Sacramento Scene, October 2020

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

Sacramento Scene 

The last day of September marked the deadline for Governor Gavin Newsom to pass final judgment on bills passed at the end of the legislative session in August. The following is a summary of two bills related to education that were vetoed:

AB 331 – Governor Newsom surprisingly vetoed Assembly Bill 331. The bill passed by the Assembly and the Senate would have mandated high school students pass an ethnic studies class to graduate from high school starting in 2029-2030. Newsom sighted the continued disagreement over a proposed model ethnic studies curriculum as the reason for not supporting the bill. The Governor was quoted as saying, “In my opinion, the latest draft, which is currently out for review, still needs revision” (Fensterwarld, 2020).

AB 1835 – This bill rejected by the Governor would have made the first significant change to the K-12 Local Control Funding Formula since its inception in 2013. The bill authored by Assemblymember Weber would have eliminated a school district’s ability to carry over funding budgeted for low-income students, English Learners, and foster youth to be used the following year in any category deemed necessary. Newsom acknowledged a problem with the law but sighted flaws in AB 1835 that would make implementing it difficult (Fensterwarld, 2020).  

The November ballot brings with it two propositions that could have an impact on education. It will be up to California voters to determine if they are implemented. The propositions on the ballet are as follows:

Proposition 15 – Initiative Constitutional Amendment – Increase funding sources for public schools, community colleges and local government services by changing tax assessment of commercial and industrial property.

If passed, this proposition would amend Proposition 13, a tax initiative passed in 1978. Passage would create a “split-roll tax” changing the rules for assessing commercial and industrial properties’ value. Properties would be reassessed every three years at market value. The reassessment’s revenue would be allocated to schools, community colleges and county and local governments. Learn more

Proposition 16 – Legislative Constitutional Amendment – Allows diversity as a factor in public employment, education, and contracting decisions.

If passed, this proposition would allow government decision-making policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to address diversity by repealing Article I, Section 31, of the California Constitution. This part of the constitution was added by the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996. Proposition 209 prohibits State and local governments from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment or education. Therefore, Proposition 209 bans the use of affirmative action in the California public sector.

The focus now in Sacramento turns to the election in November. Some think that voting in California will make little difference because of the supermajority in the State. But several elections will have an impact on your community, school and program. Making informed decisions about your representative in the Assembly and Senate and school board members, and city or county leadership, have local significance. Get out and exercise your right to vote.

Who We Are

AET is a powerful tool that serves the agricultural education community in countless ways. The system is continuously improving and evolving and can be used for endless analytical analysis of students, teachers and programs. AET provides an insight into the makeup of the secondary agricultural education teachers in California.

Of the total 965 secondary ag teachers in California, 47% have been teaching less than five years, and 64% have been in the profession for less than ten years. Females make up 60% of the ag teaching profession, with the largest demographic group of ag teachers being females with under ten years of experience.  

On the other end of the spectrum, only 68 teachers have over 25 years of service, encompassing 7% of the total population.

Figure 1 –  Total number of California agriculture teachers is 965 individuals. The majority of the teachers are females comprising over half of the group. The largest subgroup of secondary agriculture teachers consisting of 40% of the total, is females with ten years or less experience.

How is this information useful? This data should be considered when developing professional development, messaging, committees, events and communications. Are we designing programs and professional development to meet the needs of our younger demographic? Are the largest demographic groups being represented across the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association’s leadership structure and committees? Knowing who we are will help us better serve our membership.

Matt Patton, Executive Director, California Agricultural Teachers’ Assn.mpatton@calagteachers.org209 744-1605

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit

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