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Which Education Bills Made the Cut? (Part II)

By Cathy Bui - October 3, 2008

The deadline for the Governor to sign – or veto – the bills passed by the legislature was Tuesday, September 30th.  To keep you up-to-date on which bills made the cut, this article is part two of the bill update and includes the key bills that were signed into law by the Governor.

The third part to this article includes all of the key bills that were vetoed by the Governor.

Below is a brief summary report of each bill which includes changes the bill has undergone as they have moved through the process:

Chaptered Bills (Approved by the Governor)

Accountability and Assessment
AB 2040 (Nunez):  High School Exit Examination
This bill provides eligible pupils with disabilities who have fulfilled all of the requirements for a high school diploma except passage of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) the opportunity to demonstrate through alternative means that they have achieved the same level of academic achievement required for the passage of the CASHEE. 

SB 1251 (Steinberg):  School Accountability & Academic Performance Index of Graduation Rates
This bill defines a four-year, five-year, and six-year high school graduation rate, and adds partial credit for pupils who graduate from high school in five or six years to the calculation of the Academic Performance Index (API) for each high school. 

California Community Colleges
SB 946 (Scott):  Community College Early Assessment Pilot Program
This bill authorizes the individual results of the California Standards Test to be provided to the California Community Colleges so that the Early Assessment Program may be expanded to included participation by prospective community college students.

Curriculum and Instruction
SB 1274 (Wyland):  Patriotic Exercises & Instruction
This bill provides that when instruction related to the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America is given in public school, it satisfies the requirements that patriotic exercises can be conducted, and it is to provide a combination of giving of the Pledge, instruction promoting the understanding of “pledge”, “allegiance”, “republic”, and “indivisible” and understanding the importance of the pledge as an expression of patriotism, love of country, and pride in the United States of America.

Education Technology
AB 2648 (Bass):  Career Technology Education
This bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) in conjunction with other State entities to develop a report for establishing and expanding multiple pathways in California high schools and make recommendations on what it would take to expand these opportunities to high school pupil in the State.  The intent of this bill is to create a report that will inform the Legislature on the feasibility of expanding such programs.

SB 1637 (Torlakson):  The California Technology Assistance Project
This bill reauthorizes the California Technology Assistance Project (CTAP) and the Statewide Educational Technology Services Program (SETS) for a period of five years, by extending the sunset date from January 1, 2009 to January 1, 2014. 

Governance Issues
SB 1207 (Scott):  Public Schools & Open Enrollment Policies
This bill updates statutes requiring a school district to have an open enrollment policy under which a parent of a pupil may select a school, within the district, but outside of the attendance area in which the pupil resides.  This bill provides that a district shall determine the capacity of its schools based on enrollment and available space, and eliminates a district’s discretion to close a school to transfers solely based upon the district’s policy. 

SB 1732 (Romero):  Local Agencies
This bill prohibits a majority of the members of a legislative body from using a series of communication of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate or take action on any item of business that is required by the Ralph M. Brown Act (Brown Act) to be conducted in public. 

Health and Nutrition
AB 2300 (Laird):  School Lunch and Breakfast Programs & Direct Certification
This bill directs the California Department of Education (CDE) in consultation with the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to develop and implement a process to use Medi-Cal participation data to verify and directly certify children into the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs (school meal programs), upon receipt of federal funds to support implementation. 

Personnel / Human Resources
SB 1303 (Runner):  School Employees & Leaves of Absence
This bill narrows the conditions in which school employees who are placed on mandatory leave of absences for certain drug-related offenses and who complete a drug diversion program may be compensated for the period of leave upon their return to work.  This bill also specifies that employees placed on compulsory leave that do not elect to furnish bond or other security acceptable to the governing board of the district, shall be compensated for the period of leave if they are acquitted of the offense or charges against the employee are dismissed “without his or her guilt being established.” 

Pupils
SB 1112 (Scott):  Class Size Reduction & Apportionments
This bill extends from July 1, 2009 to July 1, 2014, provisions of existing law which provides for “phased-in” penalties for districts that participate in the K-3 Class Size reduction program but have classes with average enrollments which exceed the required 20 students to one teacher ratio. 

SB 1370 (Yee):  Education & Freedom of Speech and of the Press
This bill prohibits a school employee from being dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against for acting to protect a pupil or student engaged in conduct authorized by state law or refusing to infringe upon conduct that is protected pursuant to the United State Constitution and the California Constitution. 

SB 1629 (Steinberg) School Preschool Programs & Early Learning Quality Improvement
This bill establishes the Early Learning Quality Improvement System Advisory Committee to develop recommendations on how to evaluate and improve the quality of child development programs providing services from birth to age five, including preschool, and establishes a framework for future resources necessary to achieve and maintain higher quality programs. 

School Facilities
AB 2197 (Mullin):  School Facilities
This bill requires that notice requirements be met by a school district governing board or a county board of education prior to proceeding with the issuance of Certificates of Participation (COPs) and other debt instruments secured by real property and that do not require the approval of voters.  This bill initiates the current law requirements for providing repayment schedules and evidence of ability to repay, as well as the authority to comment by the respective reporting entity prior to issuance of the COPs or other specified debt.

Teacher Credentialing and Development
AB 2302 (Bass):  Teacher Credentialing & Specialist Credential for Pupils with Autism
This bill authorizes holders of a Level I education specialist teaching credential for mild to moderate disabilities to provide instruction to pupils with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) until the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) adopts relevant regulations for the credential.  This bill also requires the local education agencies (LEAs) and schools to maintain verification of completed coursework on file and report teacher assignment based on these options in their assignment monitoring program.

AB 2391 (Solorio):  Teachers & Mathematics and Reading Professional Development Program
This bill authorizes teachers to fulfill 50% of the 80 hours of follow-up Math and Reading Professional Development (MRPD) training in data analysis.  The Senate made amendments to the bill by clarifying that if a Local Education Agency (LEA) chooses to offer professional development training in data analysis, the LEA shall contract with training provider that is approved by the State Board of Education (SBE). 

SB 1104 (Scott):  Teacher Credentialing
This bill streamlines requirements for the preliminary designated subject’s career technical education, teaching credential, and changes the name of the clear designated subjects adult education credential in order to make it conform to the naming structure of the credentials for career technical education. 

SB 1105 (Margett):  Teacher Credentialing & Criminal Convictions
This bill expands the definition of “conviction” when applied to suspending or revoking teaching credentials to included pleas of nolo contendere, allows the CTC to make adverse action findings available for up to five years, and requires the Legislature to convene a workgroup to study Section 44010, 44011, and 44424 of the Education Code, and to report on its findings before December 1, 2009. 

SB 1110 (Scott):  Teacher Credentialing & Revocation of Credentialing
This bill requires CTC to suspend a teaching credential when the holder’s credential has been revoked by another state; and, to revoke a teaching credential when the holder’s ability to associate with minors has been limited as a condition of probation.  This bill also prohibits individual, who have had credentials revoked, from applying for reinstatement of their credential until the terms or conditions imposed by the conviction have been lifted.

SB 1186 (Scott):  Teachers
This bill provides exemption from the California Basic Skills Proficiency Test (CBEST) requirement, clarifies requirements for teacher development programs, and makes other technical and conforming changes.  This bill also clarifies the employment hierarchy districts must follow when they are unable to fill a vacancy with a fully prepared teacher. 

SB 1378 (Dutton):  Teachers & Professional Development
This bill authorizes school districts to use a portion of their Professional Development Block Grant (PDBG) funds to provide suicide prevention training to teachers.  Specifically, this bill authorizes school districts that receive PDBG to provide two hours of training in the prevention of youth suicide to each teacher and specifies the training shall not exceed two hours, and may occur during a regularly scheduled in-service training day.  This bill specifies that this act is to be known as the Jason Flatt Act of 2008.

Editor's Note: Cathy Bui  conducts legislative and policy reserach on education issues for Governmental Solutions Group, LLC in Sacramento.  Prior to joining GSG, Ms. Bui worked in the office of Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.