CompTIA Supports Gov. Brown's Education Budget Priorities

Last Friday, Governor Brown released his May Revision, to the California State Budget. Over the past few months, CompTIA, the voice of the information technology industry, has supported and advocated for several education technology items that we believe are the key to advancing future economic success. What is the key? California students prepared and able to navigate an increasingly complex digital and global world, possessing critical thinking skills for problem-solving and sound decision-making.

We believe the next generation digital native will not necessarily have the full suite of critical and quantitative thinking skills that will enable them to use the technology to its full capabilities, if the technology is not fully integrated into the curriculum and learning experience. Educators must work to integrate technology into the curriculum and pedagogy to optimize learning and ensure students develop the necessary digital literacy skills to navigate the workplace and the world around them.

As industry leaders, we urge the state to invest in high-quality technology enhanced teaching and learning, along with providing access to the digital tools needed to solve problems and close the digital divide. We believe the educational system holds the key to preparing the next generation learner to thrive and succeed in the digital marketplace and world.

Attached is CompTIA’s updated budget letter which reflects changes outlined in the Governor’s May Revise. Overall, the Governor’s proposal increases funding for K-12 and Higher Education as well investing in instructional materials and technology to prepare both students and teachers for success.

CompTIA will continue to meet with members of the legislature and engage during the conference committee process in preparation for the June 15 budget deadline.Please contact me if you have any questions or comments. Thank you!

 

Highlights from the May Revise outlining the Governor’s K-12 and Higher Education priorities include:

K-12 Funding Priorities
The May Revision continues to prioritize funding for education, infrastructure, and sustainability. The May Revision proposes to utilize the combination of increased one‑time and ongoing resources to further advance the core priorities of the Administration—paying down debts owed to schools and investing significantly in the Local Control Funding Formula. The formula provides significantly increased local flexibility on spending decisions and additional funding for students most in need of these resources in an effort to narrow the achievement gap and elevate low‑achieving students. The May Revision increases funding for the formula by providing an additional $154 million—building upon the more than $2.8 billion provided in the Governor’s Budget.

The May Revision proposes an additional $134.8 million, providing a total of more than $1.4 billion in discretionary funding to schools in 2016‑17 to further the implementation of the state‑adopted academic standards, make necessary investments in professional development, provide teacher induction to beginning teachers, address infrastructure and deferred maintenance needs, and purchase instructional materials and technology to prepare both students and teachers for success.

Early Education
The Governor’s Budget proposed to consolidate state‑subsidized early learning programs into a $1.6 billion Early Education Block Grant, which would target children most in need of services, address inequity in the distribution of state funding, and align pre‑kindergarten programs with local school district priorities.

Higher Education
To provide for students’ timely and successful completion of a degree or certificate and to meet the needs of increasingly diverse students, recent budgets have invested in the public higher education segments—the California Community Colleges (CCC), the California State University (CSU), and the University of California (UC). The state has also provided financial aid to students to defray the costs of attending college. The Administration has challenged leaders across the segments to bridge the transition between K‑12 and higher education to move more students into college‑level courses faster, integrate technology in new ways to improve learning, and expand the availability of online courses to create new pathways to degrees. Continued focus on these initiatives will help maintain affordability and help students earn degrees and credentials in a timely way—allowing them to enter the workforce with the skills they need to be successful.

Investments in Student Success
The May Revision continues the Administration’s investment in student success, including total funding of $30 billion ($17 billion General Fund and local property tax and $13 billion other funds) for all higher education entities. A steady growth in discretionary funding and targeted state initiatives have allowed each segment to focus on improving student outcomes. For example, a focus on more effective basic skills programs will better prepare students for college‑level courses, improving the likelihood of timely completion. Notably, the state invested $60 million in one‑time Proposition 98 General Fund for the CCC to enhance basic skills programs in last year’s budget and the Governor’s Budget continues this targeted investment, proposing another $30 million in ongoing funds. Completion at the universities—especially for low‑income and underrepresented students—has also been an important focus. The CSU has made efforts to improve graduation rates and the May Revision calls on the University to chart a more ambitious path forward.

California Community Colleges
The Governor’s Budget reaffirmed the expectation that segments could do more to broaden access to, and reduce the costs of, high‑quality higher education by better integrating technology into instruction. To this end, the Governor’s Budget proposed $5 million Proposition 98 General Fund to support the creation of zero‑textbook‑cost degrees, certificates, and credentials and articulated the expectation that community college districts make these degrees available through an online clearinghouse of effective practices to encourage their adoption across all community college campuses. The May Revision continues investments in technology within the CCC. Over the past several years, the CCC has worked to expand student access to more online courses.

The May Revision includes $20 million one‑time Proposition 98 General Fund with the expectation that CCCs, through the online course exchange, will expand student access to online courses that can be counted towards their degrees. Successful implementation of these efforts requires a strong and reliable technological infrastructure. In recognition of this, the May Revision also includes $5 million ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund and $7 million one‑time Proposition 98 General Fund to support the Telecommunications and Technology Infrastructure Program, which will expand broadband capacity across campuses to ensure appropriate internet access is available for students, faculty, and community college administrators. The Administration expects these efforts will improve student access to online courses, reduce student costs, and further the goal of timely completion.

California State University
The Governor’s Budget expressed the urgent need to dramatically improve outcomes for CSU students. The May Revision includes one‑time $25 million General Fund (redirected from Middle Class Scholarship Program savings in 2015‑16). Use of Technology to Improve Learning Recent CSU experience demonstrates that redesigning courses to improve the quality of instruction can improve student learning. In many cases, that is because technology allows students to participate more directly in courses, makes more engaging content available, and enables students to acquire instructional materials they would otherwise be unable to afford.

The May Revision includes $1.1 million General Fund on an ongoing basis to support the CSU Student Success Network, which would be led by faculty, staff, and administrators from across the system committed to exploring new ways to improve outcomes for students and spreading effective practices more broadly.

New Effort to Improve College Preparation
California’s Local Control Funding Formula identifies, as an indicator of pupil achievement, the percentage of students who meet the requirements for entrance to UC and CSU. Completion of the “a‑g” subject requirements—an important component of eligibility for the public universities—remains uneven across the state. The May Revision includes $4 million General Fund on a one‑time basis for a new A‑G Success Initiative to make progress on this challenge. Scout is a UC program that provides free online classes and curriculum approved by the University to meet the “a‑g” subject requirements—expanding options for schools to make college preparatory courses more accessible for all students.