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AB-2237 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Partnership Academies.(2015-2016)

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Amended  IN  Assembly  April 25, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2016


Assembly Bill No. 2237

Introduced by Assembly Member Olsen
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Baker, Bonilla, Chang, and Gray Gray, Kim, and O'Donnell)
(Coauthor: Senator Bates)

February 18, 2016

An act to add Article 14 (commencing with Section 33480) to Chapter 3 of Part 20 of Division 2 of Title 2 of the Education Code, relating to partnership academies.


AB 2237, as amended, Olsen. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Partnership Academies.
Existing law establishes a system of public elementary and secondary education, with instruction provided by school districts at schoolsites throughout the state. The State Department of Education, under the administration of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, has numerous duties with respect to the funding and conduct of the instructional activities undertaken by school districts.
This bill would establish a program for purposes of providing grants to school districts for the establishment of up to 100 partnership academies dedicated to training young people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:


(1) All young people should be prepared to think deeply and critically so that they can become innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders capable of solving the most pressing challenges facing our nation and world, both today and tomorrow. However, currently, not enough of our youth have access to quality science, technology, engineering, and math mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities, and too few students pupils see these disciplines as springboards to their careers.


(2) Only 81 percent of Asian American high school pupils and 71 percent of white high school pupils attend high schools where the full range of mathematics and science courses, namely Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, algebra I, geometry, algebra II, calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics, are offered. Access to these courses for American Indian, Native Alaskan, black, and Hispanic high school pupils is significantly worse. A child’s race, ZIP code, or socioeconomic status should never determine his or her STEM fluency. Children must be provided with the opportunity to be career- and college-ready in order to thrive in a modern STEM economy.


(3) Only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Even among those who do go on to pursue a college or university major in STEM fields, only about half choose to work in a STEM-related career. In 2014, California’s K–12 public education system ranked 43rd in the nation. Surveys reveal that only 29 percent of Americans rated our nation’s K–12 education system in STEM subjects as above average or the best in the world. In our competitive global economy, these statistics are unacceptable.


(4) Partnership academies provide smaller learning communities with a career-focused theme. Academy components include rigorous academics and career technical education, a committed team of teachers, and active business and postsecondary partnerships.


(b) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature needs to provide more opportunities for pupils in our state’s public schools to access high-quality STEM preparation through a variety of opportunities, including additional funding for establishing STEM-related partnership academies.

SEC. 2.

 Article 14 (commencing with Section 33480) is added to Chapter 3 of Part 20 of Division 2 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:
Article  14. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Partnership Academies Act

 This article shall be known, and may be cited as, cited, as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Partnership Academies.

 (a) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Partnership Academies is hereby established. Commencing with the 2016–17 2017–18 school year, the department, in coordination with the Superintendent Superintendent, shall, with funds appropriated in the annual Budget Act, issue grants for the establishment of 100 partnership academies dedicated to training young people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations, including, but not limited to, application software developer, computer user support specialist, computer programmer, computer hardware engineer, industrial engineer, civil engineer, architectural engineer, aerospace engineer, dietetic technician, medical scientist, microbiologist, general medical practitioner, dental services provider, and chemist.
(b) (1) The selection of school districts to establish STEM partnership academies, and the planning and development of these academies, shall be conducted pursuant to the procedures and requirements established as specified in Section 54691. Planning and development grants under this article shall be made available for up to 100 partnership academies in addition to the total number of grants established pursuant to Section 54691.
(2) A school district applying to convert an existing school program into a STEM partnership academy that meets the criteria for a partnership academy pursuant to Section 54692 and paragraph (3) (4) may receive first-year implementation funds, as appropriate, in accordance with this article.
(3) In awarding grants pursuant to this section, the Superintendent shall grant priority to proposals that address the participation of pupils traditionally underrepresented in STEM education or professions.


(4) To be eligible for funding pursuant to this article, each proposed STEM partnership academy shall satisfy both of the following requirements:
(A) (i) Coursework and internship or preapprenticeship programs of the proposed academy shall focus significant time on the use of emerging technologies and state-of-the-art equipment.
(ii) The proposed STEM partnership academy shall demonstrate compliance with clause (i) through its efforts to obtain input from industry and professional trade organizations.
(B) Staff development opportunities shall be included in the proposed STEM partnership academy plan to ensure that teaching staff has the opportunity to be trained in the use of emerging technologies and become familiar with new equipment and current practices in STEM fields.