Education Bills Pass and Fail as First Major Deadline Passes

Below we highlight a few of the major education bills that were heard in committee last week as well as some of the bills that didn't meet the deadline.  Since we are in the second year of the two-year legislative session, failure to meet Friday’s deadline means these bills are effectively dead for the year. 

A full list of education-related bills that are still moving is available here. Please note that some of the amendments may not yet be in print, but should be available over the course of this week.

Charter school verified data bill advances 

A bill dealing with the use of verified data to measure the performance of low- and middle-performing charter schools seeking renewal passed the Assembly Education Committee unanimously, but not before a lengthy debate and heavy amendments. 

AB 1505 from 2019 required the use of verified data until June 30, 2025 for low-performing charter schools and January 1, 2026 for middle-performing charter schools. After those dates, AB 1505 then required chartering authorities to use the same data from the Dashboard that is available for all other public schools when considering a charter renewal. As introduced, AB 2254 by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) would have deleted those sunset dates and effectively required the use of verified data indefinitely. 

The committee requested a number of amendments to the bill, all but one of which the bill’s author accepted as proposed. Much of the committee’s lengthy, and oftentimes contentious, discussion centered around the outstanding amendment: how long the use of verified data should continue to be used for a charter renewal. While the current version of the bill did not include a new sunset date, in committee, Assembly Member Rubio agreed to putting a timeline in place, though she pushed backed on the committee’s proposal for only a one-year extension. 

Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), who noted that he was the only one of the four co-authors of AB 1505 still in the Legislature, stated that he thought the Legislature should stay the course as laid out in AB 1505, but also said he supported the committee’s one year extension. The author argued, however, that a lengthier extension was needed as it was still unclear when a growth metric that could measure student academic growth over time would be fully incorporated into the CA School Dashboard. She countered with an amendment for a three-year extension on the use of verified data or until the growth model was up and running as part of the Dashboard, which ever came first. 

Following Assembly Member Rubio’s counteroffer, Assembly Member David Alvarez (D-San Diego) moved to have the committee consider that proposal, instead of the committee’s proposed language. The committee eventually took a nearly hour-long recess so that the members could review a mock-up of the amendment put forth by Assembly Member Alvarez. However, upon returning from the break, but before members could vote on the motion, Assembly Member Mia Bonta (D-Alameda), presented a counter amendment, proposing language to allow for the use of verified data for a charter school’s next two subsequent renewals. While Assembly Member Alvarez expressed a little frustration that his motion would no longer be taken up, the committee ultimately approved Assembly Member Bonta’s amendment. 

Before the committee voted on the bill, the Chair of the committee, Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) noted that he fully supported the original agreement under AB 1505 but that the final, agreed-to extension language was “a reasonable compromise that is adopting the original premise of using the verified data until the growth model was in place.” While the bill passed out of the committee unanimously, it was clear there was still tension between some committee members and the bill’s author. Assembly Member Bonta, citing the lengthy amount of time that was spent during the hearing on the various versions of the amendment, asked for reassurance from the Chair that if anything changed with the language that was agreed to, the bill would be brought back to the Assembly Education Committee for additional consideration.

Assembly advances bills to change response to student-involved incidents

Building on previous efforts that reevaluated how schools respond to and support students following an on-campus incident or behavior issue, the Assembly Education Committee heard two bills last week regarding student discipline. The first bill, AB 2711 by Assembly Member James Ramos (D-Highland), would, beginning July 1, 2026, prohibit a student from being suspended for the possession of tobacco products and controlled substances on school grounds or at a school activity. The bill would also prohibit the expulsion of a student for possession, use, or being under the influence of a controlled substance, alcohol, an intoxicant, or possession or use of tobacco products on school campus. The bill is in response to recent research that suggests punitive responses to drug use at school are ineffective and that resorting straight to suspension negatively impacts pupils, especially socially-disadvantaged pupils and pupils of color.

Before passing out of the committee, AB 2711 was heavily amended, including:

  • Requiring a pupil to be offered access to available supportive interventions prior to a suspension


  • Authorizing a student to be suspended for these acts only when other documented means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct or it is determined that the pupil’s possession of a controlled substance presents an imminent risk of harm to other pupils or school staff


  • Removing the requirement that LEAs must adopt a plan to address pupils who possess or use tobacco, a controlled substance, or alcohol on school property. 

The second bill, AB 2441 by Assembly Member Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), would remove the requirement that a school report to law enforcement incidents where a school employee was attacked, assaulted, or physically threatened by a pupil. The bill would still allow an employee to report such an incident if they choose to do so, but also strongly encourages school staff to use other means or correction before considering a law enforcement referral.

When asked about the thinking behind no longer requiring an attack, assault or physical threat to be reported to the police, Assembly Member Kalra responded, “Our students are complex, our student body is complex, our schools are complex. Responding to our schools with one blunt instrument is not the way to achieve the result of ensuring that whatever that issue is that caused that incident to occur is being resolved.”

Like AB 2711, AB 2441 was substantially amended by the committee prior to its passage. These amendments include:

  • Prohibiting a school official from directly or indirectly impeding the making of a report of an incident of an employee being attacked, assaulted or physically threatened by a pupil  


  • Requiring the school principal to notify law enforcement if a pupil commits an assault with a deadly weapon, before the suspension or expulsion of the pupil


  • Requiring the school principal to, within one school day after the suspension or expulsion of any pupil, notify law enforcement authorities of any acts of a pupil related to the unlawful offering, arranging, or negotiating to sell a controlled substance


There was lengthy committee discussion on the bill, with Assembly Member Alvarez and Assembly Member Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) raising concerns regarding the role of a student’s family in these decisions. In response to some of the concerns raised by committee members, the author stated, “I’m not going to suggest that this is going to be perfect but what we know is our current system is far from perfect because of the outcomes were seeing, especially with our young people of color and people with disabilities.” Chair Muratsuchi also added, in reference to the multiple committee amendments:

I think, myself and committee staff tried to strike that balance between making sure that serious crimes are continued to be required to be reported to law enforcement but for the less serious crimes, recognizing the data showing the problem of the school to prison pipeline, that we should leave that to the discretion of school administrators and teachers… I do believe that what happens on the school campus should be within the discretion of school administrators and teachers and that was what we tried to accomplished here.

The bill ultimately passed out on a 5-2 vote and Chair Muratsuchi urged the bill’s author to continue to work with the committee members who still had concerns, particularly regarding notification of family members, as the bill moved forward. 


Homework policy bill passes unanimously 

Dubbed the Health Homework Act, AB 2999 by Assembly Member Pilar Schiavo (D-Santa Clarita) would require every LEA to develop, adopt, and update at least once every five years, a homework policy to provide clarity in the assigning of homework. When presenting the bill, Assembly Member Schiavo stated that this measure was really about “starting a new conversation about the real impacts of homework.” According to the author, research has shown that excessive homework is associated with greater stress, reduction in health, and less time for friends, family, and extracurricular activities. The author was joined at the dais by her daughter, Sofia, a sixth grader, who provided testimony about her personal experience with how the over-assignment of homework had impacted her daily life. 

While the bill passed out on a 6-0 vote, the committee did have a number of amendments that the author had to agree to. Those amendments included changing the bill’s implementation date from “on or before January 1, 2026” to “by the start of the 2027-28 school year” and clarifying the policy must be developed for all grades maintained by the LEA. The committee also revised the topics that an LEA must consider when developing the homework policy as well as added language to require the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop and post guidelines for LEAs to use in developing their local homework policies.   


Speaker Rivas halts “Science of Reading” bill 

A bill that would have required the “science of reading” to be incorporated into instructional materials and the state’s credentialling standards appears to be dead for the year after it failed to be set for a hearing before last Friday’s deadline. With “science of reading” being incorporated into more and more schools across the country,  AB 2222 by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio had garnered a lot of attention when it was first introduced back it February. While “science of reading” as a concept is generally supported by the education community, the bill’s sweeping language raised early concerns in the field, particularly regarding the constricting impact the bill’s provisions would have on the state’s current instructional materials adoption cycle, the fact that the bill did not allow for local involvement in the process, and that it included what some called a narrow definition of “science of reading.” 

Chief among the bill’s opponents were English learner advocacy groups like Californians Together, who argued that AB 2222 was not what “our multilingual, diverse state” needed, and  the California Teachers Association, who submitted a seven-page opposition letter to the Assembly Education Committee expressing its many issues with the legislation. A few weeks after the letter was sent, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) announced that the bill would no longer be moving, stating, “I want the Legislature to study this problem closely, so we can be sure stakeholders are engaged and, most importantly, that all students benefit, especially our diverse learners.” 

While AB 2222 might be done for the year, proponents are expected to bring the effort back next year. The issue of the “science of reading” also lives on in other legislative efforts, like SB 1115 by Senator Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), which would require CDE to identify and recommend high-quality professional learning programs for school staff that support pupil development in mathematics and literacy. The bill specifically requires that the literacy professional learning programs align with the principles of the “science of reading” by “focusing on results-driven methods of teaching.”


Bill to hold early enrollment TK districts harmless fails

Last year’s state budget included language that added new requirements for LEAs wanting to enroll in TK, a child who is not yet eligible for TK but whose fourth birthday is between June 2 and September 1 – what the new law called an “early enrollment child.” These new requirements included ensuring that any classroom with an early enrollment child maintains a 10:1 pupil-to-adult ratio as well as a 20-or-fewer class size, and failure to comply resulted in a fiscal penalty for the LEA in the current fiscal year (2023-24). 

In response to concerns about loss of funding from LEAs that had enrolled early enrollment children well before the new requirements went into effect last July, Assembly Member Tri Ta (R-Westminster) introduced AB 2548. The bill, acknowledging that the new requirements kicked in just weeks before the start of school and, therefore, were difficult to comply with in time, would have waived the fiscal penalty for these districts for the 2023-24 school year. 

Although the bill is limited to the current school year, which is nearing its end, Assembly Member Bonta expressed concern about the impact the bill would have on early child care providers. Despite her concerns, it initially looked like the bill would have enough votes to get out of committee. Assembly Member Addis had originally voted “aye” on the bill, but later changed her vote to “not voting,” resulting in the bill falling one vote short of passage. Proponents of the bill are now shifting their focus to a potential budget solution, though if the committee’s discussion and outcome is any indication, that hill could be difficult to climb.


School Resource Officers bill fails

AB 3038 by Assembly Member Essayli (R-Corona) received a lot of attention from the press when it was first introduced as part of the author’s three-bill public safety package. The bill would have required a school district or charter school to hire or contract with at least one armed school resource officer (SRO) to be present at each schoolsite whenever pupils are present on campus. Whether increasing armed officers on school campuses will make schools safer or reduce incidences has been a growing, often partisan, debate across the nation.  

During the bill’s lone hearing in the Assembly Education Committee, both Democrat and Republican members raised concerns with the cost of the bill’s requirements and whether the state was in a position, or even willing, to fund the new requirement. Assembly Members Bonta and Addis also pushed back on whether this would actually make students feel safer at school, with both raising concerns about the disproportionate impact on black and brown students an increased police presence has been shown to have. 

Chair Muratsuchi acknowledged that there is a role for SROs but that it should be up to local schools to decide if they are right for their campuses. In his closing, the bill’s author pushed back on that sentiment, saying, “I think the safety of our children is a national issue, it’s not a local issue.” The bill would ultimately fail on a party-line vote of 2-4.  


What’s Next?

Attention will now turn to the Appropriations committees, which will look at the potential costs the various bills that are still moving could have on the state. Most bills will be placed on the committees’ suspense file, where they will wait until May 16th, when the committees will hold their Suspense File hearings to determine, through a less than transparent and often highly political process, which bills will get out and head to the floor for a full vote of the house. 


Please reach out to any of us here at Capitol Advisors Group if we can provide any additional information. 




Caitlin Jung | Legislative Counsel 

Capitol Advisors Group