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AB-216 High school graduation requirements: pupils in foster care.(2013-2014)

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AB216:v94#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 216
CHAPTER 324

An act to amend Section 51225.3 of, and to add Section 51225.1 to, the Education Code, relating to high school graduation requirements, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.

[ Approved by Governor  September 23, 2013. Filed with Secretary of State  September 23, 2013. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 216, Stone. High school graduation requirements: pupils in foster care.
Existing law requires a pupil to complete specified courses while in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, in order to receive a diploma of graduation from high school. Existing law authorizes the governing board of a school district to adopt rules specifying additional coursework requirements.
Existing law requires a school district to exempt a pupil in foster care from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing board of the school district that are in addition to the statewide coursework requirements for graduation if the pupil, while he or she is in grade 11 or 12, transfers into the school district from another school district or between high schools within the school district, unless the school district makes a finding that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the additional requirements in time to graduate from high school while he or she remains eligible for foster care benefits.
This bill would recast those provisions, and would, instead, require a school district to exempt a pupil in foster care who transfers between schools any time after the completion of the pupil’s 2nd year of high school from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing board of the school district that are in addition to the statewide coursework requirements for graduation, unless the school district makes a finding that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the school district’s graduation requirements in time to graduate from high school by the end of the pupil’s 4th year of high school. The bill would require a school district that determines that a pupil in foster care is reasonably able to complete the school district’s graduation requirements within the pupil’s 5th year of high school to take specified actions, including permitting the pupil to stay in school for a 5th year to complete the graduation requirements. The bill would allow either the number of credits the pupil has earned to date or the length of the pupil’s school enrollment to be used to determine whether the pupil is in the 3rd or 4th year of high school, whichever would qualify the pupil for the exemption. The bill would require the school district to notify, within 30 calendar days of the transfer, a pupil in foster care who may qualify for the exemption, the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, and the pupil’s social worker, of the availability of the exemption and whether the pupil qualifies for the exemption. The bill would require the school district to notify the pupil, and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, of the effect the waived requirements will have on the pupil’s ability to gain admission to postsecondary educational institutions. The bill would prohibit a school or school district from requiring or requesting that the pupil graduate before the end of his or her 4th year of high school if a pupil is exempted and completes the statewide coursework requirements before the end of his or her 4th year in high school and the pupil is otherwise entitled to remain in attendance at the school, and from requiring or requesting a pupil in foster care to transfer schools in order to qualify the pupil for an exemption. The bill would specify that an eligible pupil shall not be required to accept the exemption or be denied enrollment in or the ability to complete courses for which he or she is otherwise eligible. The bill would prohibit a pupil in foster care, the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, the pupil’s social worker, or the pupil’s probation officer from requesting a transfer solely to qualify the pupil for an exemption.
By requiring school districts to perform additional duties in complying with the exemption requirement, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 51225.1 is added to the Education Code, to read:

51225.1.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a school district shall exempt a pupil in foster care, as defined in Section 51225.2, who transfers between schools any time after the completion of the pupil’s second year of high school from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing board of the school district that are in addition to the statewide coursework requirements specified in Section 51225.3, unless the school district makes a finding that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the school district’s graduation requirements in time to graduate from high school by the end of the pupil’s fourth year of high school.
(b) If the school district determines that the pupil in foster care is reasonably able to complete the school district’s graduation requirements within the pupil’s fifth year of high school, the district shall do all of the following:
(1) Inform the pupil of his or her option to remain in school for a fifth year to complete the school district’s graduation requirements.
(2) Inform the pupil, and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, about how remaining in school for a fifth year to complete the school district’s graduation requirements will affect the pupil’s ability to gain admission to a postsecondary educational institution.
(3) Provide information to the pupil about transfer opportunities available through the California Community Colleges.
(4) Permit the pupil to stay in school for a fifth year to complete the school district’s graduation requirements upon agreement with the pupil, if the pupil is 18 years of age or older, or, if the pupil is under 18 years of age, upon agreement with the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil.
(c) To determine whether a pupil in foster care is in the third or fourth year of high school, either the number of credits the pupil has earned to the date of transfer or the length of the pupil’s school enrollment may be used, whichever will qualify the pupil for the exemption.
(d) Within 30 calendar days of the date that a pupil in foster care who may qualify for the exemption from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section transfers into a school, the school district shall notify the pupil, the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, and the pupil’s social worker, of the availability of the exemption and whether the pupil qualifies for an exemption.
(e) If a pupil in foster care is exempted from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section and completes the statewide coursework requirements specified in Section 51225.3 before the end of his or her fourth year in high school and that pupil would otherwise be entitled to remain in attendance at the school, a school or school district shall not require or request that the pupil graduate before the end of his or her fourth year of high school.
(f) If a pupil in foster care is exempted from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section, the school district shall notify the pupil and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil how any of the requirements that are waived will affect the pupil’s ability to gain admission to a postsecondary educational institution and shall provide information about transfer opportunities available through the California Community Colleges.
(g) A pupil in foster care who is eligible for the exemption from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section and would otherwise be entitled to remain in attendance at the school shall not be required to accept the exemption or be denied enrollment in or the ability to complete courses for which he or she is otherwise eligible, including courses necessary to attend an institution of higher education, regardless of whether those courses are required for statewide graduation requirements.
(h) If a pupil in foster care is not exempted from local graduation requirements or has previously declined the exemption pursuant to this section, a school district shall exempt the pupil at any time if an exemption is requested by the pupil and the pupil qualifies for the exemption.
(i) If a pupil in foster care is exempted from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section, a school district shall not revoke the exemption.
(j) If a pupil in foster care is exempted from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section, the exemption shall continue to apply after the termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the pupil while he or she is enrolled in school or if the pupil transfers to another school or school district.
(k) A school district shall not require or request a pupil in foster care to transfer schools in order to qualify the pupil for an exemption pursuant to this section.
(l) A pupil in foster care, the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, the pupil’s social worker, or the pupil’s probation officer shall not request a transfer solely to qualify the pupil for an exemption pursuant to this section.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51225.3 of the Education Code, as amended by Section 3 of Chapter 621 of the Statutes of 2011, is amended to read:

51225.3.
 (a) A pupil shall complete all of the following while in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, in order to receive a diploma of graduation from high school:
(1) At least the following numbers of courses in the subjects specified, each course having a duration of one year, unless otherwise specified:
(A) Three courses in English.
(B) Two courses in mathematics.
(C) Two courses in science, including biological and physical sciences.
(D) Three courses in social studies, including United States history and geography; world history, culture, and geography; a one-semester course in American government and civics; and a one-semester course in economics.
(E) One course in visual or performing arts, foreign language, or, commencing with the 2012–13 school year, career technical education.
(i) For purposes of satisfying the requirement specified in this subparagraph, a course in American Sign Language shall be deemed a course in foreign language.
(ii) For purposes of this subparagraph, “a course in career technical education” means a course in a district-operated career technical education program that is aligned to the career technical model curriculum standards and framework adopted by the state board, including courses through a regional occupational center or program operated by a county superintendent of schools or pursuant to a joint powers agreement.
(iii) This subparagraph does not require a school or school district that currently does not offer career technical education courses to start new career technical education programs for purposes of this section.
(iv) If a school district or county office of education elects to allow a career technical education course to satisfy the requirement imposed by this subparagraph, the governing board of the school district or county office of education, before offering that alternative to pupils, shall notify parents, teachers, pupils, and the public at a regularly scheduled meeting of the governing board of all of the following:
(I) The intent to offer career technical education courses to fulfill the graduation requirement specified in this subparagraph.
(II) The impact that offering career technical education courses, pursuant to this subparagraph, will have on the availability of courses that meet the eligibility requirements for admission to the California State University and the University of California, and whether the career technical education courses to be offered pursuant to this subparagraph are approved to satisfy those eligibility requirements. If a school district elects to allow a career technical education course to satisfy the requirement imposed by this subparagraph, the school district shall comply with subdivision (m) of Section 48980.
(III) The distinction, if any, between the high school graduation requirements of the school district or county office of education, and the eligibility requirements for admission to the California State University and the University of California.
(F) Two courses in physical education, unless the pupil has been exempted pursuant to the provisions of this code.
(2) Other coursework requirements adopted by the governing board of the school district.
(b) The governing board, with the active involvement of parents, administrators, teachers, and pupils, shall adopt alternative means for pupils to complete the prescribed course of study that may include practical demonstration of skills and competencies, supervised work experience or other outside school experience, career technical education classes offered in high schools, courses offered by regional occupational centers or programs, interdisciplinary study, independent study, and credit earned at a postsecondary educational institution. Requirements for graduation and specified alternative modes for completing the prescribed course of study shall be made available to pupils, parents, and the public.
(c) On or before July 1, 2017, the department shall submit a comprehensive report to the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature on the addition of career technical education courses to satisfy the requirement specified in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), including, but not limited to, the following information:
(1) A comparison of the pupil enrollment in career technical education courses, foreign language courses, and visual and performing arts courses for the 2005–06 to 2011–12 school years, inclusive, to the pupil enrollment in career technical education courses, foreign language courses, and visual and performing arts courses for the 2012–13 to 2016–17 school years, inclusive.
(2) The reasons, reported by school districts, that pupils give for choosing to enroll in a career technical education course to satisfy the requirement specified in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).
(3) The type and number of career technical education courses that were conducted for the 2005–06 to 2011–12 school years, inclusive, compared to the type and number of career technical education courses that were conducted for the 2012–13 to 2016–17 school years, inclusive.
(4) The number of career technical education courses that satisfied the subject matter requirements for admission to the University of California or the California State University.
(5) The extent to which the career technical education courses chosen by pupils are aligned with the California Career Technical Education Standards, and prepare pupils for employment, advanced training, and postsecondary education.
(6) The number of career technical education courses that also satisfy the visual and performing arts requirement, and the number of career technical education courses that also satisfy the foreign language requirement.
(7) Annual pupil dropout and graduation rates for the 2011–12 to 2014–15 school years, inclusive.
(d) For purposes of completing the report described in subdivision (c), the Superintendent may use existing state resources and federal funds. If state or federal funds are not available or sufficient, the Superintendent may apply for and accept grants, and receive donations and other financial support from public or private sources for purposes of this section.
(e) For purposes of completing the report described in subdivision (c), the Superintendent may accept support, including, but not limited to, financial and technical support, from high school reform advocates, teachers, chamber organizations, industry representatives, research centers, parents, and pupils.
(f) This section shall become inoperative on the earlier of the following two dates:
(1) On July 1, immediately following the first fiscal year after the enactment of the act that adds this paragraph in which the number of career technical education courses that, as determined by the department, satisfy the foreign language requirement for admission to the California State University and the University of California is at least twice the number of career technical education courses that meet these admission requirements as of January 1, 2012. This section shall be repealed on the following January 1, unless a later enacted statute, that becomes operative on or before that date, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed. It is the intent of the Legislature that new career technical education courses that satisfy the foreign language requirement for admission to the California State University and the University of California focus on world languages aligned with career preparation, emphasizing real-world application and technical content in related career and technical education courses.
(2) On July 1, 2017, and, as of January 1, 2018, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that becomes operative on or before January 1, 2018, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 Section 51225.3 of the Education Code, as added by Section 4 of Chapter 621 of the Statutes of 2011, is amended to read:

51225.3.
 (a) A pupil shall complete all of the following while in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, in order to receive a diploma of graduation from high school:
(1) At least the following numbers of courses in the subjects specified, each course having a duration of one year, unless otherwise specified:
(A) Three courses in English.
(B) Two courses in mathematics.
(C) Two courses in science, including biological and physical sciences.
(D) Three courses in social studies, including United States history and geography; world history, culture, and geography; a one-semester course in American government and civics; and a one-semester course in economics.
(E) One course in visual or performing arts or foreign language. For purposes of satisfying the requirement specified in this subparagraph, a course in American Sign Language shall be deemed a course in foreign language.
(F) Two courses in physical education, unless the pupil has been exempted pursuant to the provisions of this code.
(2) Other coursework requirements adopted by the governing board of the school district.
(b) The governing board, with the active involvement of parents, administrators, teachers, and pupils, shall adopt alternative means for pupils to complete the prescribed course of study that may include practical demonstration of skills and competencies, supervised work experience or other outside school experience, career technical education classes offered in high schools, courses offered by regional occupational centers or programs, interdisciplinary study, independent study, and credit earned at a postsecondary educational institution. Requirements for graduation and specified alternative modes for completing the prescribed course of study shall be made available to pupils, parents, and the public.
(c) If a pupil completed a career technical education course that met the requirements of subparagraph (E) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 51225.3, as amended by the act adding this section, before the inoperative date of that section, that course shall be deemed to fulfill the requirements of subparagraph (E) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of this section.
(d) This section shall become operative upon the date that Section 51225.3, as amended by the act adding this section, becomes inoperative.

SEC. 4.

  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.

SEC. 5.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order to ensure that pupils in foster care who are eligible for foster care benefits are eligible to graduate from high school in the 2012–13 academic year, it is necessary for this act to take effect immediately.