BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                           SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Gloria Romero, Chair
                             2009-2010 Regular Session

          BILL NO:       AB 374
          AUTHOR:        Block
          AMENDED:       June 1, 2009
          FISCAL COMM:   Yes            HEARING DATE:  July 15, 2009
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:    Lynn Lorber

           SUBJECT  :  Consequences of dropping out notice.

          This bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to  
          produce a notice to pupils about the consequences of dropping  
          out of school before reaching 18 years of age or graduating  
          from high school.


          Current law:

          1)   Provides that each person between the ages of 6 and 18  
               years not exempted by existing law is subject to  
               compulsory full-time education and shall attend the public  
               full-time day school or continuation school or classes and  
               for the full length of the schoolday.  

          2)   Requires a parent, guardian, or other person having  
               control or charge of the pupil to send the pupil to  
               school, as specified.

          3)   Establishes a process whereby a pupil who has been deemed  
               a habitual truant (at least nine unexcused absences in one  
               school year) is referred to a county or local school  
               attendance review board (SARB), or to county probation if  
               that county does not have a SARB, for the purposes of  
               referring the pupil to community resources that address  
               truancy issues.

          4)   Establishes a State SARB for the purpose of making  
               recommendations on the needs of high-risk youth.

          As reported by the California Department of Education, the  


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          state's dropout rate for the 2006-07 school year was 24.2%, and  
          the dropout rate for that time period for the Los Angeles  
          Unified School District was 33.6%.


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           This bill  requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction  
          (SPI) to produce a notice to pupils about the consequences of  
          dropping out of school before reaching 18 years of age or  
          graduating from high school.  Specifically, this bill:

          1)   Requires the consequences of dropping out notice to  
               include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

               a)        The potential consequences of dropping out  

                    i)             Greater difficulty finding a job.
                    ii)            Reduced income and purchasing power.
                    iii)           Greater likelihood of engaging in  
                         criminal activity.
                    iv)            Greater likelihood of spending time in  
                         jail, prison, or both.
                    v)             Greater likelihood of receiving  
                         welfare, other forms of public assistance, or  
                    vi)            Fewer choices about where to live.
                    vii)           Lesser likelihood of properly caring  
                         for and educating children.

               b)        The right of a pupil to reenroll in school to  
                    complete the requirements for graduation from high  
                    school and the procedure for reenrollment.

               c)        The availability of alternative educational  
                    services, including continuation school, independent  
                    study, adult education, community college, and the  
                    General Educational Development (GED) tests.

          2)   Requires the SPI to post the notice on the California  
               Department of Education's website.

          STAFF COMMENTS  

           1)   Will it make a difference  ?  Will posting a notice on the  
               California Department of Education's (CDE's) website  


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               affect dropout rates?  A prior version of this bill  
               encouraged schools to download the notice from the CDE  
               website and distribute it to pupils; however, that  
               provision was removed due to cost pressure concerns.  

          Research on dropout prevention recommends the following:

               a)        Use data systems that support a realistic  
                    diagnosis of the number of pupils who drop out and  
                    that help identify individual pupils at high risk of  
                    dropping out.

               b)        Assign adult advocates to pupils at risk of  
                    dropping out.

               c)        Provide academic support and enrichment.

               d)        Implement programs to improve pupils' classroom  
                    behavior and social skills.

               e)        Personalize the learning environment and  
                    instructional process.

               f)        Provide rigorous and relevant instruction to  
                    better engage pupils in learning and provide the  
                    skills needed to graduate and to serve them after  
                    they leave school.

               g)        Ensure that both the social and academic needs  
                    of pupils are met prior to entry into high school.

               h)        Address school-level conditions and the  
                    resources provided to schools.

               i)        Provide fully-credentialed teachers.

           2)   Efforts in Chicago to reduce dropout rates  .  The Chicago  
               Public Schools district implemented several options to  
               help reduce the dropout rate, including adding seats in  
               alternative high schools, making it easier for pupils to  
               attend night school, and requiring potential dropouts and  
               their parents to sign a consent form warning of the  
               possible pitfalls of quitting school.  That school  


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               district released data in 2005 showing a 1.7% reduction in  
               the dropout rate from the prior school year.  This  
               improvement was not attributed to any specific  
               intervention, but was based on all of the efforts  
               undertaken by the district to reduce dropout rates.  There  
               is no data as to any effect a notice has as a stand-alone  
               dropout prevention strategy.

           3)   Fiscal impact  .  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
               Committee analysis, this bill would impose one-time  
               General Fund costs, likely in excess of $150,000, upon the  
               CDE to develop and post the notice on its Internet  
               website.  In addition, there may be annual, minor  
               absorbable General Fund costs to maintain and update the  

          However, the CDE believes the costs associated with this bill  
               would be less than $150,000, as the State School  
               Attendance Review Board can develop the form and CDE can  
               post that form on its website for a minimal cost.


          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
          California Teachers Association
          Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities


           None received.