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Assembly Bill 1078 – Prohibits The Governing Board Of A School District From Banning Or Refusing To Approve Textbooks Or Instructional Material That Study The Role And Contributions Of The Identified Protected Groups; And Revises Existing Law Related To Complaints Of Insufficient Textbooks Or Instructional Materials
AB 1078 was urgent legislation and became effective upon the Governor’s signature on September 25, 2023.
The Safe Place to Learn Act requires the State Department of Education to conduct regular monitoring a local education agency (LEA) to ensure it adopts, among other things, a policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on specified protected characteristics. Existing law requires the governing board of a school district to hold a hearing regarding the sufficiency of textbooks. Existing law also requires a school district to use its uniform complaint process to help identify and resolve any deficiencies related to instructional material and requires a complaint under this process to be filed with the principal of the school or their designee.
AB 1078 requires that an LEA include a statement that its policy applies to all acts of the governing board or body of the LEA, the superintendent of the school, and the county superintendent of schools in enacting policies and procedures. The bill requires the State Department of Education, no later than July 1, 2025, to develop guidance and public education materials to ensure that all Californians can access information about educational laws and policies that safeguard the right to an accurate and inclusive curriculum.
The bill also requires the governing board of a school district that makes a determination that it has insufficient textbooks or instructional materials via a resolution, to present a copy of the resolution to the county superintendent of schools no later than three business days after the governing board hearing.
AB 1078 amends existing law to revise the uniform complaint procedure to authorize a complaint that more than one pupil does not have sufficient textbooks or instructional materials as a result of an act or omission by the governing board of the school district, to be filed directly with the Superintendent. The bill authorizes the Superintendent to directly intervene without waiting for the school district’s principal or designee to investigate.
The bill also authorizes the Superintendent to take the necessary action to remedy the insufficiency of textbooks or instructional materials if, (1) it receives a resolution from the governing board of the district related to the insufficiency of textbooks and instructional material; (2) it receives a report of an unresolved complaint related to instructional material; or (3) a report related to a required audit provides an audit exception related to the inventory of equipment and use of instructional materials program funds. Any purchase of materials by the Superintendent shall be considered a loan, due and payable by the school district.
The bill revises the list of subject matters that must be included in social science instruction to include the role and contributions of people of all genders, Latino Americans, LGBTQ+ Americans, and members of other ethnic, cultural, religious, and socioeconomic status groups.
The bill requires the State Department of Education to provide, no later than July 1, 2025, guidance related to how to help school districts, county offices of education, charter schools (collectively LEAs), and school personnel manage conversations about race and gender, and how to review instructional materials to ensure that they represent diverse perspectives and are culturally relevant.
AB 1078 prohibits the governing board or body of an LEA from refusing to approve or prohibiting to use any textbook, instructional material, or other curriculum or any book or other resource in a school library on the basis that it includes a study of the role and contributions of any individual or group consistent with the above-described requirements relating to instruction in social sciences and the adoption of instructional materials that accurately portray the cultural and racial diversity of our society. The bill also prohibits the governing board of a school district or a county board of education from prohibiting the continued use of an appropriately adopted textbook, instructional materials or curriculum on the basis it contains inclusive and diverse perspectives.
(AB 1078 amends Sections 234.1, 1240, 35186, 51204.5, 51501, 60040, and 60119, adds sections 202, 242, 243, and 60040.5, and Article 8 (commencing with Section 60150) to Chapter 1 of Part 33 of Division 4 of Title 2 to the Education Code.)