BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION Carol Liu, Chair 2013-2014 Regular Session BILL NO: AB 631 AUTHOR: Fox AMENDED: May 13, 2013 FISCAL COMM: No HEARING DATE: June 12, 2013 URGENCY: No CONSULTANT: Lynn Lorber SUBJECT : Juvenile court schools. SUMMARY This bill authorizes a county board of education to adopt and enforce a course of study that enhances instruction in mathematics and English language arts for pupils attending a juvenile court school. BACKGROUND Juvenile court schools, administered by the county board of education, provide public education for youth who are incarcerated in juvenile hall, juvenile home, day center, juvenile ranch and juvenile camp, regional youth educational facility or in any group home housing 25 or more children. (Education Code § 48645.1 and § 48645.2) Current law establishes the minimum schoolday for juvenile court schools to be 240 minutes, and requires the minimum schooldays to be calculated on the basis of the average number of minutes of attendance during up to 10 consecutive days in which classes are conducted. The minimum schoolday for pupils in attendance in approved vocational education programs, work programs prescribed by the probation department, and work experience programs is 180 minutes. (EC § 48645.3) Current law requires the county board of education to adopt and enforce a course of study and evaluate its program in accordance with current law requiring: 1) The course of study to be kept on file for public inspection. AB 631 Page 2 2) The evaluation of the educational program, and made revisions as deemed necessary. 3) The enforcement in its schools the course of study and the use of instructional materials prescribed and adopted by the county board of education. 4) The adopted course of study to include the specific areas of study and topics contained in the adopted course of study for grades 1-6 and 7-12 (except foreign languages). (EC § 48645.3) Current law requires pupils enrolled in county community schools (serves pupils who have been expelled, referred by probation or an attendance review board, or are homeless) to be assigned to classes or programs deemed most appropriate for reinforcing or reestablishing educational development. These classes or programs may include basic educational skill development, job training, tutoring, independent study, and individual guidance activities. An individually planned educational program based upon an educational assessment must be prescribed for each pupil. The course of study for county community schools is to be adopted by the county board of education and enable each pupil to continue academic work leading to the completion of a regular high school program. (EC § 1983) Current law states legislative intent that school districts operating community day schools (serves pupils who have been expelled for any reason, or referred by probation or a school attendance review board) include as a program component individualized instruction and assessment. (EC § 48660.1) ANALYSIS This bill authorizes a county board of education to adopt and enforce a course of study that enhances instruction in mathematics and English language arts for pupils attending a juvenile court school. Specifically, this bill: 1) Authorizes the county board of education to adopt and enforce a course of study that enhances instruction in mathematics and English language arts for pupils attending juvenile court schools, as determined by statewide assessments or objective local evaluations and assessments as approved by the county AB 631 Page 3 superintendent of schools. 2) Requires the enhanced course of study to meet the common core standards, as appropriate, and be tailored to meet the needs of the individual pupil to increase the pupil's academic literacy and reading fluency. STAFF COMMENTS 1) Need for the bill . According to the author, "Pupils who attend juvenile court schools often perform at far below basic in math and reading - many at three or more years below grade level. These students can benefit from increased math and reading instruction and are encouraged to continue their education when they see progress in their math and reading abilities. The need for this bill centers around the fact that juvenile court schools are not considered alternative schools and must therefore offer students a complete course of classes based on the minimum instructional minutes for a calendar year." 2) Permissive Education Code . Current law requires each school district and county office of education to adopt a course of study for use in each of its schools. All schools are required to provide instruction that meets state academic content standards, and there are several areas of study and topics that must be included within the course of study. While the course of study is required to meet content standards, curriculum is adopted by each school district and county office of education to meet the needs of its pupils. Given the flexibility in current law for a county board of education to establish a course of study specifically for pupils in juvenile hall, it is not clear that this bill is necessary. 3) Do community day schools and county community schools have more flexibility ? Current law relative to community day schools (operated by school districts) and county community schools (operated by county offices of education) reference "individualized instruction" and "individually planned educational program" respectively. However, statutes relative to juvenile court schools do not reference individualized AB 631 Page 4 instruction, education, or curriculum. 4) What does it mean to "enforce" a course of study ? This bill authorizes the county board of education to adopt and enforce a course of study that enhances instruction for pupils attending juvenile court schools. Enforcing a course of study means schools under the jurisdiction of a county board of education are required to provide instruction consistent with the adopted course of study. 5) Why only mathematics and English language arts ? This bill authorizes the county board of education to adopt and enforce a course of study that enhances instruction in mathematics and English language arts for pupils attending juvenile court schools. While this bill references only mathematics and English language arts, the common core standards in English language arts include literacy standards in history-social science, science and technical subject. SUPPORT Advancement Project California Catholic Conference California Federation of Teachers Los Angeles County Office of Education School for Integrated Academics and Technologies OPPOSITION None on file.