California’s Assembly Higher Education Committee chairman reflects on last term

Credit: Jose Medina/

Assemblyman Jose Medina, author of a monthly bill requiring students to consider an ethnic research system to graduate from substantial school, speaks to the Assembly Training Committee in 2019. With him is Albert Camarillo, emeritus professor of heritage at Stanford, one of the founding students of the field of Mexican American heritage and Chicano Research.

Assemblyman Jose Medina, who chairs the Assembly’s Committee on Greater Education, a short while ago introduced he would not seek out re-election in 2022.

Medina, a Riverside Democrat, was initial elected in 2012 to symbolize the 61st district. Just before getting into the Legislature, he worked as a Spanish and Chicano scientific tests teacher at Riverside’s Poly High School and taught record at San Bernardino Valley Local community University.

Medina sat down with EdSource for an job interview about his legislative job and what his priorities are for better schooling funding in the yr in advance.

The next has been edited for size and clarity. 

You have chaired the Better Training Committee for the previous seven years. How has greater training altered given that you initial entered the Assembly?

Regrettably, it sounds like it has turn out to be a lot more difficult to be a college or university pupil as of late. Surely, heading way again to when I was a faculty college student … concerns like housing instability ended up unheard of right before. It is a minimal extra tricky to be a college or university college student right now and in particular all through the pandemic.

I do guidance (Assemblyman Kevin) McCarty’s inquiring for more cash for housing.

(McCarty, a Sacramento Democrat who chairs the Assembly Finances Subcommittee on Instruction Finance, recently stated he would ask for $5 billion future yr to produce additional housing options for the College of California and California Condition University students.)

It’s one thing that I’ve become quite knowledgeable of across all segments of larger training. As I frequented faculties, sites like UC San Diego, and inside of the CSU at areas like Cal State Fullerton, and as I talked to neighborhood faculty presidents, they all inform me how considerably they will need additional housing. So, yes, I would assist Assemblyman McCarty, and I hope to be a co-author on the invoice with him.

What other priorities would you like to tackle when the Legislature returns subsequent calendar year?

Cal Grant reform is however a leading precedence of mine. I not long ago fulfilled with the individuals at the California University student Support Commission and the president of San Diego State, and they are all in arrangement that we even now want to simplify that method, especially for the neighborhood college or university college students.

You know, it’s not just tuition that is the stumbling block. I was a trustee for a lot of many years in a neighborhood college or university. I know that if learners have to get the job done to assist on their own, they are not able to focus on what our learners ought to be concentrating on, and that is their lessons. But which is not the case right now.

(In Oct, Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed laws that would have overhauled the Cal Grant, which is the state’s most important fiscal aid plan. Newsom’s administration experienced opposed the invoice, calling it way too high-priced.)

Cal Grant reform is at the best of that record of a little something that I pushed for, and I’m let down it hasn’t built it but. So, it will be a pretty higher priority for me.

And I will continue to look very critically at Calbright Faculty. I am planning to introduce a invoice the moment all over again to remove Calbright and refund that income elsewhere in bigger training.

(Calbright College is California’s on-line-only local community college that awards vocation certificates, not levels. But the college has been criticized given that it opened in Oct 2019 for very poor management and graduating too number of learners. The Assembly unanimously voted in May possibly to shut down the university, but the bill never appeared in the Senate for listening to.)

I known as for an audit of Calbright, and I continue to consider it is a lousy use of the state’s assets. I never disagree with their mission, but I have reported that the community colleges themselves would be in a position to do that same mission and schooling for these college students who have fallen by way of the gaps. It’s not a negative mission, but the way it is been structured has not labored, and we’re outside of time to pull the plug and reallocate that income.

Is there any laws that you are specially happy of obtaining passed in the course of your time in the Assembly?

Absolutely. My ethnic studies bill that I worked on for 3 decades and was vetoed two times is a invoice of mine that I’m potentially most proud of. It took a good deal of function, and I think it will have a considerable effects on the students of California in the years ahead.

(Medina authored Assembly Bill 101, which was lastly signed by Newsom in Oct and can make California the very first state in the country to need all students to total a semester-lengthy class in ethnic studies to gain a large faculty diploma.)

I’m also very pleased of AB 927 which expands the option for local community schools to grant four-12 months levels.

I have experienced my name on the ballot just about repeatedly due to the fact 1989 when I initially ran for a school board domestically. So I’m hunting forward to slowing down and not working for workplace. But I do hope to be associated, in some capacity, in instruction even when I go away.

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