New Education Laws in California for 2018
The state legislature of California has passed several new laws governing education in 2017. Most of them are in effect from the 1st of January, 2018. Many new laws affect a staggering majority of students while some are focused on regulating agencies and departments. Every student and their parents should read these new education laws.
- All fulltime students attending community colleges can have the tuition fee for the first year waived completely. The students must apply and qualify for such financial assistance under California Dream Act or FAFSA and they should be enrolled at the community colleges for at least twelve semester units. All students attending any community college in the state can sign up for any online course, that could be offered by any other college or university or specific campus, and attend such a course without paying any additional tuition fees. Equity plans for students now must have categories covering gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and homeless students.
- Colleges and universities cannot seek any information or documentation pertaining to the status of immigration of students or faculty and their families. Non-teaching faculty or staff is also included in this group. Effectively, there can be no discrimination on the basis of immigration or citizenship. California State University will be putting up housing costs near the campus on their official websites. The University of California campuses will also be requested to post such information so students and their families can get a comprehensive idea of the cost of living off campus.
- Students graduating high school will not have to pass the exit exam. The exit exam is no longer a condition to receive the diploma. All high schools and middle schools have to now equip half of their onsite bathrooms with feminine hygiene products. These products will be available for free. Charter schools need to be more forthcoming and lucid about the terms or grounds on the basis of which students can be admitted, expelled or suspended.
- California now prohibits the possession of firearms in a designated school zone. Any resident or nonresident carrying a firearm will not be able to seek the permission of a superintendent to do so legally. This is a much needed step to ensure safety of children. The enforcement will obviously be the key as many such laws exist but there are many who flout them.
- In an attempt to improve the education system in a holistic manner, student board members have been given preferential voting rights across all school districts and educational boards. Student board members will get all the minutes and materials of open meetings and will also be a part of the staff briefings. There are significant regulatory changes to design & construction of schools, instructional facilities and other infrastructures initiated by the school districts.
- Some of the new laws focus on curriculum including Native American studies, health and sex education, relationship abuse and intimate partner violence. Meal shaming has been effectively prohibited. Universal meal service is assured to almost a million students from low income families.