Today's Law As Amended


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AB-2350 English learners: participation in standard instructional program.(2015-2016)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California is home to the largest population of English learners in the country, and one in three English learners in the United States resides in California.
(b) There are approximately 1.4 million English learners in California public schools. About 2.7 million pupils speak a language other than English in their homes, representing about 43 percent of the state’s public school enrollment.
(c) Recent research examining course-taking patterns of English learners in multiple California school districts has found that English learners are less likely than non-English learners to be enrolled in core academic subject courses, including English language arts, mathematics, and science, and, as a result, earn fewer credits than non-English learner pupils. Research has further found that limited access to courses in English language arts is largely due to English language development classes being used as substitutes for, rather than complements to, English language arts, and due to the enrollment of elementary and secondary English learners in intervention classes for English language arts and math that are not designed for English learners’ language and academic needs.
(d) (1) The federal Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1701 et seq.), as interpreted by the court in Castañeda v. Pickard (1981) 648 F.2d 989, prohibits the denial of English learners’ equal participation in the standard instructional programs of schools, and requires programs that are used in the early part of an English learner’s school career that first focus on the development of English language skills to be designed to remedy any academic deficits in other areas that may develop during participation in the program and to be reasonably calculated to enable pupils to attain parity of participation in the standard instructional program within a reasonable length of time after they enter the school system.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to clarify these requirements for California public schools.

SEC. 2.

 Section 60811.8 is added to the Education Code, to read:

60811.8.
 (a) Consistent with federal law, a middle or high school pupil who is classified as an English learner and scores at any proficiency level on the assessment of English language development established pursuant to Section 60810 or any successor assessment shall not be denied participation in the standard instructional program of a school by being denied any of the following:
(1) Enrollment in courses that are part of the standard instructional program of the school that the pupil attends. For purposes of this section, “standard instructional program” means, at a minimum, core curriculum courses, as defined in clause (i) of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 33126, courses required to meet state and local graduation requirements, and courses required for middle school grade promotion.
(2) Enrollment in a full course load of courses that are part of the standard instructional program.
(3) Enrollment in courses that are not part of a school’s standard instructional program that either meet the subject matter requirements for purposes of recognition for college admission pursuant to Section 66205.5 or are advanced courses, such as advanced placement courses, on the sole basis of a pupil’s classification as an English learner.
(b) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to a middle or high school pupil who is classified as an English learner and who is participating in a program designed to meet the academic and transitional needs of newly arrived immigrant pupils that has as a primary objective the development of English language proficiency, provided that, pursuant to federal law, the program is designed to remedy any academic deficits incurred during participation and that the program’s design is reasonably calculated to enable these pupils to attain parity of participation in the standard instructional program within a reasonable length of time after they enter the school system.
SEC. 3.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.