Bill Supporting American Indian Education Centers Clears First Hurdle

Education Committee Approves SB 911, which extends vital program helping Native American students stay in school

March 9, 2016

SACRAMENTO – The Senate Education Committee today passed legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, that would make the California American Indian Education Center program permanent so it can continue to assist Native American students and help them stay in school and go on to college. 

Without SB 911, the program will expire on Jan. 1, 2017 and no longer be eligible for state support. Across the state, there are 22 such centers operating in 17 counties. The centers provide tutoring, weekend field trips and specialized services to help improve the academic achievement of Native American students.

“California American Indian Education Centers have proved to be valuable resources for students, helping Native Americans succeed in the classroom,” Hertzberg said. “Today, it is more important than ever for California students from all backgrounds to stay in school, get an education and learn the skills they will need to compete for good jobs in the 21st century.”

Student achievement among Native Americans has traditionally lagged behind the state average. In 2014, the high school dropout rate for Native Americans was 19 percent, compared to the overall state average of 11.5 percent, according the state Department of Education.

The legislation is sponsored by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians of Santa Barbara County.

“The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is proud to participate in the American Indian Education Center (AIEC) program and its extension,” said Vincent Armenta, chairman of the tribe. “Dropout rates at Chumash are almost zero, which we credit to the Chumash AIEC and Education Program.”

The California American Indian Education Center program began in 1974 and is administered by the state Department of Education. For the 2014-15 fiscal year, the program received $4 million in state funding.

SB 911 passed the Senate Education Committee on a bipartisan 8-0 vote and goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee.  

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Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map at http://sd18.senate.ca.gov/district.  After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/hertzberg.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew LaMar
Communications Director
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4018

 

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