So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

New CA law ensures public school students aren't charged illegal fees

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A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this weekend ensures that public school students are not being charged illegal fees to participate in educational activities.

A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this weekend will help ensure that public school districts don't charge students illegal fees to participate in educational activities.

The American Civil Liberties Union of California and the law firm Morrison & Foerster announced Monday that in response to the new law they will dismiss their class action lawsuit, Doe vs. State of California, filed two years ago. The suit alleged that the imposition of such fees violated the California Constitution, which has provided for "free school" since 1879.

AB 1575, authored by Democratic state Assemblyman Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, requires the California Department of Education to provide guidance and updates on the "free schools guarantee" to superintendents and administrators every three years starting in 2014.

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Bills in California Legislature aim to address school discipline

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California State Assembly.

Several bills are being heard by the state Legislature in Sacramento this week that aim to address problems with school discipline.

These include AB 2242, which seeks to reduce out-of-school suspensions for students under the category of "willful defiance," an often very subjective classification that includes behavior such as failing to bring materials to class, not paying attention or talking back. The bill would limit the use of such suspensions and instead have students sent to an in-school supervised suspension classroom.

More than 40 percent of suspensions in California are given out for "willful defiance," said Laura Faer, education rights director for the nonprofit Public Counsel. And because it is so subjective, it often has a much greater impact on students of color. A report released today by UCLA's The Civil Rights Project found that a black male student with disabilities was most likely to be suspended from the classroom in California compared to other students.

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Calif. Republican politicos to introduce legislation to reform teacher dismissal process

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California State Capitol in Sacramento

Republicans in the state Senate and Assembly plan to introduce legislation Tuesday aimed at reforming the teacher dismissal process in response to the sex-abuse scandal that has rocked L.A. Unified over the last months.

The officials plan to announce their plans hours before the L.A. Unified school board votes on two resolutions that aim to beef up the employee discipline process, one of which calls on the legislature to make changes to the state's Education Code on how it deals with credentialed employee dismissals.

"State law has hamstrung school administrators from firing teachers when misconduct crimes occur," said the release from Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, of Diamond Bar, and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wrote Gov. Jerry Brown a letter dated Feb. 29 urging him to revise portions of the teacher dismissal laws to make it easier to fire teachers. He said that an average dismissal proceeding costs the district $300,000.

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