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California state lawmakers adopted a measure intended to make it easier for districts to educate students during a Covid quarantine, along with a way for districts to get funding if they can prove they tried but failed to find the staff needed to meet their obligation.
The “Smarter Balanced” standardized tests in math and English language arts that California students will take in the spring to measure their academic progress will have fewer questions and take less time than the pre-Covid versions.
The Los Angeles Unified school board voted Thursday to require all students 12 and older be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by January, making it the largest public school district in the nation to mandate coronavirus vaccines for students.
High schoolers in California will be required to take an ethnic studies course in order to graduate, beginning in 2029-30.
Research released recently found that the benefits for San Francisco Unified students who took an ethnic studies course in ninth grade lasted throughout high school, resulting in higher attendance, higher graduation rates and increased enrollment in college, compared with similarly matched students who didn’t take the course.
Responding to districts’ complaints, the Newsom administration and legislative leaders are proposing revising requirements for educating and funding quarantined students through independent study this year.
Two key higher education bills were approved Thursday by California’s Senate Appropriations Committee: AB 1456 would make changes to the Cal Grant, the state’s main financial aid award, and AB 928 is meant to streamline the transfer process for community college students who intend to transfer to a CSU or UC.
State and federal health authorities have provided schools with detailed guidance on how to reopen safely in the fall.
During a visit to Los Angeles on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona encouraged schools in California and elsewhere to help students heal after a school year that many spent in isolation.