors is important for every LGBTQ+ young person, and it is critical for those who are not out to their families, or whose families have not yet accepted their identity.”
Thurmond is sponsoring two bills to foster inclusive school environments for LGBTQ+ students. AB 5 “The Safe and Supportive Schools Act”, authored by Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Los Angeles), would require schools serving grades 7–12 in California to provide staff training to support LGBTQ+ pupils. These efforts have been in development since Thurmond was an Assemblymember, and authored AB 2153 (Thurmond; 2018) and sponsored AB 493 (Ch. 775, Stats. 2019). “Every student deserves to feel safe, supported, and affirmed at school—and that includes LGBTQ+ students,” said Thurmond.
Senate Bill (SB) 760 by Senator Newman (D-Fullerton) would require all K–12 schools in California to provide appropriate and equitable access to all-gender restrooms for students to use during school hours. This bill is a product of the Superintendent’s Safe School Bathrooms Ad Hoc Committee comprised of over 30 high school and college students across California. “We have to give our students all the support they need, including access to bathrooms they can use safely,” Thurmond said.
All three bills have successfully passed out of the California Legislature and are headed to the Governor’s desk for signature.
State Superintendent Thurmond is sponsoring the following additional bills that are currently on the Floor or heading to the Governor’s desk:
- AB 483—Muratsuchi (D-Torrance): Provides reforms to the process by which the Department of Health Care Services audit claims made by schools under the Medi-Cal Local Educational Agency Billing Option Program (LEA BOP) to increase access to school-based health and mental health services by students.
- AB 800—Ortega (D-Hayward): Requires all secondary schools to observe the week that includes April 28 as “Workplace Readiness Week" and provide information about workers’ rights.
- AB 1127—Reyes (D-San Bernardino): Reestablishes the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program.
- SB 88—Skinner (D-Oakland): Requires drivers of and vehicles used to provide pupil transportation for compensation by a local education educational agency to meet certain safety requirements.
- SB 274—Skinner (D-Oakland): Prohibits suspensions and expulsions for willful defiance.
- SB 348—Skinner (D-Oakland): Requires schools to provide students with adequate time to eat and requires the California Department of Education and the California School Nutrition Association to develop guidelines to reduce sugar and sodium content in school meals.
- SB 765—Portantino (D-Glendale): Allows California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) members to return to an education position more expeditiously and raises the income cap from 50 percent to 70 percent.
# # # #
Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100