July 8, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Caffee (323) 697-7808
COLLEGE ACCESS FOR ALL ACT AND COURSE RECOVERY SUPPORT PROVIDES NEARLY $550 MILLION IN STATE FUNDS FOR COLLEGE READINESS
State Budget Creates a More Equitable CA Public Education System
Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA (July 8, 2021) – Asian Americans Advancing Justice – California (Advancing Justice – CA) and the College for All Coalition worked closely with CA Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) to pass a budget request that allocates more than $547 million to address major inequities in access to courses needed by students to qualify for California university admissions. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – California (Advancing Justice – CA) is a joint partnership of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (Advancing Justice-ALC) based in San Francisco and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA).
“This is a major victory for public schools, education equity and access to higher education in California,” said Nikki Dominquez, policy director at Advancing Justice – LA. “Our most disadvantaged and vulnerable students will benefit tremendously from this investment by expanding access to the course requirements to attend one of our state’s public universities .”
Today, CA Governor Newsom and the CA legislature passed a fiscal year 21-22 budget that includes a $547.5 million grant investment for local districts to be administered by the CA Department of Education to address two critical areas:
- College Access for All Act (SB 309) – ensures more students have access to and successfully complete the A-G course requirements to be eligible for a UC or CSU school.
- A-G Course Learning Recovery Supports – provides students/families with opportunities to make up for learning losses and falling behind due to school closures and access to technology needed for distance learning.
“As a passionate advocate for equity in education, I am thrilled that we secured $547 million through the budget process to implement the substance of SB 309 (College Access for All Act),” said Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino). “All high school students should have the opportunity to take the coursework required to attend our state’s outstanding public universities. When only half of graduating high school students in California meet the coursework requirements to attend a UC or CSU, we clearly have a problem that must be addressed. I appreciate the strong and important work by SB 309 co-sponsors Asian Americans Advancing Justice – CA and the College for All Coalition for working with my office over the last several months, as well as for their ongoing efforts to increase college access for our state’s most vulnerable students.”
According to recent studies, access to and completion of A-G courses is even lower among the most disadvantaged students. For example, only 20 percent of foster youth and 24 percent of English learners graduate eligible to attend a UC or CSU school. These families are also more likely to report that their child is distance learning full time and less likely to have access to support programs compared to wealthier and white families. In addition, many of these students struggled with distance learning due to inadequate access to reliable internet and electronic devices causing them to fall behind and become disengaged in their studies.
School districts can apply for the A-G course completion grants through a funding structure that allocates resources based on need. For example, funds are specifically earmarked for districts with an A-G course completion rate of less than 67 percent, and there is an emphasis on directing resources to students at risk for not achieving the required grade of “C” or better.
“Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles will continue to fight for equity in our public education system,” said Connie Chung Joe, CEO, Advancing Justice-LA. “This is a huge win, but we know that there is still more work to do to ensure every child has the opportunity and support they need to achieve their greatest potential.”
Advancing Justice – LA is one of the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organizations for Asian Americans. Advancing Justice – LA serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Through direct services, impact litigation, and policy advocacy, Advancing Justice – LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of AANHPI communities while building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.
Advancing Justice – ALC was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, Advancing Justice – ALC is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The College for All Coalition is a multiracial, statewide, and community-led coalition in California that seeks to promote social justice in public higher education. It advocates for reinvestment and increased investment in public higher education and promotes increased access, affordability, diversity, and equity. Founded in 2015, the Coalition now includes over 70 diverse organizations representing community, education, student, parent, labor, faith, and civil rights groups, and is facilitated by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.