Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Graduation day for California school grading system

Mather Heights Elementary first graders Athena Barcelos, left, and Neil Poddar work on their math addition lesson during class on Sept. 1, 2016.
Mather Heights Elementary first graders Athena Barcelos, left, and Neil Poddar work on their math addition lesson during class on Sept. 1, 2016.

What makes a good school good?

As with the raging debate over measuring teacher quality and linking it to employment, the question carries serious heft for policymakers. It’s one the state Board of Education has been wrestling with in the three-plus years since California moved to overhaul how it funds schools. That process has included advocates airing concerns about insufficient attention to ensuring low-income and minority students are thriving.

Today, with a legislatively imposed Oct. 1 deadline looming, the board will weigh final approval of a rubric for judging how schools and districts are doing. Those grades will eventually be publicly available in forthcoming report cards. Today the board stands to approve a rubric that takes into account both state data, such as test scores, and more localized indicators such as clean facilities, parental involvement, campus culture and services for foster youth and expelled students. They’ll be meeting starting at 8:30 a.m. at 1430 N Street.

Meanwhile, a bill awaiting a signature or a veto from Gov. Jerry Brown would align California’s standards with federal guidelines. The measure has the support of charter schools and education reformers that tend to clash with teachers’ unions. Its author, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, plans to attend today’s meeting to express some concerns about the board’s plans.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Uncertainty surrounds many of the bills now on Brown’s desk as we enter the “will he sign?” time of the year. But there’s never been any doubt on a pair of climate bills to extend clean air targets and exert more control over the Air Resources Board. Brown already held a triumphant press conference when Senate Bill 32 and Assembly Bill 197 passed, saying “Trump-inspired acolytes” had been “vanquished.” He will officially sign the bills during an 11 a.m. ceremony in Los Angeles today.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Brown talks about the bill slog earning him a “mini Ph.d.”

BALLOT BONANZA: Wrapping your head around the 16 different proposals on the 2016 ballot can feel like cramming for a test. This primer gives the basic overview. But for those hoping to delve more into the pro-and-con arguments, today’s Capitol Weekly event at the Sacramento Secretary of State auditorium will feature political pros debating the merits and downsides of measures dealing with revenue bonds (the Delta tunnels inspired Proposition 53), extending taxes on high-earners (Proposition 55), prescription drug costs (Proposition 61), the death penalty (Proposition 62 and Proposition 66) and legalizing recreational pot (Proposition 64). Among other highlights, attendees can hear Gov. Jerry Brown‘s former finance guru, Ana Matosantos, clash over taxes with David Wolfe of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and listen to law enforcement defend the death penalty and assail pot legalization, laying out some crucial contours of those campaigns.

PENCIVE: It’s not likely his running mate will fare well in California, but Republican vice presidential nominee and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be stopping by the Reagan Library in Simi Valley today to deliver a 10 a.m. speech.

LOBBY LOBBY: Does the prospect of hanging out with scores of lobbyists appeal to you? Then you must work in Sacramento! The Institute of Governmental Advocates, whose function as a lobbyist’s lobby proves the truism that every conceivable interest group has a lobbyist, today kicks off a two-day Incline Village confab of ethics training, election updates and tips on navigating the ever-tricky Political Reform Act. Expected speakers include California Democratic Party CFO Angie Tate and campaign pros like Ray McNally, John Shallman and Lisa Gasperoni.

MENTALITY: Since the Little Hoover Commission issued its critical 2015 report on failures in implementing the mental health focused Proposition 63, lawmakers conceived a plan to borrow against money generated by the tax in an effort to build more affordable housing. The “No Place Like Home” initiative got signed into law, faring better than other attempts to address affordable housing, all of which should give the Little Hoover Commission more food for thought as members meet today for an update on Proposition 63 and mental health services. Starting at 10 a.m. at 925 L Street.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, who turns 71 today, and to Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, who marks his 51st.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert.