Code Section Group

Education Code - EDC


  ( Title 2 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )


  ( Division 4 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )


  ( Part 29 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )

CHAPTER 4. Compensatory Education Programs for Disadvantaged Children [54400 - 54529]

  ( Chapter 4 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [54400 - 54407]
  ( Article 1 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )


This chapter may be cited as the McAteer Act.

(Enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010.)


The Legislature finds and declares that because of home, community, environmental and other conditions which give rise to language, cultural and economic disadvantages, the latent talents of many minors in the elementary and secondary schools in the state remain undiscovered and are not adequately developed by the general educational programs afforded by the public school system and private schools or school systems. It is the intent and purpose of the Legislature to encourage the establishment and development, by local officers and agencies of the public school system, of programs directed to identifying those pupils affected by language, cultural, and economic disadvantages who are potentially capable of completing the regular courses of instruction leading to graduation from the public elementary and secondary schools, and by special services, techniques, and activities to stimulating their interest in intellectual and educational attainment.

It is further recognized that to combat effectively the evils of such disadvantage a comprehensive, communitywide and statewide cooperative effort will be required together with a marshaling of all public and private resources and aids which may be useful in the endeavor. Securing cooperation, unity of action, and the concentration and effective direction of available outside resources and aids, public and private, should be an essential element of the programs for compensatory education, at both the state and local levels.

The Legislature finds that such special undertakings are essential to the conservation and development of the cultural, economic and intellectual resources of the state and nation. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to carry out these intents and purposes.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to sanction, perpetuate or promote the racial or ethnic segregation of pupils in the public schools.

(Enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010.)


For purposes of this chapter, a “disadvantaged minor” is a minor who is potentially academically able but scholastically underachieving, and must compensate for inability to profit from the normal educational program. He is a minor who:

(a) Is three years of age or more, but under 18 years of age and has not graduated from high school.

(b) Is potentially capable of successfully completing a regular educational program leading to graduation from the elementary or secondary school in which he is enrolled or required to be enrolled.

(c) Is, because of home and community environment, subject to such language, cultural, economic, and like disadvantages as will make improbable his completion of the regular program leading to graduation without special efforts on the part of school authorities, over, above, and, in addition to those involved in providing the regular educational programs, directed to the positive stimulation of his potential.

(Enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010.)


A “program of compensatory education” is an undertaking by any school district maintaining any of grades kindergarten through 12, in the form prescribed by Article 2 (commencing with Section 54420) of this chapter, which is over, above, and in addition to the regular educational programs of the district, having the purpose of providing positive stimulation of the intellectual abilities of disadvantaged minors, and which embodies a positive plan for the identification of such minors. Participation in a program of compensatory education under this chapter shall not preclude an individual’s participation in any other potentially beneficial program which may be offered in the public school system or otherwise.

(Enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010.)


Each county superintendent of schools is authorized, upon request, to provide consultative and coordination services for the school districts under his jurisdiction which have established programs of compensatory education under this chapter. Such activity shall be financed through the county school service fund, and shall be subject to budget review pursuant to Section 14050.

(Enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010.)


(a) The State Board of Education may establish programs of the following types:

(1) Establishment of new curricula or modification of existing curricula in connection with the education and training of prospective teachers, to incorporate instruction in methods and techniques developed by competent authorities designed to enable teachers effectively to teach disadvantaged children.

(2) Research and consultative work projects undertaken to assist state and local public school agencies in carrying out their responsibilities under this chapter.

(3) Independently, or in cooperation with any public or private agency or organization, engaging in research and development undertakings directed to overcoming disadvantage, together with related activities involving evaluation, demonstration, and dissemination of findings having to do with programs of compensatory education.

(b) It is the intent and aim of the Legislature that the University of California and the California State University participate to the extent practicable with local public school agencies and the State Board of Education in their endeavors under this chapter. It is recommended that greater attention be devoted in the training of teachers to their preparation in the techniques and skills required to cope with the problems of disadvantaged children at the preschool as well as the elementary and secondary level. The University of California and the California State University are urged to participate at the local level in the programs being administered by the local public school authorities and agencies, and to provide all technical and personnel services practicable.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 143, Sec. 38.)


All compensatory preschool programs operated by school districts, regardless of source of funds, shall be subject to the regulations of the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education is authorized to establish standards for all compensatory preschool programs.

(Enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010.)


The governing board of a school district, in its application, may request waiver of the provisions of any section or sections of this code for any compensatory education program if such waiver is necessary to establish and operate a program for low-income children. The need for a waiver shall be explained and justified in the application. The Superintendent of Public Instruction, at the discretion and upon recommendation of the Director of Compensatory Education, with the approval of the State Board of Education, may grant, in whole, or in part, any such request.

(Enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010.)

EDCEducation Code - EDC1