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

Credit rating: Jose Medina/

Assemblyman Jose Medina, creator of a bill requiring college students to get an ethnic research study course to graduate from higher school, speaks to the Assembly Education Committee in 2019. With him is Albert Camarillo, emeritus professor of record at Stanford, just one of the founding students of the field of Mexican American record and Chicano Experiments.

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

Medina, a Riverside Democrat, was initially elected in 2012 to represent the 61st district. Before coming into the Legislature, he worked as a Spanish and Chicano experiments trainer at Riverside’s Poly High School and taught history at San Bernardino Valley Neighborhood School.

Medina sat down with EdSource for an interview about his legislative career and what his priorities are for greater schooling funding in the year ahead.

The pursuing has been edited for size and clarity. 

You have chaired the Increased Schooling Committee for the previous seven years. How has larger education modified considering the fact that you initially entered the Assembly?

Sad to say, it appears like it has develop into more hard to be a faculty scholar as of late. Surely, going way back to when I was a higher education student … problems like housing instability had been unheard of right before. It’s a minor more complicated to be a higher education student suitable now and specifically all through the pandemic.

I do guidance (Assemblyman Kevin) McCarty’s asking for far more revenue for housing.

(McCarty, a Sacramento Democrat who chairs the Assembly Finances Subcommittee on Training Finance, lately explained he would request $5 billion up coming 12 months to generate extra housing selections for the University of California and California Condition College college students.)

It is anything that I have grow to be incredibly aware of throughout all segments of increased education and learning. As I visited schools, areas like UC San Diego, and within the CSU at destinations like Cal Point out Fullerton, and as I talked to community faculty presidents, they all inform me how considerably they have to have extra housing. So, indeed, I would help Assemblyman McCarty, and I hope to be a co-creator on the bill with him.

What other priorities would you like to deal with when the Legislature returns future 12 months?

Cal Grant reform is even now a leading precedence of mine. I not long ago satisfied with the individuals at the California Pupil Aid Commission and the president of San Diego Condition, and they’re all in agreement that we however need to have to simplify that system, particularly for the group university learners.

You know, it’s not just tuition that is the stumbling block. I was a trustee for quite a few a long time in a local community college or university. I know that if pupils have to perform to assist themselves, they are not ready to concentrate on what our college students should be concentrating on, and that is their courses. But which is not the scenario suitable now.

(In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed legislation that would have overhauled the Cal Grant, which is the state’s most important financial aid software. Newsom’s administration had opposed the monthly bill, calling it far too high priced.)

Cal Grant reform is at the prime of that checklist of a little something that I pushed for, and I’m let down it has not created it however. So, it will be a pretty higher precedence for me.

And I will keep on to glimpse very critically at Calbright University. I am organizing to introduce a invoice after all over again to eradicate Calbright and refund that cash somewhere else in greater schooling.

(Calbright College or university is California’s on the net-only local community faculty that awards profession certificates, not levels. But the college or university has been criticized considering that it opened in October 2019 for lousy administration and graduating far too handful of students. The Assembly unanimously voted in May possibly to shut down the college or university, but the invoice by no means appeared in the Senate for listening to.)

I called for an audit of Calbright, and I nonetheless feel it’s a negative use of the state’s resources. I really don’t disagree with their mission, but I have reported that the community colleges on their own would be in a position to do that exact same mission and training for these pupils who have fallen by way of the gaps. It’s not a lousy mission, but the way it is been structured hasn’t worked, and we’re beyond time to pull the plug and reallocate that funds.

Is there any legislation that you are specifically very pleased of having handed during your time in the Assembly?

Unquestionably. My ethnic research monthly bill that I labored on for a few decades and was vetoed twice is a invoice of mine that I’m maybe most proud of. It took a whole lot of operate, and I think it will have a substantial affect on the learners of California in the many years forward.

(Medina authored Assembly Invoice 101, which was last but not least signed by Newsom in Oct and would make California the initially point out in the place to call for all students to comprehensive a semester-lengthy program in ethnic experiments to generate a substantial college diploma.)

I’m also happy of AB 927 which expands the option for group colleges to grant four-year degrees.

I have had my identify on the ballot virtually continuously due to the fact 1989 when I very first ran for a faculty board locally. So I’m on the lookout ahead to slowing down and not jogging for office environment. But I do hope to be included, in some capacity, in training even when I go away.

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