Scope and Content
Related Collections at the California State Archives
Title: California State Senate Education Committee Records
Collection number: See series descriptions for LP numbers.
Senate Education Committee, 1850-2009
Senate Interim Committee on Education
Senate Select Committee on Education
Senate Subcommittee on Child Development and Child Care Programs
Senate Subcommittee on Educator Evaluation
Senate Subcommittee on Education Reform
Senate Subcommittee on Education Vouchers
Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education
Senate Subcommittee on the Relationship of the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Senate Subcommittee on School Finance
106 cubic feet
California State Archives
Abstract: The Senate Education Committee was created by the first legislature of California on December 21, 1850. The Senate Education
Committee records consist of 106 cubic feet of records reflecting the committee's activities, along with those of its antecedents,
in studying and analyzing primary education related legislation as well as higher education issues.
Physical location: California State Archives
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is open for research.
The California State Archives received the records of the Senate Education Committee over a number of years and archives staff
arranged them at various times. While the physical arrangement of the records reflects this variety, this inventory describes
all of the records according to present archival descriptive standards for legislative committee records. Therefore, the
physical arrangement of these records does not necessarily follow the inventory's order.
For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication
is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility
for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives
[Identification of item], Senate Education Committee Records, LP[number]:[folder number], California State Archives, Office
of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.
The California State Archives acquired the Senate Education Committee records according to state law.
Education has been an important issue for the state legislature since it's beginning in 1850. The Committee on Public Schools
was the first Senate committee that addressed education in California. This committee was created by the first legislature
of California on December 21, 1850. In the next session the name was changed to the Committee on Education and it was resolved
that any bill relating to education and common schools be referred to this committee.
When California officially became a state in 1850, the United States government appropriated 500,000 acres of land to be used
for the establishment and support of common schools. The Senate Education Committee was called upon to report on the proper
apportionment of money derived from the sale of this land. The committee found that any money made by sale of that land should
only fund education. In the first decades of statehood, the committee also dealt with fundamental issues that accompanied
creating the state school system. This three-member committee addressed the possibility of incorporating into the state school
system institutions of higher education that were previously privately run.
As the realm of education expanded in California, the committee expanded as well. Over the years the committee has averaged
11 members, reaching a high of 14 members in the 1999-2000 legislative session. In 1951 the committee heard bills that amended
the education code or were related to the University of California and any uncodified legislation relating to either. By
1970 the committee's scope changed to include bills relating to education, higher education, and educational personnel other
than noncertificated state employees. As the population in California grew, so did the need for more funding for public schools.
The committee heard bills that dealt with school districts facing bankruptcy, which would have left many children without
education. They also dealt with issues regarding aid for incorporating secondary and higher education institutions into the
state school system.
The chairpersons of this committee from 1962 - 2008 were as follows:
Donnelly, Hugh P. (Dem), 1962-1966
Rodda, Albert S. (Dem), 1967-1976
Dunlap, John F. (Dem), 1977-1978
Carpenter, Paul B. (Dem), 1979-1980
Sieroty, Alan (Dem), 1981-1982
Hart, Gary K. (Dem.), 1983-1994
Greene, Leroy F. (Dem.), 1995-1998
Alpert, Deirdre (Dede) (Dem.), 1999-2000
Vasconcellos, John (Dem.), 2001-2004
Scott, Jack (Dem.), 2005-2008
Scope and Content
The Senate Education Committee records consist of 106 cubic feet of records reflecting the committee's activities, along with
those of its antecedents, in studying and analyzing primary education related legislation as well as higher education issues.
The bulk of the collection consists of bill files, which date from 1964 through 2006. Second in size to the bill files is
the hearing files series, which dates from 1965 through 2005. The collection's large volume and date range of hearing files
from the education standing, interim, and subcommittees provide researchers with clear insight into the concerns and issues
being addressed by the committee and its antecedents.
Education is an integral part of California's structure. The legislation addressed and passed with the recommendation of
this committee has the potential to affect every citizen of the state as they move through the public, private, and higher
education system in California.
The remainder of the collection includes subject files, reports, and correspondence (see series descriptions for complete
list of dates). These three series can provide researchers with an idea of the wide range of topics that the Senate Education
Committee has dealt with since its creation in the early years of statehood. These topics include adoption of new textbooks,
year round school operations, and appropriating money to aid incorporated colleges.
One consistent issue that has been a priority for the Senate Education Committee is that of school safety. In 1997 the legislature
passed the Michelle Montoya School Safety Act, which requires a school district to obtain a fingerprint check prior to hiring
any person for any position that does not require a credential. This bill, AB1610, arose out of the murder of a high school
student by a non-credentialed employee before his fingerprints revealed his prior felony conviction (Chapter 588, Statutes
of 1997). Additionally, in 1999 AB1136 was passed requiring any new or modernized school funded by the state to include a
telephone connection in each classroom or equivalent wireless technology (Chapter 709, Statutes of 1999). The committee considered
many letters from teachers who found themselves in dangerous situations with no way to get help.
Safety is a concern in institutions of higher education as well. AB1088 requires community college districts and the Trustees
of California State University to provide educational and preventative information about sexual violence and requests that
the Regents of the University of California do the same (Chapter 647, Statutes of 2005). Additionally, this bill provides
that victims of on-campus violence receive information and treatment.
The collection also contains several issues the committee dealt with continually over the past three decades. School district
bailouts consistently appear in the Senate Education Committee's collection. In the 1991-1992 legislative session, the Richmond
Unified School District (RUSD) filed bankruptcy and the schools were ordered closed, putting 31,000 students out of their
classrooms two months early. In order to keep the schools open, parents sued and the legislature stepped in, passing AB129
that loaned 29 million dollars to RUSD. The board of education for RUSD turned its power over to a state appointed administrator,
who prepared fiscal and educational reports as well as program requirements the district had to meet.
Due to a rise in hate crimes that spread across the United States in the 1990's, bills passed through the Senate Education
Committee that proposed curriculum dealing with teaching tolerance and non-biased education. AB2543, introduced in 1994,
addresses reducing hate violence in schools by educating students from young ages about tolerance for people of all ethnicities,
races, and lifestyles (Chapter 1198, Statutes of 1994). Name the California Schools Hate Violence Act of 1995,this bill encourages
teachers to impress upon the minds of pupils the meaning of equality and human dignity, including the encouragement of harmonious
relations. Schools are also directed to work to prevent hate violence by creating an environment free from discriminatory
attitudes. Additionally, in 2000 AB1945 added the development of tolerance programs to the statutory objectives that a school
site staff development plan should address (Chapter 960, Statutes of 2000).
Because of its far-reaching scope of influence on society and the role it often plays as leader in the field of education
related solutions, the legislation assigned to the Senate Education Committee captures the attention of a large and wide variety
of groups and individuals. These records are valuable to those researching the development and transformation of California's
public education system.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
California State Senate Education Committee
School districts Finance
Related Collections at the California State Archives
Albert S. Rodda Papers
John F. Dunlap Papers
Alan Sieroty Papers
Deirdre Alpert Papers
Oral Histories of Committee Chairs
Deirdre "Dede" Alpert, Oral History Interview, Conducted 2005 by Christopher J. Castaneda, Department of History, California
State University, Sacramento, for the California State Archives State Government Oral History Program.
John F. Dunlap, Oral History Interview, Conducted 1988 by Carole Hicke, Regional Oral History Office, University of California
at Berkeley, for the California State Archives State Government Oral History Program.
Alan G. Sieroty, Oral History Interview, Conducted 1989-1990 by Carlos Vasquez, Oral History Program, University of California
at Los Angeles, for the California State Archives State Government Oral History Program.