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Exciting New Tools for Legislative Advocacy

Aug 09 2022

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August 31 is the final deadline for California legislation to pass or fail in the 2021-22 session. If a bill passes the legislature, it will land on the governor’s desk and its fate will be determined there. The outcome of more than 1,600 bills must be decided by state lawmakers this month. Issues related to abortion, guns, COVID, homelessness, crime, and the environment are just a few of the topics that will be discussed, and for charter school supporters, three “charter killer” bills remain on the docket.

For charter school governing board members, this is an important opportunity for you to get involved – even if you have already participated in an advocacy campaign on these bills. At CSDC, we learned that the charter community must act en masse to make our voices loud enough to generate a response from legislators. This effort takes everyone – charter school administrators, charter school board members, and all those who support the work of charter schools.

A poll released by UC Berkeley earlier this year found that “Californians’ opinions of their [traditional] local public schools have declined significantly over the past decade.” Further, public school “(e)nrollment is down from 6,002,523 in 2020–21 to 5,892,240 in 2021–22, a decrease of more than 110,000 students and 1.8% from the prior year,” according to a California Department of Education report.“ This decrease follows a steady decline in public school enrollment statewide since 2014–15.

Charter school enrollment declined too, for the first time in three decades, amid election battles and an anti-charter sentiment from the legislature, according to an Edsource Special Report.

These declines are even more reason to get involved in advocacy to benefit local charter schools and to keep charter schools as an option in California. CSDC has now made it easier than ever before to become a charter school advocate. In less than one minute, you can weigh in on charter school legislation including the “charter killer” bills, AB 2484, AB 2214, and SB 1343. Even if these bills do not directly impact your school, it is important for charter schools to stand together when legislation impacts any schools in our sector.

Last month at CSDC’s Leadership Intensive, we debuted our new Legislative Roadmap. This PDF is also available as an interactive tool on our website for CSDC’s members and shows the steps it takes to pass legislation and the places along the timeline that advocates may wish to interact with their legislators.

At CSDC we have more advocacy tools in the works – keep an eye on our website this fall: lots of updates are in progress, including a new page related to advocacy.

As a charter school board member, you have a unique platform from which to advocate. In a previous issue of CSDC’s Board Bulletin, CSDC offered The Five Steps to Becoming a Charter School Advocate. California will need all hands on deck if we are to keep charter schools open and viable for generations to come.