The Block Bill: The Other Online Higher Ed Mandate

Although the online higher ed bill by Senate president Darrell Steinberg (SB 520) has been receiving much attention – as well as opposition from UC – there is another bill on the subject that is also pending in the legislature.*  That bill, by Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego), has received a much softer response from UC, essentially that it might be OK with more faculty control and funding.  The bill, as introduced, requires the UC Academic Senate to undertake certain actions with language for UC indicating that the Regents should first endorse the requirement.
Below is the text of the bill and – below that – is a link to the UC response.
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BILL NUMBER: SB 547 Senator Block
FEBRUARY 22, 2013
An act to add Chapter 11.5 (commencing with Section 66950) to Part 40 of Division 5 of Title 3 of the Education Code, relating to public postsecondary education.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
SB 547, as introduced, Block. Public postsecondary education: online courses.
(1) Existing law, the Donahoe Higher Education Act, sets forth the missions and functions of the segments of the public postsecondary education system in the state, including the University of California administered by the Regents of the University of California, the California State University administered by the Trustees of the California State University, and the California Community Colleges administered by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. Provisions of the act are applicable to the University of California only to the extent that the regents, by appropriate resolution, make them applicable.
Existing law requires the Board of Governors, the Trustees, and the Regents, with appropriate consultation with the academic senates of the respective segments, to jointly develop, maintain, and disseminate a common core curriculum in general education courses for the purpose of transfer. Existing law deems any person who completes this transfer core curriculum as having completed all lower division general education requirements for the University of California and the California State University.
This bill would require the academic senates of the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges to jointly develop and identify online courses that would be made available to students of each of the 3 segments for enrollment by the fall of 2014. The bill would require the online courses to be in areas defined as high demand transferable lower division courses under the Intersegmental General Education Transfer
Curriculum and to be deemed to meet the lower division transfer and degree requirements for the 3 segments. The bill would require the board of governors to create an Internet portal through the California Virtual Campus that facilitates enrollment in the online courses. The bill would require funding for implementation of the bill to be provided for in the annual Budget Act, and would state the intent of the Legislature that the University of California’s receipt of this funding be contingent upon its compliance with the bill’s requirements.
Pursuant to existing law, this bill would be applicable to the University of California only upon the adoption of an appropriate resolution by the Regents.
By placing additional requirements on community college districts, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 11.5 (commencing with Section 66950) is added to Part 40 of Division 5 of Title 3 of the Education Code, to read:
CHAPTER 11.5.  ONLINE COURSES
66950. (a) The academic senates of the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges shall jointly develop and identify online courses that shall be made available to students of each of the three segments for enrollment by the fall of 2014. The online courses shall be in areas defined as high demand transferable lower division courses under the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum.
(b) The online courses developed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be deemed to meet the lower division transfer and degree requirements for the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges.
(c) The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges shall create an Internet portal through the California Virtual Campus that facilitates enrollment in the courses developed pursuant to subdivision (a).
(d) The University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges shall do both of the following:
   (1) Develop a process for determining and identifying which students are most likely to succeed in the online courses developed pursuant to subdivision (a) and target enrollment efforts toward those students.
   (2) Inform students of the technical requirements a student must satisfy in order to successfully participate in and complete the online courses developed pursuant to subdivision (a).
(e) (1) Funding for the implementation of this section shall be provided for in the annual Budget Act.
  (2) It is the intent of the Legislature that the University of California’s receipt of funding for the implementation of this section be contingent upon its compliance with the requirements of this section, notwithstanding Section 67400.
SEC. 2. If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
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*Our most recent post on the Steinberg bill is at
In short, it’s not just Steinberg’s bill; now we’re playing with Block’s:
 

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