Assemblymember Julia Brownley told the Mirror that becoming Chair of the Education Committee is “just where she wanted to be at this point in time” because impacting education was her reason for wanting to go to Sacramento.
Brownley, who represents Santa Monica and Malibu, wants to take “the state’s discussion of where education needs to go and move into the headlines.” She noted, “Education usually is only in the headlines when cuts are being made or when kids are failing.” Areas she feels that need to be addressed are raising the level of education students receive, recruiting and retaining high quality teachers, and making sure that the “right conditions for learning” exist at every school site.
Another one of Brownley’s goals is comprehensive reform in the way the state finances education. She would like to see a more “simplified formula that is more transparent.”
Brownley would also like the state to look at education as an investment to be made based on data received on student achievement. She believes that the policies school districts currently use to help close the achievement gap merit closer scrutiny.
Another one of Brownley’s priorities is to have California legislators be in a position to give input when the federal No Child Left Behind legislation is reviewed. She hopes she can be part of that process by becoming a member of California’s Washington delegation.
Brownley was just re-elected to represent the 41st Assembly District for a second term earlier this month. During her first term, she chaired the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2 on Education Finance and the Assembly Select Committee on Higher Education in the 21st Century. She also was a member of two committees that reflected her interest in environmental and resource protection: the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and the Budget Subcommittee #3 on Environmental Resources.
One of the environmental bills that Brownley sponsored, along with State Senator Sheila Kuehl, was Senate Bill 990 which provides clear standards for the cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a contaminated former rocket engine testing site.
Along with two other legislators, Brownley is currently sponsoring Assembly Bill 2058, which would prohibit retailers from providing free plastic bags to their customers until they demonstrate they have achieved a 70 percent reduction in their usage. There is an interest in reducing the number of single-use plastic bags because they contribute to litter, can be blown from trashcans into the environment, clog storm drains, and can cause death to marine life. This bill is currently being considered in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Brownley was a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education for 12 years before being elected to the State Assembly. She is the mother of two children who are alumni of Santa Monica High School.