BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




          SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:              AB 1012            
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          |Author:    |Jones-Sawyer                                         |
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          |Version:   |June 1, 2015                                 Hearing |
          |           |Date:     July 8, 2015                               |
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          |Urgency:   |No                      |Fiscal:     |Yes            |
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          |Consultant:|Lynn Lorber                                          |
          |           |                                                     |
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          Subject:  Pupil instruction:  course periods without educational  
          content

            SUMMARY
          
          This bill prohibits a school district serving any of grades 7-12  
          from assigning students to any course without educational  
          content for more than one week in any semester, and prohibits  
          the assignment of any student to a course that the student has  
          previously completed and received a satisfactory grade, unless  
          specified conditions are met.

            BACKGROUND
          
          Existing law:

          1)Requires each school district serving any of grades 7-12 to  
            offer to all otherwise qualified students a course of study  
            fulfilling the requirements and prerequisites for admission to  
            the California public institutions of postsecondary education  
            and provide a timely opportunity to each student to enroll  
            within a four-year period in each course necessary to fulfill  
            those requirements and prerequisites prior to graduation from  
            high school.  Existing law also requires each school district  
            to offer a course of study that provides an opportunity for  
            students to attain entry-level employment skills in business  
            or industry upon graduation from high school, and encourages  








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            districts to provide all students with a rigorous academic  
            curriculum that integrates academic and career skills,  
            incorporates applied learning in all disciplines, and prepares  
            all students for high school graduation and career entry. 
            (Education Code  51228)

          2)Requires a student to pass both the English language arts and  
            mathematics portions of the California High School Exit Exam  
            and complete the following courses as a condition of  
            graduating from high school:

             a)   Three years of English. 

             b)   Two years of mathematics.  

             c)   Two years of science, including biological and physical  
 
               sciences.  

             d)   Three years of social studies, including United States  
               history and geography; world history, culture, and  
               geography; one semester of American government and civics,  
               and one semester of economics. 

                 

             e)   One year of visual or performing arts, foreign language,  
               or until July 1, 2017, career technical education.  

             f)   Two years of physical education.  (Education Code   
               60851 and  51225.3)

          3)Requires one of the two years of mathematics to meet or exceed  
            the rigor of the content standards for Algebra I.  (EC   
            51224.5)

          4)Authorizes school districts to impose additional coursework  
            requirements as a condition of graduation from high school.   
            (EC  51225.3)

          5)Requires that only the attendance of students under the  
            immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee  
            is counted toward the computation of average daily attendance.  








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             (EC  46300)

          6)Establishes the minimum day for high schools as 240 minutes.   
            (EC  46141)

          7)Through regulation, requires local education agencies to adopt  
            uniform complaint procedures through which the public can  
            register complaints regarding educational programs and rights.  
             (California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 4600 et  
            seq.)  

          The University of California and the California State University  
          established minimum coursework requirements for freshman  
          admission, known as the A-G requirements.   
           http://www.ucop.edu/agguide/a-g-requirements/  

            ANALYSIS
          
          This bill prohibits a school district serving any of grades 7-12  
          from assigning students to any course without educational  
          content for more than one week in any semester, and prohibits  
          the assignment of any student to a course that the student has  
          previously completed and received a satisfactory grade, unless  
          specified conditions are met.  Specifically, this bill:

          Courses without educational content
          
          1)Prohibits, beginning in the 2016-17 school year, a school  
            district maintaining any of grades 7-12 from assigning any  
            student to any course period without educational content for  
            more than one week in any semester, unless all of the  
            following conditions are met:


             a)   For a student who has not fulfilled the prerequisites  
               for admission to the University of California and  
               California State University or the coursework requirements  
               for high school graduation:  


               i)     The principal or an assistant principal certifies in  
                 a document to be placed in the student's cumulative  
                 record that:








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                  A)        The student will benefit from the course, and  
                    provides an individualized explanation in the written  
                    certification for that conclusion.  The certification  
                    may include an individualized determination that the  
                    student will benefit from mentorship that will be  
                    provided by the certificated or certified employee  
                    supervising the student during the course period.


                  B)        Providing a course period with educational  
                    content is not likely to benefit the student to the  
                    same extent as providing the course period without  
                    educational content, and provides an explanation in  
                    the certification for that conclusion.


                  C)        The student is not being assigned to the  
                    course because there are no other courses with  
                    curricular content for the student to take during the  
                    relevant period in the designated schoolday.


                  D)        The students and the parent, legal guardian,  
                    or educational rights holder have consented to the  
                    student's enrollment in the course period without  
                    educational content and that the school has obtained a  
                    consent form, signed by the student and the parent,  
                    legal guardian or educational rights holder.


               ii)       The student is assigned to no more than one  
                 course period without educational content during a single  
                 semester.


             a)   For a student who has fulfilled both the prerequisites  
               for admission to the University of California and  
               California State University and the coursework requirements  
               for high school graduation:  










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               i)     The principal or an assistant principal certifies in  
                 a document to be placed in the student's cumulative  
                 record that:


                  A)        The student will benefit from the course, and  
                    provides an individualized explanation in the written  
                    certification for that conclusion.  The certification  
                    may include an individualized determination that the  
                    student will benefit from mentorship that will be  
                    provided by the certificated or certified employee  
                    supervising the student during the course period, or  
                    identification of the educational or employment  
                    opportunity that assigning the course period will  
                    allow the student to pursue and reason for concluding  
                    the student will, in fact, pursue that opportunity.  


                  B)        The student is not being assigned to the  
                    course because there are no other courses with  
                    curricular content for the student to take during the  
                    relevant period in the designated schoolday.


                  C)        The students and the parent, legal guardian,  
                    or educational rights holder have consented to the  
                    student's enrollment in the course period without  
                    educational content and that the school has obtained a  
                    consent form, signed by the student and the parent,  
                    legal guardian or educational rights holder.


          1)Defines "course period without educational content" as one  
            course period during which any of the following occurs:


             a)   The student is sent home or released from campus before  
               the conclusion of the designated schoolday.


             b)   The student is assigned to service, instructional work  
               experience, or to a course that has a different name, but  
               involves the student providing assistance to a certificated  








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               employee in a situation in which the ratio of student to  
               employee exceed one-to-one.


             c)   The student is not assigned to any course for the  
               relevant course period.


          Assignment to previously completed courses


          Prohibits a school district maintaining any of grades 7-12 from  
          assigning any student to a course that the student has  
          previously completed and received a grade determined by the  
          district to be sufficient to satisfy the requirements and  
          prerequisites for admission to the University of California and  
          California State University and the coursework requirements for  
          high school graduation, unless the student is assigned to  
          improve a lesser grade or because the course has been designed  
          to be taken more than once, or unless the principal or an  
          assistant principal certifies in a document to be placed in the  
          student's cumulative record that:

       1)The course is designed to be repeated because students are  
            exposed to a new curriculum year-to-year and are therefore  
            expected to derive educational value from taking the course  
            again.  

       2)The student is not being assigned to the course because there are  
            no other courses with curricular content for the student to  
            take during the relevant period in the designated schoolday.  

       3)The student has consented to the student's enrollment in the  
            course.  

          Complaints


       1)Authorizes a complaint of non-compliance with the prohibition on  
            assigning students to course periods without educational  
            content or to courses that the student has previously  
            completed and received a satisfactory grade to be filed with  
            the local educational agency (LEA) under the Uniform Complaint  








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            Procedures (UCP).

       2)Authorizes a complainant who is not satisfied with the decisions  
            of a LEA to appeal the decision to the California Department  
            of Education (CDE) through the existing UCP appeal process,  
            and requires that the complainant receive a decision regarding  
            the appeal within 60 days of the CDEs receipt of the appeal.  

       3)Requires the LEA to provide a remedy to the affected student if  
            the LEA or the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI)  
            finds merit in a complaint.



       4)Requires the SPI to prepare an annual report detailing actions  
            taken regarding related complaints, and requires the SPI, by  
            January 1 of each fiscal year, to submit the report to the  
            appropriate fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature.  

       5)Specifies that the SPI has all power and authority necessary to  
            effectuate the requirements regarding complaints.

          Miscellaneous


          1)Prohibits, under any circumstances, a school district from  
            assigning any student to a course period without educational  
            content, or to a course that the student has previously  
            completed and received a satisfactory grade, because there are  
            not sufficient curricular course offerings for the student to  
            take during that period of the schoolday.

          2)Provides that this bill does not limit or otherwise affect the  
            authority of a school district to establish evening high  
            school classes, independent study, courses of work-based  
            learning or work experience, distance learning, military  
            science, community service classes, driver's training and  
            similar courses or instruction if the program otherwise meets  
            all of the requirements of law governing that program.

          3)Exempts from this bill students who are enrolled in an  
            alternative school, a community day school, a continuation  
            high school or an opportunity school.  








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          4)Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to  
            adopt regulations to establish procedures required by this  
            bill, including the form for the certifications regarding the  
            assignment to course periods without educational content and  
            assignment to previously completed courses.
              
          STAFF COMMENTS


       1)Need for the bill.  According to the author, "Thousands of high  
            school students across California are tracked into so-called  
            'classes,' where they are given meaningless 'credits' for  
            sitting at home, doing nothing while sitting in the office, or  
            taking a course they've already passed.  School districts have  
            given these courses different names ('home,' 'service,' or  
            'work experience'), but they all have a common trait: they rob  
            students of learning time and the opportunity for a real  
            education.  And many of the affected students need real,  
            academic classes to fulfill graduation or college access  
            requirements.  The schools where this occurs serve almost  
            exclusively low-income students of color.  Although this is  
            not the norm across California, it is all-too common in  
            communities where students can least afford to lose learning  
            time."

       2)Author's amendments.  The author wishes to amend this bill to  
            significantly streamline the process that schools must follow:

          a)   Delete references to meeting the A-G or high school  
               graduation requirements, making individualized  
               determinations, and including written certification in each  

               student's cumulative file, and instead prohibits the  
               assignment of a student to a course period without  
               educational content unless all of the following conditions  
               are met:

               i)     The student, or if the student is a minor, the  
                 parent, legal guardian or educational rights holder has  
                 consented to assignment to a course period without  
                 educational content.  









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               ii)       A school official has determined that the student  
                 will benefit from being assigned to a course period  
                 without educational content.

               iii)      The principal or an assistant principal has  
                 stated in a written document to be maintained at the  
                 school that, for the relevant academic year, no students  
                 are assigned to course periods without educational  
                 content unless the school has met the conditions  
                 described above.

          a)   Delete the distinction between students who have or have  
               not met A-G or high school graduation requirements relative  
               to the processes that schoolsite administrators must  
               follow, thereby establishing only one process for the  
               assignment of students to courses without educational  
               content.

          b)   Limit the scope of the bill to grades 9-12.

          c)   Modify the definition of "course period without educational  
               content" to include that the student is not expected to  
               complete curricular assignments.

          d)   Clarify the process for meeting criteria for the assignment  
               of a student to a course that the student previously  
               completed with a satisfactory grade.

       1)Related lawsuit.  This bill is related to Cruz v. State of  
            California, a class action lawsuit filed May 29th, 2014, in  
            Alameda County Superior Court against the State on behalf of  
            students in seven schools.

       The plaintiffs allege that the state has violated the rights of the  
            plaintiffs provided by the Equal Protection clauses of the  
            state constitution "by failing to provide them with basic  
            educational opportunities equal to those that other students  
            elsewhere in the State receive" with regard to meaningful  
            learning time.  The complaint requests that the court address  
            the state's monitoring system and its intervention to prevent  
            and remedy the causes of lost learning time.  The plaintiffs  
            allege that this lack of instructional time is due to several  
            factors, including:








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             a)   Assignment of students to administrative tasks or free  
               periods instead of assignment to classroom periods of  
               instruction because of insufficient curricular offerings  
               and a lack of available qualified teachers.



             b)   Violence or security disruptions, which result in  
               cessation of instruction and traumatic after-effects, and  
               insufficient access to mental health professionals to  
               assist students and faculty in coping with these  
               disruptions.



             c)   Late changes to the master course schedule requiring  
               course and teacher changes well into the semester.



             d)   Unstable, transient teaching faculties and  
               administrative teams (including principals, assistant  
               principals, and counselors), resulting from under-resourced  
               and stressful campuses not conducive to professional  
               development and growth.



             e)   Unaddressed student absenteeism, resulting in whole or  
               part from campus conditions.   
                http://www.publiccounsel.org/tools/assets/files/0511.pdf  



            On February 5, 2015, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a  
            preliminary injunction.  On April 24, 2015, the court denied  
            this motion, stating that, "If, at this stage, Plaintiffs  
            cannot supply reliable evidence regarding the actual practices  
            of most California high schools with regard to the use of  
            contentless classes and the timely implementation of  
            appropriate master schedules, the court lacks a fair standard  
            against which to measure the performance of Plaintiff's own  








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            high schools and cannot determine, even preliminarily, whether  
            Plaintiffs have some possibility of prevailing on their  
            claims." 

       1)Course periods without educational content.  This bill, as  
            proposed to be amended, defines "course period without  
            educational content" to include "a service, instructional work  
            experience, or otherwise named course where the pupil is  
            assigned to assist a certificated employee but not expected to  
            complete curricular assignments in a course the certificated  
            employee is teaching that period, and where the ratio of  
            certificated employees to students so assigned is less than  
            one to one."  This definition appears to many, but not all, to  
            allow for the assignment to courses such as AVID, ROTC, study  
            hall, student government, student journalism, and similar  
            courses.  Is this definition sufficient to clearly allow for  
            the assignment to such courses?

       2)Technical amendments.  Staff recommends amendments as follows:

          a)   This bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction  
               (SPI) to prepare an annual report detailing actions taken  
               regarding related complaints, and requires the SPI, by  
               January 1 of each fiscal year, to submit the report to the  
               appropriate fiscal and policy committees of the  
               Legislature.  Staff recommends deleting reference to fiscal  
               year (strike "fiscal").



          b)   This bill requires the SPI to adopt regulations to  
               establish procedures required by this bill, including the  
               form for the certifications regarding the assignment to  
               course periods without educational content and assignment  
               to previously completed courses.  Staff recommends to  
               instead require the SPI to develop, and the State Board of  
               Education to adopt, the regulations. 



          c)   The author's proposed amendments prohibit the assignment of  
               a student to a course period without educational content  
               unless, among other things, the student or parent (if the  








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               student is a minor) has consented to the assignment.  Staff  
               recommends that amendments specify consent is to be in  
               writing.  


       3)Fiscal impact.  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
            Committee, unknown, likely minor, Proposition 98/General Fund  
            state mandated costs related to the expansion of the Uniform  
            Complaint Procedures (UCP), and unknown administrative costs  
            to the California Department of Education to process UCP  
            appeals, likely not to exceed $300,000. 

       4)Related legislation.  AB 379 (Gordon, 2015) expands the UCP to  
            include complaints of non-compliance with certain rights and  
            responsibilities regarding the education of students who are  
            in foster care or who are homeless, including school placement  
            decisions, responsibilities of foster youth liaisons,  
            provisions regarding school transfers, exemption from  
            locally-imposed graduation requirements, and the awarding of  
            partial credit for completed coursework.  AB 379 is pending in  
            the Senate Appropriations Committee.

       AB 1391 (Gomez, 2015) an urgency measure, expands the Uniform  
            Complaint Procedures (UCP) to include complaints of  
            non-compliance with the required minimum instructional minutes  
            for physical education.  AB 1391 is pending in the Senate  
            Appropriations Committee.

       AB 412 (Chavez, 2015) authorizes complaints of non-compliance with  
            the required minimum instructional minutes for physical  
            education to be filed with a local complaint process or  
            through the UCP.  AB 412 was never heard.  

       AB 302 (Cristina Garcia, 2015) requires local educational agencies  
            to provide reasonable accommodations to a lactating pupil on a  
            school campus to express breast milk, breast-feed an infant  
            child, or address other needs related to breast-feeding, and  
            expands the UCP to include complaints of non-compliance with  
            this requirement.  AB 302 is scheduled to be heard by this  
            Committee on July 8.

       SB 81 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Ch. 22, 2015) among  
            other things, expands the UCP to include complaints regarding  








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            an alleged violation by a local agency of federal or state law  
            or regulations governing adult education programs or regional  
            occupational centers and programs.  

       SB 425 (Hernandez, 2015) among other things, expands the UCP to  
            include complaints regarding an alleged violation by a local  
            agency of federal or state law or regulations governing adult  
            education programs or regional occupational centers and  
            programs, including allegations of unlawful discrimination,  
            harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  SB 425 is pending in  
            the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

       AB 907 (Burke, 2015) is nearly identical to SB 425.  AB 907 is  
            pending in this Committee.

            SUPPORT
          
          American Civil Liberties Union
          Californians for Justice

          California State Conference of the National Association of the  
          Advancement of Colored 
               People
          Education Trust-West
          EdVoice
          Families in Schools
          Public Advocates
          Public Counsel

            OPPOSITION
           
           California School Boards Association

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