New Rules for Schools

by Carol Kocivar | October 29, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Ed100's Round-up of California Education Policy Changes in 2018

Over 2,000 bills are introduced in the California Legislature each year. Of these, about half reach the Governor’s desk, and even fewer actually make it into law. Here is our short guide to what happened to bills related to education in 2018.

Selected Education-related Bills: What happened?

Protection for English Learners

English learners enrolled in middle or high school can’t be denied enrollment in core courses. AB 2735

Family Engagement Expanded in LCAP

Sponsored by our friends at the California State PTA, AB 2878 adds research-based Family Engagement practices that local districts can use in their LCAP. This includes, for example, engaging in effective two-way communication, supporting pupil success, and empowering families to advocate for equity and access.

[Learn more about Family Engagement and the LCAP on]

Goodbye, For-Profit Charter Schools

The governor and the legislature said, “So Long For-Profit Charter Schools” with AB 406, which bans charter schools from being managed as for-profit companies or by for-profit companies.

Support for Dual Language Immersion

Biliteracy got a small boost with AB 2514, which creates a grant program for ten schools to establish and expand dual language immersion programs, developmental bilingual programs, and early learning dual language learners programs.

Kids and School Debts

Public schools now may not bill a student or former student for a debt owed to the school. They also can’t take action against that student, for example, by denying a transcript or limiting participation in school activities. This does not prohibit schools from collecting a debt from parents (though use of a debt collector is also prohibited.) AB 1974

Deported Students and High School Diplomas

High schools may retroactively grant a diploma to students whose education was disrupted by deportation, but who were on track to graduate. AB 3022

Student Health and Safety

This was a big year for bills to protect student health and safety as scary headlines about shootings, suicide, human trafficking and lead in the water dominated the news cycles.

Bills Related to Student Health and Safety

Suicide Prevention

Middle and high schools must print suicide prevention hotline numbers and text crisis hotlines on the back of student identification cards per SB 972.

Schools must review their suicide prevention policies at least every five years and update them as needed. AB 2639

[Learn more about suicide prevention on]

Human Trafficking

School districts must ensure that all pupils in grades seven to 12 receive information on how social media and mobile device applications are used for human trafficking. AB 186.

School districts and charter schools must work with their schools serving students in grades 6-12 to identify methods of informing parents of human trafficking prevention resources. SB 1104

Pupil Restraints

Schools now have new limits on the use of behavioral restraints and student seclusion. AB 2657

[Learn more about discipline on]

Food in Schools

Schools in the federal School Breakfast program can get more funding to provide more students with a universal school breakfast. AB 304

A bill to require a charter school to provide each needy pupil with one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each school day was signed by the Governor. (The second time’s a charm on this one. A similar bill was vetoed by the same Governor several years ago.) AB 1871.

[Learn more about food in charter schools on]

Pregnant and Parenting Pupils

Pregnant and parenting students got expanded rights, regardless of sex, to eight weeks of parental leave. AB 2289.

Pupil Mental
Health Services

Notices to pupils and parents/guardians on how to access pupil mental health services on campus or in the community are required at least twice a year. AB 2022

Lead Testing

There are new requirements for child care centers to test drinking water for lead. AB 2370

School Safety Plans

Schools have to develop a comprehensive school safety plan and train staff, including procedures for tactical responses to criminal events such as active shooter incidents. AB 1747

Cyber Bullying

New policy requires schools to adopt procedures to prevent bullying, including cyberbullying. AB 2291

[Learn more about school climate and discipline on]

Door Locks

Facility modernization projects must provide for schools to include locks that allow classrooms doors to to be locked from the inside. AB 3205


School districts and charters that participate in interscholastic athletics must have at least one automatic external defibrillator, or AED, at each school site. AB 2009

Sex Education

Charter schools now have to ensure that all pupils in grades 7 to 12 receive comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education. AB 2601

[Learn more about sex education on]

“Wait for Next Year” Bills

Some high-profile bills that would have made big or controversial changes to education were not signed into law. They were either vetoed by the Governor or fell short of the votes needed to get through the legislature. Bills nixed by the Governor include:

Funding and more funding were common threads for bills that did not get through the legislature: These include AB 3136 (which would change special education funding), AB 2808 (increase LCFF funding) and SB 1362 (allow school districts to reject charter school petitions on the basis of financial impact on other schools.)

Expect these proposals to come back in the next legislative session. It is common for bills to take more than one try to find their way through the process.

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