Sacramento Scene: February 2021

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

With a surplus predicted in the overall California State Budget and in education, and Prop 98 funding in abundance, attention has turned to returning students to in-person instruction. The Federal Government, state and local unions, legislators, the Governor’s Office, vaccine distribution capabilities, state and local health regulations, and advocacy groups are all contributing to the conversation. 

Governor Newsom conducted a press conference from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California’s latest mass COVID-19 vaccination site. The Governor reported that he and lawmakers are close to finalizing a new plan to reopen elementary grades. Newsom hinted that if teacher vaccinations are a requirement, then opening this year will be a challenge. 

The one certain thing is that students returning to the classroom full time will be complicated and arduous. 

Below are items that CATA is tracking concerning agricultural education and our profession: 

AB 10 (Ting, Bauer-Kahan, Boerner Horvath, Lorena Gonzalez, McCarty, Muratsuchi, O’Donnell, and Petrie-Norris) Pupil instruction: in-person instruction: distance learning

This bill would specify that the requirement to provide in-person instruction applies when instruction is allowed under state and local public health orders. 

AB 299 (Villapudua) Career Technical Education: Apprenticeship Grant Program. 

This bill would establish the Apprenticeship Grant Program for the 2022-23 academic year under the Student Aid Commission to provide grants to community college students seeking careers in career technical education and vocational programs via an apprenticeship. 

Agriculture Incentive Grant – Budget Change Proposal

A Budget Change Proposal (BCP) was submitted for the Ag Incentive Grant in the 2021-22 California State Budget. The BCP requested $10.1 million in additional funds. The BCP was submitted to the California Department of Education (CTE) at the beginning of January. A notification was recently made that the BCP will not be forwarded to the Department of Finance. The rationale given was that no BCP’s would be considered that do not directly relate to COVID. This type of justification is a common theme echoing in Sacramento. The priority in education is to open schools and get students back to in-person instruction. This priority is trumping other agendas during the current legislative session. 

CATA Summer Conference 

Based on the online survey responses and the current COVID situation, CATA Governing Board voted to move forward with a virtual conference at the end of June. Planning is underway, and recommendations for professional development sessions are appreciated.

Registration is now open and can be submitted electronically at http://calagteachers.org. Once the registration is complete, the final page will contain a receipt number, print the last page containing the receipt number, submit it to districts and retain a copy. An email confirmation will follow. Registration without a purchase order can be achieved by marking pending payments and then forwarding a hardcopy of PO to the CATA office when available. Any changes or adjustments should be made via email or phone call to the CATA office. 

Reminder

Registration for continuing education units (CEUs) must be processed directly through Fresno Pacific on their website https://ce.fresno.edu/workshops/open-enrollment-workshops/cal-poly-slo-ag-ed

  • Summer Conference 1 CEU: – $90 (To receive credit, a regional meeting and two professional sessions must be attended.) 
  • Regional Meeting/Road Show 1 CEU: – $90 (To receive credit you must attend and sign in at both Fall and Spring Regional Meetings as well as the Road Show.)

CATA and Career Development Events for 2021

The CATA Governing Board met in November to discuss the upcoming CDE and LDE season. The below language was drafted and adopted as it relates to state finals competition. CATA continues to communicate with state staff and host sights to ensure that quality contests will occur this spring. 

The California Agricultural Teachers’ Association’s (CATA’s) Executive Committee and Governing Board have made the following recommendation concerning the CATA Curricular Code for the 2020-2021 school year. Due to restrictions on gatherings at both Universities and Community Colleges during the 2020-2021 school year, it may become necessary to conduct California FFA State finals in Career Development Events (CDEs) and Leadership Development Events (LDEs) in modified formats. Every effort will be made to follow the Curricular Code in hosting these contests. But in light of COVID restrictions, it may be necessary to modify or adapt the Curricular Code to accommodate revised formats. CATA recognizes that these modifications may be required to facilitate contests under current conditions. Changes will be reviewed and approved by both the State Finals CDE State Staff arbitrator and the State Champion CDE CATA approved contest advisor.

CATA needs you

As we move towards spring and summer, there will be many opportunities to help lead this organization at all levels. Consider your skills and how you can help you, fellow ag teachers, as we transition to the unknown. The current sectional, regional, and state CATA leaders have done a fantastic job during these complicated times. Please consider accepting a nomination to lead.

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

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