There are multiple players who take part in setting education policy in the state of California.

Article IX, which focuses on education, of the California Constitution has sixteen sections. Section 2 provides that a Superintendent of Public Instruction, sometimes referred to as SPI, shall be elected by the qualified electors of the state at each gubernatorial election. And no Superintendent of Public Instruction may serve more than two terms. The SPI is a nonpartisan office, although it’s worth noting that it was originally partisan.

The SPI directs all the functions of the Department of Education, and the SPI executes the policy set forth by the Department or the Board of Education, and the SPI chairs the Board of Education. Generally, they viewed as the state’s chief spokesperson for the public schools who provides education policy and direction to the local school districts. And he or she serves as an ex-officio member of the CSU community college and UC higher education systems.

Next is the State Board of Education, SBE, which was established in 1852. SBE is the governing and policy-making body of the California Department of Education. The board itself is comprised of 11 members, and note that both the Constitution and state statutes assign the State Board of Education a variety of different responsibilities.

The SBE has also adopted statewide academic standards for content and student performance in all the major topics: English, language arts, history, social science, math, science, visual and performing arts, and even physical education. Now 10 of the board’s 11 members are appointed by the governor for staggered four-year terms. They’re subject to confirmation by the state Senate, but not by majority vote. Instead, by a two-thirds vote, and that has to occur within one year of their appointment to the board.

The 11th member is also appointed by the governor and subject to Senate confirmation. However, that individual serves a one-year term and is a California public high school student. Note that the student does enjoy full voting rights and all the rights and privileges of the board membership. The only difference, again, is he or she serves a one-year term.

Then there is the Department of Education, CDE. CDE is under the direction of the Superintendent and the CDE implements the policies that have been adopted by the State Board of Education.

The Constitution also spells out the role that Legislature has in education policy in California as well.

You can find the transcript of the audio in today’s post here.

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