Today's Law As Amended

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SB-424 The California Regional Environmental Education Community Network.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Environmental literacy is an important element of the next generation science standards that California has adopted as well as a key component, via California’s adopted environmental principles and concepts, of both the science and the history-social science curriculum frameworks adopted by the State Board of Education.
(b) Not only does environmental literacy constitute an important curriculum content area, but it also provides problem solving skills and hands-on, real-world learning experiences that can enhance pupil understanding across many subject areas.
(c) Developing an environmentally literate population will not only enhance our ability to develop and implement solutions to our environmental challenges but will provide a critical foundation of skills and knowledge to help pupils compete in a growing job market where science, mathematics, and language arts proficiency are highly sought after.
(d) California teachers and other school and out-of-school educators are in great need of support for the in-service professional development, lesson planning, standards-aligned curriculum and instructional materials, and hands-on problem solving activities that can help pupils develop environmental literacy. Furthermore, there are wide disparities across the state in access to environment-based learning experiences.
(e) California has a rich array of scientists, community-based organizations, and environmental education providers whose deep expertise can be harnessed to support expanded environmental literacy instruction in our public schools.
(f) The most effective and cost-efficient means of expanding environmental literacy instruction is a state-local partnership of regional networks comprised of teachers and other school and out-of-school educators, full-time science, health, and environmental professionals, community-based organizations, and environmental education providers. Further, regional networks can improve access to environment-based learning experiences for pupils in all parts of California.

SEC. 2.

 Article 6 (commencing with Section 8780) is added to Chapter 4 of Part 6 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code, to read:

Article  6. The California Regional Environmental Education Community Network
8780.
 This article shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network.
8781.
 (a) The California Regional Environmental Education Community Network is hereby established. The purpose of the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network is to facilitate the implementation of high-quality environmental literacy in California public schools that reflects science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and career technical education with a particular focus on the environmental literacy elements of the Next Generation Science Standards and Curriculum Framework, the California History-Social Science Standards and Curriculum Framework, and the Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards.
(b) The California Regional Environmental Education Community Network shall be under the direction and control of a five-member governing board, appointed, as follows:
(1) Two members shall be appointed by the Governor.
(2) One member shall be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules.
(3) One member shall be appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.
(4) One member shall be appointed by the Superintendent.
(c) For purposes of this article, “governing board” means the governing board appointed pursuant to this section.
8782.
 As directed by the governing board, the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network shall accomplish the purposes set forth in this article by undertaking activities that include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(a) Regional coordinators shall convene and build partnerships among local educational agencies and between local educational agencies and community-based environmental education providers in all aspects of environmental literacy.
(b) Regional coordinators and community partners shall provide professional development to educators in environmental literacy and the integration of environmental literacy content and principles with other state-adopted standards and curriculum frameworks.
(c) Regional coordinators and community partners shall provide expertise and assistance to educators in the development and implementation of curriculum inside and outside of the classroom and activities that promote environmental literacy.
(d) Regional coordinators and community partners shall assist local educational agencies in embedding environmental literacy in local control and accountability plans, including, but not limited to, embedding environmental literacy elements in local priorities and goals adopted pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 52060 or subdivision (h) of Section 52066.
(e) Regional coordinators and community partners shall assist educators in linking environmental literacy content and principles to career pathways and to career technical education curriculum and activities.
(f) Regional coordinators and community partners shall assist local educational agencies in ensuring that environmental literacy curriculum and activities are made available on an equitable basis to all pupils and that the environmental literacy curriculum and activities reflect the linguistic, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of California.
(g) Regional coordinators and community partners shall make grants to local educational agencies and to community-based environmental education providers to accomplish the purposes of this article.
8783.
 (a) The Superintendent shall, with the approval of the governing board, provide a grant to a local educational agency, or consortium of local educational agencies, to serve as the fiscal agent for the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network. The fiscal agent shall, at a minimum:
(1) Establish the regional structure for the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network.
(2) Retain a full-time director and not less than 15 full-time regional coordinators.
(3) Periodically convene the regional coordinators for training to assist local educational agencies and community-based environmental education providers in the alignment of both classroom and nonclassroom environmental literacy instruction with appropriate state-adopted standards and curriculum frameworks.
(4) Develop and maintain a resource directory and Internet Web site to assist local educational agencies and community-based environmental education providers to accomplish the purposes of this article and that serves as a resource for environmental literacy issues for employers and other organizations involved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
(b) The Superintendent shall apportion funds appropriated for the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network to the fiscal agent.
(c) Funds appropriated from the General Fund for purposes of this article shall be deemed to be moneys applied by the state for the support of school districts and community college districts as set forth in Section 8 of Article XVI of the California Constitution.
8784.
 Not later than the end of the 2020–21 fiscal year, from funds appropriated for that purpose, the Superintendent shall contract with an appropriate entity to conduct an evaluation of the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network. The evaluation shall, at a minimum, do all of the following:
(a) Determine the degree to which the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network has accomplished the general purposes set forth in Section 8781.
(b) Determine the degree to which the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network has implemented the activities set forth in Section 8782 and the degree to which each of these activities have contributed to accomplishing the general purposes set forth in Section 8781.
(c) Make recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network, including, if appropriate, statutory changes to improve its effectiveness.
(d) The implementation of this article is contingent upon the appropriation of funds for those purposes in the annual Budget Act or another statute.