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New California Laws — Lots of Them

12.30.2011 | KQED News | KQED News Staff, Ana Tintocalis

Education

From our education reporter Ana Tintocalis…

Transitional Kindergarten gets underway

One of the more intriguing education bills to go into effect is SB 1381, also known as the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010. The legislation was sponsored by Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto).

The law requires children to be five years old by Sept 1 of any given year in order to enter kindergarten. Kids that don’t fall into that age requirement will attend a new grade – called Transitional Kindergarten. The state’s 700 districts with elementary schools have the next three years to ramp up these programs.

LGBT History in the classroom

AB 48, sponsored by Mark Leno (D-SF), requires California public schools to include lessons on the LGBT community and their historic contributions. Teachers are also required to include lessons about Native Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders and people with disabilities. No word yet, however, on specific curricula teachers must follow.

The DREAM Act is realized

AB 130 is the first half of the controversial California DREAM Act of 2011. College students who are undocumented immigrants in California will now be able to qualify for privately funded financial aid.

The second part of the law, granting undocumented immigrants access to state financial aid, will go into effect in 2013.

Getting Ready for the Common Core Standards

AB 124, AB 250, SB 140 are a series of wonky bills that collectively reflect California’s effort to develop a national set of academic standards called the Common Core Standards, which schools across the country have been told to adopt.

The bills will allow California, one of 45 states helping to craft the new standards, to develop curricula around them, as well as develop instructional materials and ensure they also apply to students who speak English as a second language.

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