BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                AB 631
                                                                Page 1

        CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
        AB 631 (Fox)
        As Amended  July 2, 2013
        Majority vote
         
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        |ASSEMBLY:  |70-0 |(May 16, 2013)  |SENATE: |32-0 |(July 8, 2013) |
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         Original Committee Reference:    ED.  

         SUMMARY  :  Permits a county board of education to modify the course  
        of study offered to pupils in juvenile court schools.  Specifically,  
         this bill  :  

        1)Permits a county board of education to adopt an enhanced course of  
          study for pupils enrolled in juvenile court schools who are  
          performing three or more grades below grade level.

        2)Specifies that this course of study shall meet the Common Core  
          State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts (ELA) and math.

        3)Allows a county board of education to use locally approved  
          assessments or statewide assessments to determine the academic  
          needs of the pupil.

        4)Specifies the purpose of this course of study is to increase a  
          pupil's academic literacy and reading fluency.

        5)Makes technical non-substantive amendments to this section.

         The Senate amendments  insert the word "shall" and are technical and  
        clarifying.

         FISCAL EFFECT  :  None.  This bill is keyed non-fiscal by the  
        Legislative Counsel.

         COMMENTS  :  Juvenile court schools provide public education for  
        individuals who are incarcerated in facilities run by counties.   
        Juvenile court schools are public schools or classes in any juvenile  
        hall, juvenile home, day center, juvenile ranch, juvenile camp,  
        regional youth educational facility or in any group home housing 25  
        or more children.  These schools operate under the central  
        administration of a county office of education, with acceptable  








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        school structures at one or more centrally located sites to serve  
        the single or composite populations of juvenile court school pupils.  
         These schools, under the protection or authority of the juvenile  
        court system, provide an educational program that meets the needs of  
        students who have been incarcerated in juvenile halls as well as  
        students who have been expelled from their home district schools  
        because of a status offense or other infraction or behavior governed  
        by the Welfare and Institution Code or Education Code.  Funding is  
        provided by the state General Fund and is included in the annual  
        apportionment to county offices of education.



        Using data available through the California Department of Education  
        (CDE) from the 2011-12 administration of the California Standardized  
        Tests (CST) in ELA and math, the number of students in a sampling of  
         juvenile court schools that score below basic or far below basic is  
        staggering:



         Imperial County Office of Education - Juvenile Court School

         75% of students in grades 7 - 11 scored below basic or far below  
        basic on the CST ELA

        89% of students in grades 10 and 11 scored below basic or far below  
        basic on the CST Algebra I



         Los Angeles County Office of Education - Central Juvenile Hall

         86% of students in grades 8 - 11 scored below basic or far below  
        basic on the CST ELA

        96% of students in grades 9 - 11 scored below basic or far below  
        basic on the CST Algebra I



         Fresno County Office of Education - Court School

         75% of students in grades 8 - 11 scored below basic or far below  
        basic on the CST ELA








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        89% of students in grades 10 and 11 scored below basic or far below  
        basic on the CST Algebra I


         Course of Study

         Existing law requires each local educational agency (LEA) to adopt a  
        course of study for use in each of its schools.  There are numerous  
        elements that must be met within this course of study as prescribed  
        by statute.  These courses of study, while often aligned to the  
        state's academic content standards, are designed by each LEA to meet  
        the unique needs of its pupils.  A county office of education may  
        set its priorities within this course of study, so long as all  
        required elements are included.  

         

        Narrowing of the Curriculum 

        The requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and state  
        accountability programs have resulted in districts spending much of  
        their instructional time on reading and math.  School and school  
        districts that fail to make their annual targets in English language  
        arts and math are subject to a variety of sanctions ranging from  
        redirection of federal Title I funds to state takeover.  For these  
        reasons instructional time in other subject areas has greatly  
        diminished and there is almost no time for teachers to teach  
        critical thinking skills.  



        Partly in response to this, California adopted the CCSS.  Building  
        on the rigorous standards of NCLB but recognizing the unintended  
        consequence of a narrowed curriculum, the CCSS focus on core  
        conceptual understandings and procedures starting in the early  
        grades, thus enabling teachers to take the time needed to teach core  
        concepts and procedures well-and to give students the opportunity to  
        master them.  In adopting the CCSS, this Legislature signaled an end  
        to curriculum that, whether intentionally or unintentionally,  
        excluded a comprehensive curriculum.



        This bill would permit a county board of education to adopt a  








                                                                AB 631
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        separate course of study for pupils in juvenile hall by providing  
        increased attention to basic reading and math skills for specified  
        pupils who are performing three or more grades below grade level.   
        The author, however, has indicated that while increased instruction  
        in reading fluency and academic literacy is intended, it is not the  
        author's intention that this increased focus be at the cost of a  
        pupil's access to the general curriculum.  By using the literacy  
        strands in science, social science, and technical subjects embedded  
        in the CCSS in English language arts, this increased focus would  
        permit intensive remediation within the given instructional time  
        without limiting curriculum areas.


         Analysis Prepared by  :    Jill Rice / ED. / (916) 319-2087 


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