BILL NUMBER: AB 167	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Adams

                        JANUARY 28, 2009

   An act to amend Section 51225.3 of the Education Code, relating to
high school graduation.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 167, as introduced, Adams. High school graduation: local
requirements: foster children.
   (1) Existing law prescribes the course of study a pupil is
required to complete while in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, in order to
receive a diploma of graduation. Existing law authorizes the
governing board of a school district to adopt rules specifying
additional coursework requirements.
   This bill would require a school district to exempt a pupil in
foster care who transfers to the district in grade 11 or 12 and who
otherwise would not be able to graduate from high school by his or
her 19th birthday from any additional coursework requirements the
governing board has adopted. The bill would require a school district
to notify a pupil in foster care who is granted an exemption if any
of the requirements that are waived will affect the pupil's ability
to gain admission to a postsecondary educational institution, and to
provide information about transfer opportunities available through
the California Community Colleges. The bill would deem that
notification requirement satisfied for each pupil who receives
counseling services pursuant to the Middle and High School
Supplemental Counseling Program after transferring into the school
district.
   By requiring school districts to perform additional duties in
complying with the exemption requirement, this bill would impose a
state-mandated local program.
   (2) 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.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  The Legislature finds and declares all of the
following:
   (a) The state has a duty to care for and protect the children the
state places into foster care, and as a matter of public policy, the
state assumes an obligation to ensure the health, safety, and
education of children in foster care.
   (b) While a good education is critical to every child's successful
transition into adulthood, it is especially true for children who
spend long periods of their childhood in foster care. Research
indicates that 83 percent of foster children are held back by grade
3, 75 percent are working below grade level, and only 33 percent of
foster children will graduate from high school.
   (c) California's foster children are all too often bounced from
placement to placement and from school to school without regard to
the impact on their education. These constant transitions often
result in education-related problems, including a loss of school
credits, academic problems, and a delay in earning a high school
diploma. Studies show high school pupils who change schools even once
are less than one-half as likely to graduate.
   (d) The state sets minimum high school graduation standards for
the state's school districts. However, school districts have
flexibility with regard to additional coursework pupils are required
to complete to graduate from high school. A foster child in high
school who has taken the courses required for graduation in his or
her current school district and is forced to relocate to another
school district in his or her junior or senior year may be faced with
additional graduation requirements at his or her new school with
little time to complete those courses in order to graduate with the
rest of his or her class.
   (e) The key to improving outcomes for foster youth is identifying
the specific roadblocks to their educational success and working to
remove them.
   (f) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature in enacting this
act that foster children who transition to a new school district in
their junior or senior year of high school only be required to meet
state standards for graduation.
  SEC. 2.  Section 51225.3 of the Education Code is amended to read:
   51225.3.  (a)  Commencing with the 1988-89 school year, no
  A  pupil shall  receive a diploma of
graduation from high school who,   complete all of the
following  while in grades 9 to 12, inclusive,  has not
completed all of the following   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 the 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  as   requirements
adopted by  the governing board of the school district 
may by rule specify  .
   (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  which
  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 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) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a school district
shall exempt a pupil in foster care who transfers to the district in
grade 11 or 12 and who otherwise would not be able to graduate from
high school by his or her 19th birthday from any additional
coursework requirements the governing board has adopted pursuant to
paragraph (2) of subdivision (a). A school district shall notify a
pupil in foster care who is granted an exemption pursuant to this
subdivision if 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.
The notification requirement specified in this subdivision shall be
deemed satisfied for each pupil who receives counseling services
pursuant to the Middle and High School Supplemental Counseling
Program after transferring into the school district. 
  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.