Legislative Democrats who control the Assembly Education Committee rejected common sense legislation today authored by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar). SB 172
sought to make a minor change to the Open Enrollment Act by changing the name of “low-achieving” schools to a less judgmental and more benign title of “enrollment opportunity” schools.
Representatives from the California Federation of Teachers, Association of California School Administrators not only testified against the Huff measure, but also expressed their displeasure with the intent of the Open Enrollment Act. The Senate Republican Leader expressed his disappointment that committee members failed to act on a chief and shared concern by many school districts, which have been publicly labeled as “low-achieving,” despite some relatively higher test scores.
“My legislation is not without precedent,” said Senator Huff during today’s hearing. “In 2003 the Assembly Education Committee approved, and the Governor signed, an identical bill to SB 172 which replaced the name of a ‘low performing school’ with the less judgmental term of ‘high priority school.’ The Legislature has a history of changing this kind of terminology.”
California’s Open Enrollment Act requires the Department of Education to create a list of 1,000 schools which are required to offer parents the option to transfer their child to any other higher performing school of their choice. Schools on the list of 1,000 are currently deemed “low-achieving” according to a specific formula prescribed by law. The current designation creates a problem which SB 172 sought to address.
Senator Huff expressed his disappointment over the defeat of his measure, which had earlier passed out of the Senate with full bipartisan support.
“Open Enrollment was never meant to be punitive or to have a stigma,” said Senator Huff. “School choice for parents and children, not subjective labels, is the underlying purpose of the Open Enrollment Act. Nobody likes to be labeled substandard.”
Senator Huff serves as the Senate Republican Leader and represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties.
RADIO STATIONS: Three sound bites in .mp3 format featuring Senator Huff during today’s committee hearing can be accessed at: