The survival of California employers in the global economy depends upon the state’s ability to maintain a high-quality education system that adequately prepares all students to compete in the workforce. Without this, a growing number of employers will be forced to recruit qualified workers from outside of the state, which can be quite expensive given California’s high cost of living. Some employers may eventually choose to relocate or expand into other markets rather than take on this added expense. Others may simply see their profit margins shrink.

The quality of the state’s education system also is critical to ensuring that individual Californians develop the skills and credentials they need to compete for middle-class jobs that can support their families. Increasingly, these jobs require some level of postsecondary education or training. According to a 2012 report issued by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley Report), lack of educational attainment continues to be strongly correlated with unemployment, poverty and incarceration rates.

A report by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) from September 2014 similarly highlighted the link between educational attainment and unemployment, and noted that individual income also is affected. Individuals with even some college earn an average of 20% to 30% more than their peers with only a high school diploma, and as education increases, so does an individual’s earning capacity.



Foster greater business involvement to improve both teacher and student performance and administrative accountability in schools throughout California.

Major Victories

Supported adoption of legislation in 2015 allowing high school students to take college-level coursework to avoid the need for remediation and expand access to college-level career technical education courses (AB 288)

Filed a friend-of-the-court brief in 2015 in support of a landmark trial court decision striking down laws related to teacher tenure and dismissal that disadvantage low-income students and contribute to the state’s shortfall of highly skilled workers (Vergara v. California).

Supported creation of pilot program in 2014 allowing certain community colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree in a subject related to an unmet workforce need (SB 850).

Backed legislation in 2014 promoting computer science education (AB 1764, SB 1200, AB 1539).

Backed proposal signed into law in 2013 improving the associate degree for transfer pathway for students (SB 440).

Helped improve alignment in 2012 in the state’s workforce needs and education resources (SB 1402).

Supported bills signed into law in 2012 that provide support services to students on the front end of their educational experience, as well as strengthen and focus California career technical education programs (SB 1456, SB 1070).

Supported High-Quality Curriculum and Instruction. Backed 2011 legislation that will increase high school graduation rates, improve the college and workplace readiness of those graduates and train teachers to better prepare California’s students to compete in a global economy by emphasizing education programs that provide students with real-world experience and rigorous coursework to help them engage and excel (SB 611, SB 612).

Promoted Student Preparation for Workplace. Advocated passage of legislation in 2010 that will help increase the number of students who go on to obtain a four-year degree by requiring California Community Colleges to offer an associate’s degree for transfer (SB 1440); and bills putting California in the best position to meet requirements for federal grants for education (SBX5 4, SBX5 1).

Supported Rigorous Education Standards. Joined former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other business organizations in arguing in favor of the Algebra I test requirement for eighth graders, the highest mathematics education standard in the nation. Adoption of the standard by the state education board in 2008 will maintain the state’s competitiveness and appeal to world-class businesses with high-wage jobs.

Protected hard-won measures to ensure schools are held accountable for student achievement in a court case upholding the high school exit exam and by securing the veto of legislation that would have undermined the effectiveness of the exam by lowering state student proficiency standards (AB 2975).


The California Chamber of Commerce seeks to ensure that all students graduate from high school adequately prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education without the need for remediation. All students should be exposed to high-quality courses related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics throughout their education, and be taught to develop critical thinking and analytical skills.

More high school graduates should be prepared to continue their education by earning a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree, and postsecondary education should be affordable and attainable within a reasonable period of time.

Issue Summary

Litigation Update

Pending Cases Challenge Teacher Tenure/Evaluation, Union Fee Laws

Position: The CalChamber supports efforts to evaluate and compensate teachers based on their ability to improve student achievement, as determined using multiple measures, including standardized test scores. The CalChamber supports efforts to protect high-quality teachers from seniority-based layoffs and transfers. The CalChamber also supports investments in teacher training and professional development, particularly when it relates to implementation of the Common Core or the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Litigation Update

Recent News

Education Bills


Staff Contact

Marty-Fisher-2008-300x300Marti Fisher
Policy Advocate
Education, Unemployment Insurance, Regulatory Reform, Tourism, Immigration