It was a season of upsets, near hits, and student successes for education in the just ended legislative session.

Back in April, two of the state’s most influential school administrators, Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy and Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson, testified before the State Senate Education Committee seeking to make it easier to fire teachers. Coming on the heels of the widely publicized sex abuse scandal at LA’s Miramonte Elementary School, lawmakers seemed primed to approve at least one of the trio of bills before them. None made it through both houses.

Legislators took a harder line on student discipline, but from a decidedly different perspective. They approved six of seven bills calling for alternatives to suspensions and expulsions for behavior that’s not violent and doesn’t involve weapons or safety threats. Gov. Jerry Brown signed four and vetoed two.

On a few occasions, party lines yielded small fissures for major bills, although not always enough to make history. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) surprised even his fellow Democrats when he convinced Republican Brian Nestande of Palm Desert to support a change in the way multistate corporate taxes are computed to fund a Middle Class Scholarship Act. The bill died in the Senate, however, and Nestande paid for his infidelity by being forced to resign as chairman of the Assembly Republican Caucus.

Despite hardening partisanship, some landmark legislation did take wing. On his second try, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg persuaded Gov. Jerry Brown to sign SB 1458, which will shift the state’s high school accountability system away from standardized tests scores toward broader measures of student achievement. The Student Success Act of 2012 passed with overwhelming support. The bill, by Democrat Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, starts implementing some of the recommendations of the Community College Task Force on Student Success, which spent a year studying ways to improve graduation, completion, and transfer rates in the nation’s largest public higher education system.

Legislators also successfully tackled pension reform, made some inroads toward making textbooks more affordable by switching to digital formats, and continued taking the steps necessary to implement Common Core state standards. They fell short, however, on a bill to create a teacher evaluation system that might have helped with the State’s request to the U.S. Education Department for a waiver from some of the more onerous requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, previously known as No Child Left Behind.

The following chart is a summary of six dozen education bills introduced during the 2011-12 Legislative Session. For details on individual bills, go here for the State’s legislative bill information site.


Final status of significant education bills from 2011-12 Legislative session


Bill Number Author Subject Status What it would do
SB 121 Carol Liu
Pupils: foster children: special education 9/26/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Sets new procedures for sending foster youth to non public, non sectarian schools; gives the LEA and Juvenile Court more oversight when a guardian wishes to move a foster youth to a NPNS school.
SB 958 Michael Rubio
Well-equipped classrooms 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Appropriations committee. Creates inventory of what supplies are needed in each classroom
SB 967 Leland Yee
(D-San Francisco/San Mateo
Compensation for administrators at UC and CSU 4/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Education committee In response to CSU trustees increasing executive compensation while student fees are being raised, this bill would prohibit salary increases within two years of fee hikes.
SB 994 Juan Vargas
(D-San Diego)
California Latino Curriculum Committee 5/24/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Appropriations committee. Establishes commission to improve Latino history in K12 curriculum
SB 1052 Darrell Steinberg
(D-Sacramento) and Elaine Alquist
(D-Santa Clara)
Affordable college textbooks 9/27/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Creates California Open Education Resources Council to develop a list of the 50 most widely used college textbooks for lower division courses, develops review and approval process for open source materials, and establishes competitive bid process allowing faculty and publishers to apply for funds to produce 50 high quality affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials in 2013.
SB 1053 Darrell Steinberg
(D-Sacramento) and Elaine Alquist
(D-Santa Clara)
Digital college textbooks 9/27/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Creates digital open source library.
(Requires passage of SB 1052.)
SB 1059 Bob Huff
(R- Diamond Bar)
Teacher misconduct 4/19/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Education Committee. Would extend districts’ ability to place a teacher on immediate leave to include unsatisfactory performance and unprofessional conduct; would allow districts to consider complaints against a teacher that are more than four years old; and would allow dismissal hearings to take place during the summer.
SB 1070 Darrell Steinberg
Career Technical Education 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Establishes the Career Technical Education Pathways Program through June 30, 2015. A competitive grant process for collaboration among middle and high schools, community colleges, and regional economic development centers.
SB 1088 Curren Price, Jr.
(D-Los Angeles)
Pupils: Juvenile Justice system and expulsions and suspensions 9/19/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Prohibits schools from refusing to enroll or readmit students who were in the juvenile justice system. Also gives expelled students more than one opportunity to demonstrate that they have completed their rehabilitation plans.
SB 1108 Alex Padilla
(D-Los Angeles)
English learners: reclassification 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Would require the State Department of Education to examine policies and criteria that districts used to reclassify English learners and report to the Legislature on statutory or regulatory changes needed for transition to English proficiency.
SB 1138 Carol Liu
(D-La Cañada/ Flintridge)
Protecting CPEC data until successor agency found 5/24/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Appropriations committee. Authorizes CDE to oversee data files formerly maintained by CPEC until a new agency is permanently named.
SB 1154 Mimi Walters
(R-Laguna Niguel)
Digital format for K-12 instructional materials 9/27/12 – Vetoed by Gov. Brown. Requires publishers to offer digital format for all texts and create easy online access for teachers and students.
SB 1200 Loni Hancock
Common Core standards and 8th grade math 9/27/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Requires the State Board of Education to adopt college and career readiness standards developed by state’s Common Core Consortium. Also calls for review of 8th grade math standards.
SB 1235 Darrell Steinberg
Discipline: Students 9/26/12 – Vetoed by Gov. Brown. Requires schools with suspension rates above 25% overall or for a specific racial or ethnic group to implement a research-based alternative to out-of-school suspension and expulsion.
SB 1290 Elaine Alquist
(D-Santa Clara)
Charter Schools 9/26/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Requires petitions for new and renewal charter schools to consider increases in academic achievement for all subgroups.
SB 1292 Carol Liu
(D-La Cañada/Flintridge)
Principal Evaluations 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Authorizes school districts to evaluate new principals during their first and second year on the job, lets the school board determine who will conduct the evaluation and establishes criteria.
SB 1295 Bob Huff
(D-Diamond Bar)
Home-to-school transportation 4/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Education Committee Would allow school districts to place advertising on school buses and keep the revenue from those ads.
SB 1316 Loni Hancok
School Attendance 7/9/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Exempts middle college high schools from the 240 minute school day requirement, and instead sets the minimum day at 180 minutes for students enrolled in these programs as long as they’re also enrolled in classes at UC, CSU, or a community college.
SB 1328 Kevin De León
(D-Los Angeles)
College textbooks 7/3/12 – Hearing in Assembly Higher Ed Committee canceled at Senator’s request. Requires textbook publishers to provide faculty with a usable online dataset and platform that can compare prices of all relevant textbooks in one place so that they can make an educated choice on behalf of students.
SB 1456 Alan Lowenthal
(D–Long Beach)
Community Colleges 9/27/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Student Success Act of 2012. Requires community colleges to start developing infrastructure for student orientation, education plans, and counseling.
SB 1458 Darrell Steinberg
API reform 9/26/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Limits standardized test scores to no more than 60% of a high school’s API, and includes graduation rates, student readiness for college/career, and other factors to the equation.
SB 1466 Kevin De León
(D-Los Angeles)
Cal Grants 9/29/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Increases minimum household income to qualify for a Cal Grant to $150,000 per year.
SB 1530 Alex Padilla
(D-Los Angeles)
Discipline: Teachers 6/27/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Ed Committee; reconsideration granted. Makes it easier for school districts to remove teachers involved in sexual misconduct, drugs, or violence against students.
SB 1539 Ellen Corbett
(D-San Leandro)
College Textbooks 7/17/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Requires college textbook publishers to inform professors of the differences from previous editions and to provide them with a list of all products they offer on the same topic.
SB 1568 Mark DeSaulnier
Foster Youth 9/26/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Would require a school district to allow a former foster child to remain in the school of origin through the highest grade offered.
AB 5 Felipe Fuentes
Teacher Evaluations 8/30/12 – Withdrawn by Assemblymember. Would have created a voluntary teacher evaluation program, whose components would be collectively bargained in each district.
AB 18 Julia Brownley
(D-Santa Monica)
Education Finance Reform Act. 2-year bill 9/19/12 – Vetoed by Gov. Brown Would create a task force to recommend options for education finance reform, reporting to the Legislature by April 1.
AB 340 Warren Furutani
Pension Reform 9/12/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown, who had recommended more substantial changes Changes pension for teachers hired after Jan. 1, 2013. Raised retirement age for public employees, put ceiling on wages eligible for pensions.
AB 644 Bob Blumenfield
(D-Van Nuys)
High School Online learning 9/26/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown Starting in 2014-15, allows school districts to receive full funding for synchronous online courses supervised and taught by certificated teachers to students taking them in real-time setting.
AB 925 Ricardo Lara
(D-Bell Gardens)
Charter Schools 8/16/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Appropriations Committee Give all charter school employees the right to inspect, review, and comment on personnel records. Requires charter schools to grant employees a leave of absence for jury duty.
AB 1166 Jose Solorio
(D-Santa Ana)
Pupils: privacy of standardized test scores. 9/14/12 – Vetoed by Gov. Brown, who said that federal and state privacy laws already protect students. Prohibits school districts from including information about a student’s scores on standardized tests or course grades on a school ID or any other item a student may be required to carry with him or her at school.
AB 1172 Tony Mendoza
Charter Schools 6/13/12 – Failed in Senate Education Committee. Would change current charter school law to permit school districts to deny a charter based on the financial impact on the district.
AB 1448 Warren Furutani
Home-to-School Transportation 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations Committee. Prohibits the legislature from reducing funding for home-to-school transportation below the amount established in the 2011 budget.
AB 1500 John A. Pérez
(D-Los Angeles)
Student Financial Aid: Middle Class Scholarship Program 9/1/12 – Passed Assembly, then died: failed to get Republican votes in Senate. Would close a loophole in the Single Sales Factor (SSF), requiring out-of-state corporations that do business in California to pay full taxes with the estimated $1 billion in additional revenue to be used to fund the Middle Class Scholarship Fund under AB 1501.
AB 1501 John A. Pérez
(D-Los Angeles)
Student financial aid: Middle class scholarship program 9/1/12 – Died in Senate on last day of session. Creates the Middle Class Scholarship Program under the administration of the Student Aid Commission. Beginning with the 2012-13 year, UC and CSU undergrads whose family incomes are $150,000 or less and are state residents would receive a package of financial aid covering at least 2/3 of tuition and fees.
AB 1521 Julia Brownley
(D-Santa Monica)
STAR Testing: Dual language immersion programs 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Authorizes primary language tests for all students in Dual Immersion programs, subject to approval of the State Board of Education, at the local school district’s expense.
AB 1568 Roger Hernández
(D-West Covina)
Charter Schools 6/20/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Education Committee. Prohibits preferences in admissions based on the contribution of time or money.
AB 1573 Julia Brownley
(D-Santa Monica)
Foster Youth 7/13/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Clarifies current education code to specify that a foster child who remains in his or her school of origin comply with residency requirements for school attendance in the district.
AB 1575 Ricardo Lara
(D-Bell Gardens)
Student Fees 9/29/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown, who vetoed a similar bill last year. Clarifies a State Supreme Court ruling and section of the California Constitution that prohibit school districts from charging student fees, deposits, or other charges not specifically authorized by law. The bill would settle a lawsuit brought by the ACLU.
AB 1663 Roger Dickinson
CSU High school summer school for math and science 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Sets new, higher reimbursement rate that better corresponds to actual costs.
AB 1668 Wilmer Carter
High School dropout prevention 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Revises the definition of “dropout recovery high school” to include schools in which 50% or more of the students are designated as dropouts or were not enrolled in school for at least 180 days, in order to ensure those students are eligible to attend these schools.
AB 1684 Mike Eng
Community Colleges 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations committee. Prohibits salaries of community college chancellors from exceeding 2x highest-paid faculty member.
AB 1697 Henry Perea
Foster Youth 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations committee. An effort to provide greater accountability for placement of children in foster care by requiring a separate data field in the CWS/CMS for agencies to explain the reasons for a child’s placement with an FFA or group home.
AB 1705 Jim Silva
(R-Huntington Beach)
CAHSEE and Special Ed 8/27/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Extends exemption from CAHSEE graduation requirement for selected special education students for three more years and allows alternative demonstration of proficiency for CAHSEE after 2015.
AB 1712 Jim Beall
(D-San Jose)
Foster Youth 9/30/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Closes loophole in AB 12 that forces foster youth out of the system if they turn 19 in 2012, but lets them reapply when they turn 20 in 2013.
AB 1719 Felipe Fuentes
English Learners 9/27/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Would provide supplemental instructional materials aligned to state’s Common Core standards for language arts and ELD in grades K-8.
AB 1729 Tom Ammiano
(D-San Francisco)
Pupil Rights: suspension or expulsion 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Allows a principal or superintendent to use alternatives to expulsion or suspension as long as they address the student’s misbehavior. Districts must document their action.
AB 1741 Paul Fong
(D-Mountain View)
Community Colleges 6/19/12 – Withdrawn prior to hearing at the Assemblymember’s request. Provides faculty counseling and training to ensure that community college students have access to support services.
AB 1765 Julia Brownley
(D-Santa Monica)
Teacher Mentors 8/27/12 – Vetoed by Gov. Brown, citing no need for more work for overloaded Commission. Assuming private funding can be found, establishes advisory panel to Commission on Teacher Credentialing to explore teacher leader career path.
AB 1772 Joan Buchanan
(D–San Ramon)
Mandatory Kindergarten 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations committee. Starting with the 2014-15 school year, a child will have to complete one year of kindergarten before being admitted to first grade.
AB 1781 Julia Brownley
(D-Santa Monica)
School Meals: Free or reduced price 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations committee. Would require schools to provide free or reduced-price meals at all campus locations where lunch is available in order to protect low-income students from being stigmatized and possibly not eating or eating unhealthy food.
AB 1790 Curt Hagman
(R- Chino Hills)
Digital Textbooks K-8 9/27/12 – Vetoed by Gov. Brown along with SB 1154 as imposing unnecessary costs on publishers. Requires publishers submitting instructional materials for adoption to make them available in print and digital formats.
AB 1799 Steven Bradford
Pupil Records 9/19/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Gives schools 10 days to transfer the record of a student who moved to the student’s new school. A mandated cost.
AB 1811 Susan Bonilla
Charter School Funding 9/26/12 – Vetoed by Gov. Brown, who said charters shouldn’t be punished for inequities in current finance system. Would eliminate financial incentive for a high school in a unified district to convert to a charter school for a higher reimbursement rate.
AB 1849 Wilmer Carter
Juvenile Justice: Restorative Justice 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations committee. Establishes pilot restorative justice programs in at least five counties, using non-general fund money, and requires an evaluation of the effectiveness of the programs.
AB 1853 Susan Bonilla
Transitional Kindergarten: Teacher credentialing 9/21/12- Vetoed by Gov. Brown, who said that there is no need “for yet another teaching credential.” Authorizes Commission on Teacher Credentialing to create recognition for teachers with a multiple-subject credential who do a course of study to teach Transitional Kindergarten.
AB 1909 Tom Ammiano
(D-San Francisco)
Foster Youth and school discipline 9/30/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown Requires the agency that places a child in foster care to notify the education liaison of the child’s LEA at the time of placement, and requires the agency to invite the pupil’s attorney to any disciplinary hearing that may involve suspension or expulsion.
AB 1919 Julia Brownley
(D-Santa Monica)
API: Charter School Reporting 9/26/12 – Vetoed by Gov. Brown, who said districts already could request the information from local charter schools. Requires the state to provide API scores and student achievement data for students in charter schools chartered by the district.
AB 1955 Marty Block
(D-San Diego)
CSU and UC campus liaison 9/26/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Requires CSU trustees to designate a liaison at every campus between student protestors and campus police to ensure another UC Davis incident doesn’t occur.
AB 2001 Susan Bonilla
Pupil Assessment 8/16/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Appropriations Committee. Provides legislative direction for middle and high school tests to focus on college and career readiness.
AB 2028 Steve Knight
(R-Antelope Valley)
School employees: Discipline 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations committee. Would remove provisions in existing law that require local school boards to notify permanent employees if the board plans to fire or suspend them 30 days after the notice is served unless they demand a hearing, and that prohibit that notice from being served in the summer between May 15 and Sept. 15.
AB 2133 Bob Blumenfield
(D-Van Nuys)
Veterans: Priority registration at community colleges 9/20/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Veterans receive priority registration at California Community Colleges within 15 years after being discharged. They must comply with the academic requirements in SB 1456, the Student Success Act of 2012.
AB 2145 Luis Alejo
Pupils: Expulsion or suspension 8/16/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Appropriations committee. Requires schools to disaggregate expulsion and suspension rates by race, English learner status, socioeconomic status, and gender.
AB 2193 Ricardo Lara
(D-Bell Gardens)
Long-Term English Learners 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Would create a consistent definition and common terminology of Long Term English Learners (LTEL) in order to support standard identification across California school districts and to support appropriate and timely intervention to meet needs of LTELs.
AB 2203 V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) Mandatory Kindergarten 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of the Assembly Appropriations committee. Requires California children to begin school at age five. Currently compulsory education starts at age six.
AB 2241 Roger Dickinson
Juvenile Justice system 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations committee. Establishes the Transitioning Youth for Success Program to prioritize the use of federal funds for neglected, delinquent, or at-risk pupils by authorizing money for school districts or county offices of education to ensure the transition of youth from juvenile programs to further schooling or employment.
AB 2242 Roger Dickinson
Pupils: Expulsion or suspension 9/21/12 – Vetoed by Gov. Brown who said that, with budget cuts, school officials need discretion over classroom management. Revises expulsion and suspension policy so schools can no longer expel or place a student on out-of-school suspension for willfully defying authority.
AB 2296 Marty Block
(D-San Diego)
For-profit college disclosure 9/26/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Requires for-profit private colleges to inform prospective students whether they are accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. and California and, if not, what the limitations of the degrees are.
AB 2300 Sandré Swanson
Pupils: Expulsion or suspension 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of the Assembly Appropriations committee. Would prohibit a school, at the request of a pupil or parent or guardian, from disclosing to a postsecondary institution the pupil’s disciplinary records relating to a suspension if it was for a minor offense.
AB 2361 Richard Pan
School Accountability Report Cards 5/31/12 – Died in Senate Rules committee. Encourages schools to include the number of visual and performing arts classes offered in the school district and at schools on the School Accountability Report Card.
AB 2462 Marty Block
(D-San Diego)
Veterans: Academic Credit 9/20/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Gives veterans community college credit for some prior military experience.
AB 2471 Ricardo Lara
(D-Bell Gardens)
College Textbooks 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations committee. Requires e-test publishers to provide pricing tiers, offer “cloud” storage, create refund policy, and provide digital rights management information.
AB 2478 Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) Veterans: Student residency requirements 9/20/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Exempts veterans who served on active duty in California for more than one year before discharge from paying nonresident tuition for up to one year.
AB 2537 V. Manuel Pérez
Zero Tolerance: Pupil expulsion or suspension 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Makes modest changes to current zero tolerance laws to clarify that in limited situations school administrators have additional discretion to determine whether alternative punishments should be taken in lieu of expulsion. Limits mandatory expulsion requirement to students in possession of a “toy” gun or over-the-counter medicines for personal use.
AB 2547 Bob Blumenfield
Homeless Youth 8/16/12 – Failed to make it out of Senate Appropriations committee. Establishes the statewide office of the Homeless Youth Advocate to coordinate state programs, services, and information for homeless youth.
AB 2591 Warren Furutani
Community Colleges 5/25/12 – Failed to make it out of Assembly Appropriations committee. Would require backfilling of community colleges if property tax revenues fall below budgeted expectations.
AB 2616 Wilmer Carter
Truancy and absenteeism 9/21/12 – Signed by Gov. Brown. Gives school administrators the discretion to address each individual student’s circumstances and provides a different approach when classifying students as truant.


John Fensterwald contributed to this article.

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  1. Paul Muench 11 years ago11 years ago

    Great summary!