(Sept. 29, 2006, updated from breaking) -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law a bill carried on behalf of the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) by Assemblywoman Betty Karnette (D., LB), authorizing LBUSD to require -- not just offer -- supplemental instruction (summer school, Saturday school, extra class periods, tutoring and the like) to seriously underperforming students.
Current law requires school districts to offer supplemental instruction to students in grades 2 to 9 recommended for retention or who have been retained (not progressing to the next grade). In seeking the new legislation, LBUSD indicated that a little over one in ten LBUSD students are eligible for and are offered such supplemental instruction and roughly nine of ten of those students take part.
The bill now makes the supplemental programs an offer that the remaining 10% of LBUSD's underperforming students can't refuse [although their parents or guardians will have a mechanism to opt out].
The bill signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger empowers LBUSD to require pupils, identified pursuant to a policy adopted by LB's School Board at a regularly scheduled board meeting, to participate in specified supplemental instruction programs.
"We’re delighted that the Governor has signed our bill, and we’re extremely grateful to Assemblywoman Betty Karnette for carrying this legislation through, said LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser. "Now we can make certain that all students have every opportunity to meet academic standards. We believe that all students can learn, and this law will help us to put that belief into action."
As previously reported by LBReport.com, LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser traveled to Sacramento earlier this year to testify before the Assembly Education Committee on behalf of the bill.
LBUSD's idea of requiring the supplemental instruction for seriously underperforming students apparently struck a responsive chord with other lawmakers: an amendment was added to the bill, letting other school districts do basically what LBUSD was seeking to do.
The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, lets school districts require student participation in additional instruction, or interventions, when they are not meeting standards in basic subjects. School districts will have the ability to require Saturday school, summer school, and extra instruction both before and after school.
"Long Beach Unified initiated the legislation to make sure all students have ample opportunities to meet federal and state academic standards and requirements, including passing the California High School Exit Exam," LBUSD said in a release.
As passed, the bill also includes a provision requiring the school district to provide a mechanism for a parent or legal guardian to decline to enroll his or her child in a supplemental program.
LBUSD's release said the "academic interventions made possible by this legislation will be implemented by the Long Beach Unified School District soon after the law takes effect in January 2007."