Los Angeles County Supervisors Unanimously Join Coalition in Support of State STEM School Bill
League of United Latin American Citizen (LULAC), building trades unions, and former NM Governor Bill Richardson also call for passage of AB 1217
Sacramento, CA —Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously called for passage of Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) and Senator Anthony Portantino’s (D-La Cañada Flintridge) legislation to create the first California state public school specializing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education aimed at serving traditionally underrepresented sixth through twelfth grade students in Los Angeles County.
Additionally, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as well as the following building trades unions – California State Association of Electrical Workers, California State Pipe Trades Council, Southern California Pipe Trades, IBEW Local 11, and Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers – all announced their support for AB 1217.
“As a college professor and a product of Los Angeles public schools, I strongly believe that students today deserve every opportunity available to access a high-quality STEM education so that they can become the future leaders of our state’s dynamic, growing STEM industry,” said Bocanegra. “There is much work to be done, but I am thrilled to see the growing coalition of supporters who recognize the need to expand access to one of California’s signature, homegrown industries.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the nation’s STEM workforce will increase approximately 13 percent between 2012 and 2022, a figure that outpaces the projected growth in other occupations. As those job opportunities become available, the demand for a well-educated workforce increases. At a time when California’s STEM industries are expanding, the need to support students from underrepresented communities to become the next generation of STEM leaders and innovators is particularly urgent.
“As California’s economy continues to grow and our demographic profile evolves, we need to consider new, innovative programs so that Latino/a students and future teachers are afforded an equitable opportunity to fully participate within the present and future STEM environment,” said David Rodriguez, California State LULAC President. “One core aspect of the bill is to address the present and projected shortage of qualified and competent STEM teachers within the real of public education.”
AB 1217 is also supported by the California Institute of Technology, AMGEN, California Life Sciences Association, University of Southern California, United Negro College Fund, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Technet, Discovery Cub Los Angels, Homeboy Industries, Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Los Angeles Urban League, Architect Frank Gehry, Civil Rights Attorney Constance Rice, and a number of LA area elected officials, among others.
The legislation will establish the California State STEM School, which will serve 800 students in Los Angeles County who otherwise suffer barriers-to-entry into the STEM workforce. A board of directors, comprised of several public appointments, will oversee the school, which will be established as a nonprofit organization. Additionally, the school will aim to become a hub for STEM-specific learning, for teachers and families, offering professional development for teachers and hosting community events, such as science fairs. It will be funded through a combination of philanthropic support from foundations, individuals, and California’s robust STEM industry, together with existing per-pupil dollars.
“California is world-renowned for its institutes of higher learning and its expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),” Portantino said. “Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors joined dozens of advocates who want all California students to have the chance to change the world by leading, learning and innovating in the STEM fields. I thank the supervisors for their support of the California State STEM School and am excited to work together to help our students succeed.”
*Updated 8/25/17 10:00 a.m.
Luis Sanchez, Chief of Staff
Office of Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra
Brendan Hughes, Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Anthony Portantino