SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — The Senate Select Committee on College and University Admissions and Outreach, Chaired by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) will hold a hearing on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:00 at the Fresno Board of Education, 2309 Tulare Street in Fresno.

The hearing, titled “English Proficiency as a Barrier to College Admission: The Costs of a Broken System” will explore how state and federal funding shapes California’s English Learner system and whether it is meeting the needs of our students.

“Our success in teaching California students English and reclassifying them Fluent English Proficient not only opens doors of opportunity for our students; it directly impacts the economic sustainability of our state,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “These young people are California’s future and it is vital that we do everything we can to make sure they are prepared to compete in the 21st Century economy,” said Senator Alex Padilla.

Senator Padilla’s committee has focused its efforts on reforming the English Learner System. In California, 1.45 million public school students are classified as English Learners. An English Learner is a K-12 student who is deemed not proficient in English. Each year, just 11 percent of these students are reclassified Fluent English Proficient. California’s failure to successfully reclassify students English Proficient has had a negative effect on student academic outcomes. Nearly 90 percent of English Learners do not complete courses necessary for admission to a California State University or the University of California.

As a result of his efforts, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed SB 753 (Padilla) which reforms how English Learners are evaluated in California schools by moving the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) from the fall to the spring. This will provide teachers time to work with, and help students reach English proficiency for their grade level. Once reclassified as Fluent-English Proficient, students are able to participate in courses which are required for admission to both the California State University and the University of California systems.

When: Tuesday, November 1, 10 a.m.

Where: Fresno Unified School District Board room, 2309 Tulare Street, Fresno

What: Senate Select Committee on College and University Admissions and Outreach

Who: Senator Alex Padilla and fellow members of the Senate Select Committee

Larry Powell, Superintendent of Fresno County Office of Education

Michael Hansen, Superintendent of Fresno Unified School District

Rachel Ehlers, Legislative Analyst Office

Carol Bingham, Senior Fiscal Policy Adviser, California Department of Education

Dr. Jaime Aquino, Deputy Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District

Justo Robles, California Teachers Association

Carol Bingham, Senior Fiscal Policy Adviser, California Department of Education

Monique Ramos, Legislative Representative, California Department of Education

Bob Blattner, Blattner & Associates, represents several school districts

Richard Lopez, Principal, Planada Elementary School

Cheryl Ortega, Board of Director member for Bilingual Education, UTLA

Elizabeth Guillen, Public Advocates

Maria Maldonado, Assistant Superintendent, English Learner Services of Fresno USD

Deborah Dougherty, Program Manager, San Diego USD Office of Language Acquisition

Lupe Mejia, parent and former Chair of the Fresno USD English Learner Advisory Committee

Senator Alex Padilla represents more than 850,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District which includes most of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.