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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #23-67
September 15, 2023
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Highlights Inclusive Education, Teacher Pipeline, and Student Well-Being and Success Bills Now on the Governor’s Desk

SACRAMENTO—Eleven bills sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and seven bills Thurmond supports have achieved a significant milestone: They were successfully passed by both the State Senate and the State Assembly. The bills, which largely address inclusive education, the teacher pipeline, and student well-being and success, are now on the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom, who has until October 14, 2023, to sign the bills into law.

“I’m pleased that these key pieces of legislation, which protect inclusive education, help open the teacher pipeline, and support the mental health and well-being of students, have passed the Legislature and are now being considered by the Governor,” Thurmond said. “This is an important step in building a brighter future for all of California’s students. I applaud the efforts of our legislators and everyone involved who worked on these important pieces of legislation.”

One of the key pieces of legislation to protect inclusive education is Assembly Bill (AB) 1078. Authored by Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Perris) and sponsored by Thurmond, AB 1078 will allow a fine to be assessed on any district that has insufficient instructional materials, especially in an attempt to discriminate against students of color or LGBTQ+ students. If signed into law by the Governor, an urgency clause would allow AB 1078 to take effect immediately.

The following bills that address inclusive education along with teacher recruitment and student well-being will take effect January 1, 2024, if signed by the Governor:

Inclusive Education

“Dangerous trends have emerged recently. A small group of extremists has sought to divide communities by advancing policies to ban books related to civil rights for communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community, to force school districts to ‘out’ LGBTQ+ students, and to restrict inclusive curriculum. We needed to act quickly and reject these polices,” said Thurmond.

The following four bills provide educators and schools with the resources needed to support and protect all California students:

  • AB 5 (Zbur)—Safe and Supportive Schools

Requires schools serving grades seven to twelve in California to provide staff training to support LGBTQ+ pupils. Thurmond is a co-sponsor of AB 5. Other co-sponsors include Equality California, the California Teachers Association, and the California Federation of Teachers. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Santa Monica) and co-sponsored by Thurmond.

  • Senate Bill (SB) 760 (Newman)—All Gender Restrooms

Requires all K–12 schools in California to provide appropriate and equitable access to all-gender restrooms for students to use during school hours. Thurmond is a co-sponsor. Other co-sponsors include Equality California. The bill was authored by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton). More information is available in this November 19, 2021, California Department of Education (CDE) news release.

  • SB 857 (Laird)—LGBTQ+ Advisory Task Force

Establishes an advisory task force to identify the needs of LGBTQ+ pupils and to make recommendations to assist in implementing supportive policies and initiatives to address LGBTQ+ pupil education and well-being. The bill was authored by Senator John Laird (D-Monterey). Thurmond supports this bill.

Teacher Pipeline

“Teachers are the backbone of our educational system. They inspire, guide, and shape the minds of our future leaders, thinkers, builders, innovators, writers, scientists, and artists,” said Thurmond. “We stand in a moment that demands our attention and collective action—the need for a robust and diverse pool of educators to propel our schools forward into the next chapter . . . to take on the evolving needs of our students and school communities while we are pushing down the accelerator to grow our teacher pool.”

These two bills are sponsored by Thurmond, who has made this issue a focal point of his education agenda. Thurmond and the CDE recently hosted the first statewide Teacher Recruitment Summit and established a new coalition to creatively and collaboratively tackle a problem plaguing the nation, and he has launched a one-stop recruitment portal that allows teacher candidates to easily get information on how to pursue a teaching credential, how to find job vacancies, and ways to access resources to support their education and credentialing.

  • SB 765 (Portantino)—Teacher Recruitment

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. The bill was authored by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-Glendale). Thurmond is a sponsor. Earlier this year, Thurmond’s work led to increasing the stipend to $40,000 for the teacher residency program in the state budget—a direct result of SB 765. More information is available in these CDE news releases: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Leads Efforts to Confront the California Teacher Shortage and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond’s Legislative Priorities Reflected in State Budget.

  • AB 1127 (Reyes)—Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program

Reestablishes the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program. Thurmond is a co-sponsor. Other co-sponsors include Californians Together and the California Association of Bilingual Education. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino). More information is available in this CDE news release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond’s Legislative Priorities Reflected in State Budget (note: Assemblymember Reyes is no longer the majority leader).

Student Well-Being and Success

“At the heart of the work of our schools is caring for the safety, well-being, and success of our students. Providing resources and supports to ensure the health and safety of our teachers, school staff, and students is paramount to achieving successful student outcomes,” said Thurmond.

The following bills will boost the investments and supports in areas that are directly related to student wellness and achievement:

  • AB 483 (Muratsuchi)—Medi-Cal Local Educational Agency Billing Option Program

Provides reforms to the process by which the Department of Health Care Services audits 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. Thurmond is a co-sponsor. Other co-sponsors include the California Association of School Psychologists, the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, the California School Boards Association, the California School Nurses Organization, the California Teachers Association, Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Santa Clara County Office of Education. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance).

  • SB 88 (Skinner)—Transportation

Requires drivers and vehicles used to provide pupil transportation for compensation by a local education educational agency to meet certain safety requirements. Thurmond is a sponsor. The bill was authored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Oakland).

  • SB 274 (Skinner)—Suspensions and Expulsions: Willful Defiance

Prohibits schools from suspending students for behavior such as talking back to teachers or falling asleep in class. The bill affects students in grades six through twelve and applies through July 2029. State law already protects younger students from such suspensions. Thurmond is a sponsor. The bill was authored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Oakland). More information is available in this CDE news release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Programs to Tackle Disproportionate Discipline in Schools.

  • SB 348 (Skinner)—Pupil Meals

Requires schools to provide students with adequate time to eat and requires the CDE and the California School Nutrition Association to develop guidelines to reduce sugar and sodium content in school meals. Thurmond is a co-sponsor. Other co-sponsors include the California Association of Food Banks, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, End Child Poverty in California, and NextGen California. The bill was authored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Oakland). More information is available in this CDE news release: State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Showcases Universal Meals and Honors Student Nutrition Employees as School Lunch Heroes.

  • SB 10 (Cortese)—Opioid Overdose Prevention and Treatment

Expands statewide prevention and education efforts for fentanyl-related overdoses in schools. The bill was authored by Senator Dave Cortese (D-Campbell). Thurmond supports this bill.

  • SB 502 (Allen)—Expanding School-Based Vision Care

Allows the state to utilize federal funding and non-General-Fund money to cover vision services for low-income children statewide through a mobile optometric office. The bill was authored by Senator Benjamin Allen (D-Redondo Beach). Thurmond supports this bill.

These recent bills progress after two bills, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 (Low)—Marriage Equality, sponsored by Thurmond, and AB 1354 (Fong and Ting)—Pupil Instruction: API, supported by Thurmond, were signed into law earlier this year.

Several other bills supported and sponsored by Thurmond have also made their way to the Governor’s desk. These include:

  • AB 40 (Rodriguez)—Emergency Medical Services
  • SB 799 (Portantino)—Unemployment Insurance, Trade Disputes, Eligibility for Benefits
  • AB 800 (Ortega)—Workplace Readiness Week: Work Permits
  • SB 740 (Cortese)—Hazardous Materials Management: Stationary Sources Skilled and Trained Workforce

The advancement of these bills follows the finalization of the 2023–24 education budget earlier this year. The budget totals $108.3 billion in Proposition 98 General Fund monies and includes $762 million to expand access to Universal Transitional Kindergarten. It provides an additional $250 million to augment the Literacy Coaches and Reading Specialists Grant Program, which builds on the initial $250 million appropriated last year and supports the development of school literacy programs and interventions to help pupils in need of targeted support. The budget also fully funds the cost of California’s Universal Meals Program with an appropriation of $110 million in the 2022–23 budget year and a $154 million increase in the 2023–24 budget year.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Friday, September 15, 2023
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