Gov. Brown Vetoes Important Bill Intended to Improve Educational Opportunities for All Students
Today Governor Brown missed an important opportunity to improve educational opportunities for our most vulnerable students by vetoing SB 744. The bill, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) would have protected students by establishing fair transfer processes, ensuring that students’ educational needs are met and providing clear pathways for students to return to traditional schools.
Currently students are being involuntarily transferred to and stuck in county community schools and community day schools with little consideration to the suitability of their placements and no way back to mainstream schools. Being transferred itself increases the risk of dropout. California high school students who change schools even one time are less than half as likely to graduate as those who did not, even after controlling for other factors that affect graduation. Involuntary transfers increase dropouts, especially among students of color who make up more than 80 percent of the students enrolled in community day schools and 60 percent of those enrolled in county community schools. By vetoing SB 744, Gov. Brown is continuing these harmful practices and students are being forced into schools that do not meet their educational needs, leading many of them to drop out.
Alternative schools are most effective when they are able to serve only those students who are there in the right circumstances and for the right reasons. Unfortunately, students who should not be at these schools will continue to be sent impeding both the students and the schools’ advancement.
By not signing SB 744 into law, Gov. Brown has allowed an important opportunity to increase fairness in our state’s education system to slip away. It is imperative that California schools meet the needs of all students. Unfortunately, many students across the state will remain vulnerable to wrongful involuntary transfers, which contribute to the unfair push-out of students, especially students of color. Instead, we must strive to create educational environments that help all children reach their full academic potential.
Anna Salem is a Policy Advocate at the ACLU of Northern California.