Governor Jerry Brown recently signed several bills into law that impact student instruction for public schools. Senate Bill (SB) 830 and Assembly Bills (AB) 2015 and 2239 relate to media literacy, instruction regarding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application, and the addition of courses to the "A-G" course list.
Recognizing the influence of social media and the proliferation of false news stories, SB 830 intends to increase media literacy skills among young adults. SB 830 requires that, by July 1, 2019, the California Department of Education include on its website a list of resources and instructional materials on media literacy. The new law defines "media literacy" as "the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and use media and encompasses the foundational skills that lead to digital citizenship."
AB 2015 concerns the FAFSA and California Dream Act Application. The FAFSA is an application to determine student financial aid eligibility. The California Dream Act Application allows undocumented students, who meet certain requirements, to apply for state student financial aid.
AB 2015 specifies that, starting with the 2020-2021 school year, school districts and charter schools must ensure that each student receives information on how to complete and submit the FAFSA and the California Dream Act Application before the student starts the 12th grade. School districts and charter schools will have discretion in determining the manner in which this information is provided to the students. However, AB 2015 states that the information to be provided in materials must include:
- The documentation and personal information that student financial aid applications require.
- Explanations of the definition used for each application (for instance, the definition of "legal guardianship" and "household size").
- Eligibility requirements related to student financial aid.
- The application timelines and deadlines.
- The importance of the student submitting applications early, in particular when student financial aid is awarded on a first-come basis.
In addition, AB 2015 requires that school districts and charter schools ensure that paper copies of the FAFSA and California Dream Act Application are provided to each student when requested by the student or parent/guardian of the student.
The University of California and California State University have established a uniform set of academic standards for high school classes, which are referred to as the "A-G" subject requirements. To satisfy college admission requirements, high school classes that are used to satisfy the "A-G" subject requirements must be approved by the University of California and included on the "A-G" course list.
AB 2239 applies to schools that offer world language classes (also known as foreign language classes) designed for native speakers which are not already approved "A-G" courses. This bill encourages school districts and charter schools to seek to include these world language classes designed for native speakers on the schools' "A-G" course list.
SB 830, AB 2015, and AB 2239 all impact various aspects of student instruction. School districts and charter schools should review their policies and practices to ensure compliance with these new bills.
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