California Association for STEM Advocacy

Important Bills

There are many bills in the California legislature that pass funding towards STEM, with varying degrees of success. In order to narrow down the bills that truly matter to our mission, the Bill Committee at CASA has identified a few bills that promise the most benefit to robotics and the STEM community, if they continue being supported.

Every year, California representatives fight to keep various education bills funded at the same level. A tightening state budget means that many bills do not reach the funding goals promised to them upon their inception; our goal is to make sure these bills continue getting funded as the budget gets revised year after year, or ideally, to advocate towards bills getting their target funding.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the largest piece of federal education legislation and provides funding to K-12 schools across the United States. The act was initially passed by the 89th Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 in an effort “to strengthen and improve educational quality and educational opportunities in the Nation’s elementary and secondary schools” (Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 1965). Since its initial passage, the law has been reauthorized eight times in an effort to update its requirements and promote the intent of the original bill in ensuring equal access to a quality education for K-12 students.

Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE)

Of particular interest to CASA is Title IV Part A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants. These grants are distributed directly to state education agencies (SEAs), the departments of education that run the education systems of their states and distribute these grants to local education agencies (LEAs, school boards, school districts, etc.). These grants are distributed based on the same formula used by the Title I-A grant program, meaning that grants are targeted to schools with the highest numbers or proportions of low-income students.   Title IV-A consolidates many previous federal programs from NCLB into a single program.

SSAE grants must be used for activities in three broad areas:

  1. Providing students access to well-rounded educational opportunities (e.g. college and career counseling, STEM, music and arts, civics, IB/AP curriculum).
  2. Supporting safe and healthy students (e.g. comprehensive school mental health, drug and violence prevention, training on trauma-informed practices, health and physical education).
  3. Supporting the effective use of technology (e.g. professional development, blended and personalized learning, devices).

After School Education and Safety (ASES)

Passed by a resounding 13% margin in 2002, the Afterschool Education and Safety Program funds the development of local afterschool education and enrichment programs. Schools serving K-9 students submit applications to the California Department of Education to receive funds, and partner with community resources to provide expanded learning opportunities that support academics and literacy, and that provide safe, constructive alternatives for youth. ASES grants are categorical grants, meaning that they can only be spent on afterschool programs and not on other school activities. ASES grants are some of the few categorical grants in California that do not receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment, meaning that funding for the program has risen slowly since its inception.

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Enrichment Learning Opportunities Program (ELOP)

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CHIPS and Science Act (CHIPS)

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