WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO
Allow school districts to administer a college entrance exam — likely the SAT — in place of the standardized tests that students currently take in 11th grade.
WHO SUPPORTS IT?
The California School Boards Association and a number of local school districts. They, along with bill author Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, argue that the SAT is more meaningful to high-schoolers, and that offering it for free during the school day will allow more low-income students to take it.
Many advocacy organizations that focus on low-income students and students of color oppose AB 751, along with the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office, and student associations at the University of California and community colleges. They say the SAT is racially biased, exacerbates inequality and should be de-emphasized in college admissions.
WHY IT MATTERS
Long Beach Unified School District already offers free, in-class SAT testing and says it has doubled the percentage of students who take the exam. It and dozens of other districts with similar policies could save money if the bill passes by administering one test instead of two. But the nationwide college admissions scandal, in which wealthy parents are accused of paying for falsified test results, has added fuel to a longstanding campaign for colleges to drop the SAT. A UC task force is currently considering changes to how the university uses the exam in admissions.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill O’Donnell authored last year. Newsom hasn’t hesitated to part company with Brown on education issues. But on Oct. 12, 2019, with the lingering stench of the Varsity Blues scandal, he, too, vetoed AB 751, citing concerns that the switch would create new hurdles for underrepresented students and remove a much-needed measure for recent K-12 school reforms.