Legislative Update: New Laws Address Immunization Exemptions, Math Standards, Long-term English Learners, Organ and Tissue Donations, and Average Daily Attendance for Online Instruction

KMTG will be issuing a series of updates on new legislation signed by Governor Brown.  All laws become effective January 1, 2013, unless otherwise stated.

Immunization Exemption—AB 2109

Current law requires a child to be immunized against various diseases before enrolling in a school or childcare facility.  However, a parent or guardian may opt out of the immunization requirement if he or she files a letter or affidavit stating that the immunization is contrary to his or her beliefs.  AB 2109 would require this letter or affidavit to state which immunizations, if any, have been given and which immunizations have not been given based on the basis that they are contrary to his or her beliefs.  It also requires that, starting January 1, 2014, a form must accompany the letter or affidavit which includes a signed attestation from a health care practitioner that indicates parents were provided with information regarding the benefits and risks of immunization and the health risks of communicable diseases.  The form must also include a written statement that indicates the signer has received the above-described information from the health care practitioner.

In his signing message, the Governor noted that he will direct the Department of Public Health “to allow for a separate religious exemption on the form” so that “people whose religious beliefs preclude vaccinations will not be required to seek a health practitioner's signature.”      

Math Standards—AB 1246

In AB 1246, the Legislature declared its intent to continue implementing the common core academic content standards by ensuring that adoption of instructional materials “are aligned to the common core academic content standards for mathematics and by providing local educational agencies flexibility in their use of instructional materials.”  AB 1246 adds section 60209 to the Education Code and also mandates that the State Board of Education adopt a revised curriculum framework for mathematics no later than November 30, 2013.  The State Board may adopt instructional materials for kindergarten and grades 1 through 8 that are aligned to the content standards adopted by the Academic Content Standards Commission for mathematics no later than March 30, 2014.

AB 1246, which provides school districts with some flexibility in the selection of instructional material, adds section 60210 to the Education Code.  Section 60210 provides that a local educational agency may use instructional materials that are aligned with the academic content standards, including instructional materials that have not been adopted by the State Board of Education.  Instructional materials for mathematics that are aligned to common core academic content standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative consortium shall be deemed to be aligned to the content standards adopted pursuant to statute.  If a local educational agency chooses to use instructional materials that the State Board of Education has not adopted, “the local educational agency shall ensure that a majority of the participants of any review process conducted by the local educational agency are classroom teachers who are assigned to the subject area or grade level of the materials.”

English Learners—AB 2193

AB 2193 adds sections 313.1 and 313.2 to the Education Code and adds the definition “Long-term English learner” and “English learner at risk of becoming a long-term English learner” to the Education Code.  Current law requires a school district with one or more pupils who are English learners to assess a pupil’s English language development to determine his or her level of proficiency.  The State Board of Education must establish procedures for conducting assessments and for reclassifying an English learner as English proficient.

“Long-term English learner” is defined by AB 2193 as “an English learner who is enrolled in any of grades 6 to 12, inclusive, has been enrolled in schools in the United States for more than six years, has remained at the same English language proficiency level for two or more consecutive years as determined by the English language development test identified or developed pursuant to Section 60810, or any successor test, and scores far below basic or below basic on the English language arts standards-based achievement test administered pursuant to Section 60640, or any successor test.”  “English learner at risk of becoming a long-term English learner” is defined as “an English learner who is enrolled in any of grades 5 to 11, inclusive, in schools in the United States for four years, scores at the intermediate level or below on the English language development test identified or developed pursuant to Section 60810, or any successor test, and scores in the fourth year at the below basic or far below basic level on the English language arts standards-based achievement test administered pursuant to Section 60640, or any successor test.” 

The new law also requires the State Department of Education to annually ascertain and provide to the school district and schools the number of students within each district and school who are or who are at risk of becoming long-term English learners.

Organ and Tissue Donation—AB 1967

AB 1967 adds section 33542 to the Education Code, which  will “ensure that the health and science curriculum frameworks adopted in the course of the next submission cycle…include the subject of organ procurement and tissue donation, as appropriate.”

In enacting AB 1967, the Legislature declared, “[t]here is an urgent need to educate the public about organ and tissue donation.”  The Legislature recognized in AB 1967 that there are more than 21,000 people living in California that are on the organ transplant waiting list and that only 18 percent of California drivers are designated as organ or tissue donors.

Average Daily Attendance for Online Instruction—AB 644

AB 644 adds section 46300.8 to the Education Code, regarding how average daily attendance (“ADA”) is calculated for students utilizing online instruction.  Currently, the funding system for state appropriations to local educational agencies is based on factors that include the average daily attendance of pupil at the schools operated by an agency. 

AB 644 provides that beginning “with the 2014-2015 school year, attendance of pupils in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the school district or county office of education who is delivering synchronous, online instruction shall be included in computing average daily attendance, provided that” certain requirements are met.  One requirement is that the certificated employee who is providing instruction must confirm a pupil’s attendance through visual recognition during the class period.  The class must have a regularly scheduled start and end time and the pupil must be scheduled to attend the entire class period.  An individual with exceptional needs may participate in an online program only if his or her individualized education plan specifically provides for participation in online instruction. 

If a school district or county office of education chooses to offer synchronous, online instruction, it shall not deny a pupil enrollment because of the pupil’s lack of access to the computer hardware or software necessary to participate in the course.  If a pupil who does not have access to the necessary equipment chooses to enroll in such a course, the school district or county office of education must provide the pupil with access to the computer hardware or software necessary to participate. 

The ratio of certificated employees to online pupils shall not exceed the equivalent ratio for other programs unless a lower or higher ratio is negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement.  The Superintendent of Public Instruction must establish rules and regulations to implement the requirements of AB 644.

What This Means To You

Board policies and administrative regulations should be reviewed to ensure compliance with the newest changes in the law.  Administration and staff should be updated as to any changes so that the appropriate policies are consistently followed.  KMTG attorneys are available to assist in review and revision of Board policies and regulations.

Questions

If you have any questions concerning the content of this Legal Alert, please contact the following from our office, or the attorney with whom you normally consult.

Christian M. Keiner or Meghan Covert Russell | 916.321.4500

 

Published In: Administrative Agency Updates, Constitutional Law Updates, Education Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »