Campus: California State University, Fullerton -- February 10, 2006

Cal State Fullerton Professor Elected Vice President of the California County Boards of Education

John W. Bedell, chairman of the Academic Senate and professor of sociology at Cal State Fullerton, has been elected vice president of the California County Boards of Education (CCBE).

The CCBE is the "voice" for county boards of education at the state and federal level, influencing policies and legislation affecting public schools. Last year, Bedell served as secretary/treasurer of the group.

"There are 57 county boards of education in the state of California, and CCBE provides oversight for them," Bedell said. "For instance, CCBE signs off on budgets, oversees alternative schools and school programs for juvenile delinquents, addresses issues of eminent domain and works on legislation affecting K-12."

According to Bedell, last year more than 900 bills were presented before California legislators, and most of those were reviewed by CCBE.

"Actually, 900 is low," he noted. "Usually, about 3,000 bills are presented each year. Because this is an election year, we are expecting the number to be closer to 3,000 than 900. The reason we review all these pending bills - everything from water usage to land development - is because there may be areas that will affect education."

In addition to extensive reading, Bedell also can expect to meet with legislators in Sacramento about twice a month to discuss various bills and issues that may affect education.

With a busy schedule at the university, as well as serving on the North Orange County Board of Education, why take on this challenge?

"I have a passion for education," he said. "It's important that we take our children's education seriously and do what we can to ensure that opportunities are there for children to grow and learn."

For instance, several years ago, Bedell discovered that children in rural counties often were less well-prepared for school than their inner-city contemporaries.

"In small communities, perhaps the local high school can only afford one science teacher," he explained. "It can be difficult for these kids to meet college requirements if they don't have access to teachers or schools that can adequately prepare them. Children of migrant workers, who are often in these rural areas as well, have it even worse. Because they're often moving around, they lose the continuity of a sound education.

"Educating our children has got to be a priority for our state," he said. "That's why I am eager to take on this task."

Bedell, a Fullerton resident, joined the university faculty in 1969 and is serving his fifth term at chair of the Academic Senate. A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, he earned his master's degree and doctorate from Case Western Reserve University.

Media Contacts:
John Bedell at (714) 278-2737 or
Valerie Orleans, Public Affairs, (714) 278-4540 or

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