The LMU School of Education doctoral students travel to Sacramento each year to meet with legislative staff and policy advisors focused on education issues at the state level. The annual trip is organized in partnership with the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU). This year the students in doctoral cohort six had the opportunity to see lawmakers in action, discuss policy issues and better understand how to advocate for change in California’s capitol.
“The Sacramento trip provided great insight into the legislative process and the strategic politicking that occurs throughout the Assembly and Senate. As my dissertation involves the use of fiscal resources and the allocation of those resources, receiving an inside look at the budget situation was especially interesting and helpful,” said Kati Krumpe, a doctoral candidate and director of state and federal projects for Torrance Unified School District.
Shane P. Martin, dean and professor for the LMU School of Education remarked, “It’s important for our doctoral students, who are the next generation of education leaders, to see how public the policy process works. This opportunity raises awareness for how policy is made and how important it is to be involved.”
This year, the students met with six staffers working on education issues in a Capitol committee room. Some highlights included:
Chris Reefe, legislative representative for the Office of Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, noted that the Superintendent remains focused on the achievement gap as well as policies that affect the education of the whole child, whole school and district.
Judy Heiman, principal fiscal & policy analyst from the Legislative Analyst Office, gave an overview of her office’s role as the nonpartisan fiscal and policy adviser to legislature, an independent voice on policy matters.
Kathleen Chavira, principal consultant for the Senate Education Committee, described her role, which is to summarize bills by breaking them down into nuts and bolts as well as provide commentary and suggest amendments through the nonpartisan lens of good policy.
Lisa N. Douglass, vice president for public affairs and registered lobbyist at AICCU, said of the experience, “It’s important for AICCU to connect policymakers with the best and brightest students from our independent colleges and universities so that they can see the quality of these students and institutions. It’s extremely valuable for the LMU doctoral students who get to see how the Capitol works, how policy is made. Policymakers often tell me after the fact that students ask questions or raise points on issues that the policymakers are working on, offering a fresh perspective to policy problems.”