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It’s back to school time. As a parent, teacher, and your representative in Sacramento, I am committed to ensuring that we invest in our children’s success, which results in a better California. I serve as the Chair of the Assembly Education Committee and am well positioned to ensure that Long Beach and surrounding areas have a voice in how state education policy is shaped while addressing the issues I hear from parents and employers in our Assembly District.

The priorities to ensure California student success are obvious and backed up by research. To this end, I have been well at work in Sacramento to ensure the following:

• Increased school funding.

• Two free years of community college for full-time students.

• Additional funds for UC and CSU to increase enrollment for California residents.

• Funding for preschool — especially for low-income children.

• Restoring Vocational/Career Technical Programs in our schools.

• Addressing the teacher shortage by streamlining the path to earn a teaching credential.

The role of Sacramento in our state’s educational system is simple: provide expectations, resources and accountability. But there are also some things state legislators should not do.

Legislators should not attempt to micro-manage the classroom from Sacramento. Every year, I am faced with a slew of bills that seek to usurp the role of local school boards and ultimately teachers in the classroom. Bills that seek to set the school bell schedule or take away a school district’s ability to ensure student accountability may be well intended but often have unintended consequences.

As your voice in Sacramento, I can assure you that Long Beach Unified is repeatedly held up as an example to other school districts. I commend our school board, superintendent, school administrators and teachers for their innovative, forward thinking approach to education, and I will continue to share with my colleagues our success and how we can replicate them throughout the state.

Strengthening the California educational system is a work in progress and there is much more to be done. I can assure you I am committed to this effort and I encourage you to share your thoughts with me regarding this matter or any other issues.

Patrick O'Donnell represents the 70th Assembly District, which includes much of Long Beach.

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