Advocates of strengthening – or at least not weakening – the teaching of math and science won a partial victory in the final budget that Gov. Brown signed last week. A second year of science for high school graduation remains a state mandate, at the Legislature’s insistence, contrary to Brown’s proposal to make it optional. However, it’s not among the mandates that will be eligible for a block grant reimbursement of $28 per student – at least not as long as the cost of the program is tied up in litigation. The administration contends that the methodology for calculating the $250 million cost for reimbursing districts for second-year science – an IOU that’s been mounting up – is flawed.
Two years of lab science remains a requirement for admission to a four-year state university, but the California Science Teachers Association, among others, argued that extra science instruction is essential for all students, especially those interested in careers requiring technical training.
Retaining the mandate drew praise from Chris Roe, chief executive officer of the California STEM Learning Network. “All students need to have a solid foundation in these critical subjects in order to be able to compete in the 21st century economy. This is why our coalition spoke out so strongly on this issue,” he said.