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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
What to expect after the 2020 election
Darling-Hammond leading president-elect Biden’s education transition team
December 7, 2020
California educators can expect good things out of Washington, D.C., following the election of Joe Biden as 46th president of the United States, according to ACSA’s governmental relations director.
ACSA Senior Director of Governmental Relations Edgar Zazueta analyzed the results of the contentious 2020 election with ACSA Executive Director Wes Smith on the “Common Purpose, Uncommon Times” Facebook Live program Nov. 16. Zazueta said California schools should see more support in general from the Biden administration, which will bring a former teacher to the White House with future First Lady Jill Biden.
The historic election of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the first woman and first woman of color to hold this post, is another reason for California to be hopeful. Zazueta expects that having California’s Senator and former Attorney General in the White House will mean a “trickle down effect” for the state’s political interests.
“I think we’re going to see California having a lot bigger imprint, a lot more influence in terms of the policies coming out of Washington, D.C.,” Zazueta said.
Zazueta said educators should also feel good about Biden choosing California State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond to lead his education transition team. Zazueta said Darling-Hammond will play a major role in identifying who the next Secretary of Education will be, and Biden has pledged to have an educator fill the role, preferably someone with educational leadership experience.
Whoever is chosen, Zazueta said the top priority would be a systemic approach to battling the pandemic in schools in order to get kids back into the classroom.
California school leaders are anxious for another stimulus package, given that California’s budget assumed additional federal support. Zazueta said members of Congress have expressed a willingness to pass a stimulus package with support for schools before the end of the “lame duck” session.
Zazueta urged educators to continue to tell their stories and make the case for how more resources would better support their students — and to not be shy about including the hardships.
“While still exemplifying where things are going well, talk about the challenges. Talk about what reality has been for our students on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
While the election delivered some positives for education at the federal level, the failure of California’s Prop. 15 was a setback to increasing school funding at the state level. Prop. 15 would have created a “split roll” by assessing commercial properties worth more than $3 million based on their current market value instead of the Prop. 13 value. This comes after another defeat in the March primary, when voters rejected a different Prop. 13 that would have sold $15 billion in bonds to fund school construction and improvements.
Zazueta said the March defeat of Prop. 13 was an early warning sign.
“I think there was some indication there that there was something amiss from voters in their willingness to adopt a statewide initiative,” Zazueta said, pointing out that local parcel taxes and bond measures had a good success rate in the November election.
Earlier this year, ACSA and California School Boards Association decided to pull their Full and Fair Funding initiative from the ballot, so as not to compete with Prop. 15. That initiative, which would raise $15 billion annually, will go before voters in 2022, providing another chance at increasing state education funding.
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