NEW LAWS: Education

Governor Jerry Brown signed a host of new bills designed to improve the quality of education in California. (Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

By Michael P. Neufeld

Sacramento, CA – The quality of California education will be impacted by several new pieces of legislation.

In addition to the following bills, voters passed Proposition 30, which raises the state sales tax a quarter-cent for four years starting in 2013, and taxes on the wealthy increase up to 3 percent for the next seven years. These tax hikes are expected to raise $6 billion annually for California’s education system.

These bills go into effect January 1, 2013:

A.B. 1521 – ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT: ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENT (Julia Brownley – D-Santa Monica) – Permits English speaking pupils enrolled in a dual immersion program to take the primary language assessment of the Standards Testing and Reporting program.

A.B. 1663 – PUPIL INSTRUCTION (Roger Dickinson – D-Sacramento) – Requests the Regents of the University of California to set a tuition fee for the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science program.

A.B. 1668 – DROPOUT RECOVERY HIGH SCHOOL (Wilmer Carter – D-Rialto) – Expands the current definition of a “dropout recovery high school” to help better identify the schools that enroll pupils who have not been enrolled for at least 180 days.

A.B. 1729 – STUDENT RIGHTS (Tom Ammiano – D-San Francisco) – Clarifies existing California law to allow suspension or expulsion of a student only after other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct.

A.B. 2171 – EXPULSION HEARINGS (Paul Fong – D-Mountain View) – Permits California Community College districts to require student applicants to disclose any prior expulsion from another community college and allows denial of admission for specified serious or violent offenses.

A.B. 2193 – LONG-TERM ENGLISH LEARNERS (Ricardo Lara – D-South Gate) – Establishes standard definitions of “long-term English learner” and “English learners at risk of becoming long-term English learners,” to properly identify these students so they receive appropriate assistance.

A.B. 2279 – EMERGENCY APPORTIONMENT TRUSTEES (Sandré Swanson – D-Oakland) – Permits the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to remove a state-appointed trustee from a school district that received an emergency loan after three years, provided the district has adequate fiscal systems in place and the Superintendent determines the district’s future compliance with its fiscal plan is probable.

A.B. 2367 – SALE OF SCHOOL GARDEN PRODUCE (Susan Bonilla – D-Concord) –  Authorizes schools to sell produce from their school gardens as long as existing health and safety requirements are met.

A.B. 2497 – CSU EARLY START PROGRAM (Jose Solorio – D-Santa Ana) – Mandates the Legislative Analyst’s Office to report information measuring the effect of the California State University’s Early Start Program on mathematics and English proficiency.

A.B. 2537 – PUPIL DISCIPLINE (V. Manuel Perez  – D-Coachella) – Clarifies that possessing an imitation firearm, over-the-counter medicine or student’s prescription medicines are not “zero tolerance” offenses that automatically require expulsion. Eliminates an existing $500 fine imposed on a principal who fails to notify law enforcement of certain crimes allegedly committed by students.

A.B. 2616 – TRUANCY (Wilmer Carter – D-Rialto) – Provides school administrators with more discretion when determining if students are truant and in imposing consequences for truant students to focus truancy reduction efforts away from law enforcement and courts.

S.B. 1070 – TECHNICAL EDUCATION (Darrell Steinberg – D-Sacramento) – The Career Technical Education Pathways Program bill extends the existing technical education program at middle schools, high schools and community colleges until 2015.

S.B. 1108 -RECLASSIFICATION OF ENGLISH LEARNERS – (Alex Padilla – D-Pacoima) – Requires the California Department of Education to analyze the way school districts reclassify English learners and recommend to the Legislature and state board any changes necessary to improve California education.

S.B. 1292- EMPLOYEE EVALUATION – (Carol Liu – D-Pasadena) – This legislation deals with school employees and the evaluation of principals. It authorizes school districts to assess the performance of school principals and establishes provision to guide that evaluation process. (519)

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