Event Michal Kurlaender Thomas Timar

School Hosts Education Policy Advocates Forum
October 2012

The School of Education’ Center for Applied Policy in Education (CAP-Ed), in partnership with the Poverty Research Center at UC Davis, hosted leading education advocates in panel discussion about education policy in California and the ramifications of the November election on school finance in the state. “Education Policymaking in a Time of Uncertainty: Reflections from the Third House” was organized by Michal Kurlaender, associate professor of education policy and leadership. View the discussion online.

“The ‘third house’ refers to those who work at the ‘public’ part of the public policy process,” said Kurlaender. “Some may refer to them as special interests, but they are only special until they are yours. We are lucky to have them here today to help us think about what is at stake for education in California.”

Moderated by Thomas Timar, executive director of the School’s Center for Applied Policy in Education, the panelists represented a wide variety of constituents:

  • Patti Herrera, Executive Director of Government Relations, Riverside County School Superintendents’ Association
  • Estelle Lemieux, Budget Lobbyist, California Teachers Association
  • Dennis Meyers, Assistant Executive Director, Government Relations, California School Boards Association
  • Stephen Rhoads, Principal Consultant, Strategic Education Services
  • Jeff Vaca, Deputy Executive Director, Government Relations, California Association of School Business Officials

Citing term limits and a general lack of institutional knowledge, Vaca said, “A lot of bills at the Capitol are solutions looking for a problem. All of the legislators are well-meaning, but they come at the issues with a narrow scope and limited knowledge of education.” Vaca has been working on public education policy issues since the late 1980s.

Herrera said, “The value I bring to people under the dome is expertise and information from people with boots on the ground. I serve as a conduit of information, helping to close the gap between policymakers in Sacramento and students” in Riverside County.

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