Governor Newsom Signs AB 824

SACRAMENTO – It all started with a desire, an idea, and a dedicated group of students. Seeing the absence of student representation on County and Charter School Boards of Education, students from all over the state of California got together and formed the basis of what is now Assembly Bill 824 — Student Board Member Expansion. 

On Thursday September 2nd, that very same student-created bill, passed through its last committee and is, of now, on its way to Governor Newsome’s desk. 

Assembly Bill 824 would allow high school pupils to serve on not only District but County and Charter School Governing Boards if they submit a petition containing signatures no less than 500 pupils regularly enrolled in high schools of the county or no less than 10 percent of the number of pupils enrolled in high schools of the county. These Student Board Members would have preferential voting rights,motioning powers (if adopted by the board), the right to be appointed to subcommittees, the right to attend each and all board meetings, a seat with the other members of the board, and access to all materials received by other board members

Under existing law, California student representatives currently serve in a capacity that does not encapsulate the scope of how the local education system affects students. Without a specified position allowing representation from a current student on a county and charter school level, these local education agencies will continue to go without adequate student representation. Actions executed at the county level are often not reviewed or given input by students. Evidence has shown that pupil input in education systems drastically improves the quality of education, and without expansion of student representation on these two local education agencies, the decisions made regarding specialized schooling, juvenile facilities, community schools, charter schools, etc will continue to suffer from insufficient student input.

The California Student Board Member Association, a student run non-profit and a sponsor of Assembly Bill 824, urged the Governor to sign this bill, effectively ensuring the largest group of constituents of our education system, students, are adequately represented at all educational levels. On September 8th, Governor Newsom did just that, signing AB 834 into law.

CSBMA In the News

Recently, CSBMA leadership has been interviewed by various news outlets about the work we have done and how we are using our momentum to bring student voice to local boards of education. Check out these articles!

EdWeek- Student School Board Members Flex Their Civic Muscle in Supreme Court Free-Speech Case

Baltimore Sun- Former Maryland student school board members lead nationwide effort to weigh in on upcoming Supreme Court case

California Student Board Member Association Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Lower Court Decision in Landmark Student Speech Case

In the Supreme Court case Mahanoy Area School District vs. B.L. 20-255, the California Student Board Member Association stands with B.L. and recognizes her right to express opinions and frustrations about school through social media. As Student Board Members, we have the unique role of bridging the pervasive disconnect between district administration and the lived experiences of students. Free speech is the cornerstone of student advocacy as well as the primary vehicle through which we convey information to our adult colleagues and the public. In the twenty-first century, social media provides a critical platform where students can voice their day-to-day experiences to others. It is essential for the operation of schools that students continue to have this avenue to speak their minds as a means of ensuring honest communication between students and their school system. A potential ruling against the respondent would grant school districts unprecedented authority over the right of students to share their concerns, speak out, and have open dialogue off campus. This systemic overreach would damage our ability as Student Board Members to present a full picture of student experience to school districts across the state. The California Student Board Member Association stands in support of student free speech and urges the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the student.

Workshop: LCAP Presentation (Part 2)

Thank you to the students who came to CSBMA’s most recent LCAP workshop. This meeting focused on the priorities of the LCAP and how to use your position to make the most profound impact. Those that attended had an opportunity to examine some of the state priorities and how these goals form this guiding policy. 

The information that the Curriculum Committee puts together goes a long way in breaking down complicated policies and puts the power in your hands when you are able to understand these materials. The goal of this workshop series is to empower SBMs to have the expertise to use the LCAP to lift up the voices of their peers. 

A huge thank you to our presenters, Léo Corzo-Clark, Joe Brawdy, Isa Sheikh, Fatima Kamara, and Addie Craig for their leadership and insights into how SBMs can make the most impact in their district with the LCAP. 

Attached to this email is the presentation from last night. These resources will be helpful in guiding your understanding of the LCAP and how it impacts your constituents. Please contact Léo Corzo-Clark: sbmresourcesdirector@csbma.org if you want to set up a one on one collaboration meeting with our resource team. 

Stay tuned to future workshops and training conferences as we prepare for new leaders to begin partnering with CSBMA. 

Workshop: LCAP Presentation (Part 1)

On Wednesday evening, Student Board members and our student advocacy partners met to hear from the CSBMA Curriculum Committee about the LCAP and how SBMs can use their rights to influence this incredibly important policy. 

Léo Corzo-Clark opened the meeting followed by a brief history of the California LCAP and explanation of the main principles that guide the LCAP. This policy focuses especially with transparency and engaging stakeholders in local districts. The state continues to work to increase transparency, streamline the information, and establish metrics in districts to measure progress. 

Student perspectives are vital to giving feedback to the district on what priorities should be set. Many aspects of funding are set in stone, but SBMs should feel empowered to join district advisory groups that can collectively influence direction with a wide variety of stakeholder perspectives. 

Following the presentation on the LCAP, students gathered in break out rooms to participate in a choose-your-own adventure themed activity to practice the necessary steps for SBMs to achieve rights to participate in the LCAP process. Students then gathered again as a whole to play an LCAP themed Kahoot game.

Thank you to Léo Corzo-Clark, Addie Craig, Isa Sheikh, and Joe Brawdy from the Curriculum Committee for being such amazing facilitators and presenters. 

Attached to this email is the slidedeck from tonight’s presentation with helpful links, as well as a Sample Bylaws document for SBM rights. These resources will be helpful in guiding your understanding of the LCAP and how it impacts your constituents. Please contact Léo Corzo-Clark: sbmresourcesdirector@csbma.org if you want to set up a one on one collaboration meeting with our resource team. 

Thank you to all the students who came and we hope you took away a better understanding of the intricacies of the LCAP. The second workshop will be an in-depth exploration of each of the eight LCAP priorities, and how each priority is connected to serving students in your district. There will also be a segment on using the LCAP to leverage change in your district. The second workshop will be held on March 17th from 6-7. We hope to see you there!

Student Bill of Rights Workshop

On Wednesday, December 16 of the year 2020, CSBMA hosted a virtual workshop that explained the Student Bill of Rights

The CSBMA Curriculum Committee headed by Léo Corzo-Clark taught delegates how to write and present a Student Bill of Rights to their District Board of Education. A Student Bill of Rights is essentially a working document that lists the rights of students within a school district. A Student Bill of Rights protects students’ right to quality education and allows students to feel safe when speaking out against inequities in their school district. The purpose of creating a Student Bill of Rights is for students to have easy access to their rights as students; a Student Bill of Rights should include student rights listed in existing board policy and it should be publicized online and on school sites. 

CSBMA delegates also practiced how to coordinate public comments. Students and community members are allowed to express their views or ask questions within public hearings at district board meeting. Public comments are essential to approving resolutions, like the Student Bill of Rights, at board meetings. Board members are more likely to vote for a resolution if students publicly support the resolution. Public comments from students are an excellent way to show support for resolutions. 
Click here for a Mock Student Bill of Rights Resolution and here for a sample backup.