College admissions scandal: California Legislature targets alleged scheme

California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, (D) Paramount, detailed a package of a half dozen bills introduced to stop cheating on college admissions.

While the measures apply to the state's universities and colleges, they also affect private education benefiting from CalGrants.

"We know there's a crisis with respect to access," Rendon said. "This college admissions crisis, to the extent it impacts the UCs, is a crisis that really continues to undermine public confidence, and for us as a legislature to make sure that we're looking at it, is something that we have to do."

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Speaking on Eyewitness Newsmakers, Rendon discussed the bills targeting loopholes in the admissions system. Lawmakers are considering eliminating the SAT and ACT entrance examinations altogether. A San Francisco assemblyman is proposing the elimination of preferential admissions for applicants related to donors or alumni. Other laws include requiring three administrators to approve special admissions and the regulation of admission consultants.

Rendon, a strong proponent of early education, previewed a Blue Ribbon Commission report expected within weeks that addresses the benefits of preschool in the achievement gap in the education system. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a one-time expenditure of $2 billion for the program, which could apply to children from 6 months to 5 years old.

The speaker had a dire prediction if the president is successful in eliminating the Affordable Care Act through the court.

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"There are going to be a lot of people in this country and this state who will suffer as a result of it," he said.

Asked if Covered California would go away, Rendon said, "It essentially would."

On the governor's moratorium on the death penalty, Rendon discussed the likelihood of a state constitutional amendment outlawing capital punishment. The polling of the electorate varies between support for a death penalty ban and support for its continuation. He said the 2020 electorate might produce one result while the 2022 might produce another.

The state's mayors, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, went to Sacramento asking for more than the $500 million for homeless housing in the current state budget and to have more autonomy over spending that money. Rendon said the high cost of housing is essentially what has caused this crisis and more affordable housing needs to be built.
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