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Policy & Decision Making at the State Level

What Decisions Are Made at the State Level? 

The California State Legislature consists of two houses: CA State Assembly and CA State Senate.

CA Assembly

80 Members

Two Year Terms

Green Floor

CA Senate

40 Members

Four Year Terms

Red Floor

The California Department of Education (CDE) is run by the state superintendent of public instruction, who oversees funding, testing and accountability for all school districts and county offices.

There’s also an 11-member California Board of Education that’s appointed by the governor. This body sets the state’s education standards, reviews and adopts instructional materials — including textbooks — and creates regulations to implement education legislation.

The state makes decision about: 

K-12 schools (public, private and charter), Higher Education, Revenue and Taxation, Utilities and Energy, Budget, Road, Water, Parks and Wildlife, Zoning Regulations, Law Enforcement, Fire, License Professionals, Elections, Health and Human Services, Environmental Safety, Agriculture, Housing and Community Development, Insurance, Jobs, Economic Development, Judiciary, Labor and Employment,  Transportation, Arts and Entertainment, Aging and Long Term Care, Welfare and Benefits Programs, setting up local governments such as counties and municipalities, Accountability, Banking and Finance. 
In the area of education, the state’s role in education is to be the policymaker, advocate and liaison (PAL). The state government creates laws that dictate how schools are to be run and what budget schools need to operate on. In California, schools now have the Local Control Funding Formula which grants more local control of how funds can be spent to address students that are foster youth, low-Income and English language learners. 
States also serve as advocates for the construction of new schools, colleges, and universities within the state. State bodies also oversee the results of state assessments and they are also able to change the school curriculum. 
State governments act as a liaison between parents, students, and educators by writing educational policies reflective of what the public wants out of their education system. The state government also helps in the funding of public schools, using sources such as income tax, sales tax, and property tax.
The state cannot make laws that conflict with federal laws.
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How Parents & Caregivers Can Make Their Voices Heard

There are several ways parents, guardians, and caregivers can get involved and have their voices heard by their various elected representatives:

  1. Registering to vote
  2. Attending public forums and meetings: 
    • School board meetings
    • Community forums
    • Community meetings
    • Neighborhood council meetings
    • LCAP review meetings
  3. Learning about current issues
  4. Volunteering in the community 
    • Serving on local, state or national boards and commissions
    • Serving on Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
    • School Site Councils
    • School Site Governance Teams
  5. Writing letters to representatives
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