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Assembly Education Chair Visits COC

Assemblyman Portantino tours campus, talks with school officials

The Chair of the California State Assembly Committee on Higher Education Anthony Portantino made a visit to Santa Clarita this afternoon to visit College of the Canyons.

His visit was arranged by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, who spoke very highly of his fellow Assemblyman, who is Democrat.

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Assemblymen Smyth and Portantino

Contact was originally made by the large delegation of Santa Clarita residents and business leaders who boarded a bus to Sacramento back in May as part of a lobbying trip sponsored by Smyth’s office, KHTS AM-1220, Valencia Acura and the SCV Chamber of Commerce.

There, the delegation met with Assemblyman Portantino and discussed educational issues, one of which being the staunch restrictions on concurrent enrollment of students taking classes at College of the Canyons while still in high school.

So this afternoon’s meeting was an extension of those discussions, and also included a proposed base funding cut of $80 million in the state budget, textbook prices, and career technology training.

Portantino seemed very interested in the topics brought up to him during the meeting, and noted that many of the advances in education that COC was trailblazing fit in with his philosophy. “I want to change the educational model,” he said. “We’re not a manufacturing economy anymore; now, even the guy that drives a tractor has to have technological training because there’s a GPS unit in that tractor.”

As far as concurrent enrollment is concerned, Portantino said he is working with the State Senate Education policy makers to try and ease up the restrictions on how many students can partake in the program.

“It’s about providing our generation and the subsequent generation with the opportunity to be educated,” Portantino stated.

He went on to make it known that he doesn’t believe that the system should dictate who gets what type of education.   

After the meeting, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth said that it was a great opportunity to open the doors to working together.

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“It helps to develop the relationship. The chairman and I spend a lot of time together, but it is important for him to see some of the challenges and issues we have in my district, especially around higher education,” commented Smyth.

In the future, Smyth also hopes to bring Portantino back to see Cal Arts and the Masters College as well.