Seven education bills are currently awaiting the signature or veto of Gov. Jerry Brown – and before too many more stack up, we thought a review was in order.
For more check out Edsource’s EdTracker, a tool that follows the ins and outs of education legislation in Sacramento.
“Willful defiance” bill
AB 420 would limit the authority of a superintendent of a school district and a principal to suspend or expel a student for the act of “willful defiance.” It is meant to curb the number of suspensions and expulsions in the state for what critics say is a vaguely-defined infraction.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California is the bill’s sponsor and says the “willful defiance” infraction “disproportionately affects students of color, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities,” according to the group’s website. Brown vetoed an earlier version of the bill, saying, “I cannot support limiting the authority of local school leaders,” according to the Sacramento Bee.
If passed, the bill would be a moot point for LA Unified, which in 2013 became the first school district in the state to ban defiance as grounds for suspension, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Bill to mandate kindergarten attendance
AB 1444 would make kindergarten attendance mandatory in the state. Currently, kindergarten is optional, but students starting in the 2016-17 school year must have completed one year of kindergarten before entering first grade if the bill becomes law. The bill is sponsored by the California Teacher’s Association (CTA).
A posting on the CTA’s website states: “CTA believes in providing students with a quality education that begins the very moment they get to our schools. Making kindergarten mandatory is critical so that all children can be better prepared for career or college by the 12th grade.”
Other groups, such as the Private & Home Educators of California, oppose the bill, saying it takes away a level of parental rights. A posting on the group’s website states: “Advocates of extending government control of all children from birth will be able to use passage of AB 1444 as an incremental step toward establishing seamless, cradle-to-grave government-controlled education and development programs.” Continue reading