As 2020 dawns, it is clear that California is continuing its descent into the political crapper.

There are a spate of new laws on the books, one of which promises to make the dreadful public school situation worse.

For example, a new rule will prohibit public schools from suspending students for disobeying teachers.

Starting next school year, it will be illegal for public schools in the state to suspend students in first through fifth grade for willfully defying teachers or administrators.

Then, from 2021 through 2025, it will be temporarily extended to kids in grades six through eight.

Supporters say suspensions for willful defiance are disproportionately used against students of color.

As a delightful bonus, new California rules are controlling charter school options as well.

After months of negotiations and heated debate, new rules are coming for California’s sector of publicly-funded, independently-operated charter schools. All charter teachers will be required to hold a state teaching credential, and local school boards have broader discretion in approving or denying charters, though charters can still appeal to counties and the state.

Charter schools also will be required to follow the same open-meeting laws as school districts under a proposal that was among the first bills Newsom signed as governor. And a loophole will close that had allowed so-called “far-flung charters” to operate far from the often-tiny school districts that had authorized — and were being paid to oversee — them.

Additionally, the California Department of Education is now required to create resources that schools could use to train credentialed teachers and staff on how to support LGBTQ students.

Teachers would not be required to undergo specific training under one of the law’s amendments, but the text AB 493 nonetheless would “encourage” schools to use these resources to train teachers every two years.

Supporters of the law, who include State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, have said it is significant because LGBTQ students experience higher rates of bullying, harassment and discipline that can lead to negative academic outcomes. Though AB 493 is among several recently passed bills aimed toward improving inclusivity among California’s public schools, a recent report noted that local school districts have been inconsistently implementing these laws.

This is just a selection of the hundreds of new rules going into effect in a few days, which will place more controls on the population while failing to address any of the myriad public health problems, educational system failures, crime, and homelessness that continue to plague California.


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