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New Laws Affecting Youth and Education in 2012

The California Dream Act and new birthday admission requirements for kindergartners and first graders take effect this year.

California Dream Act of 2011

Assembly Bill AB 130 (Cedillo), or the as it’s more commonly known, exempts California nonresidents who qualify for the AB 540 tuition waiver from paying nonresidential tuition at the University of California, California State University, and California Community College institutions.

Traditionally, students who qualify for AB 540 are those without legal immigration status or U.S citizenship documentation. The accompanying bill AB 131 (Cedillo) expands the state-administered student financial aid that is available for these students. Acquiring federally issued financial aid is currently prohibited for AB 540 waiver students, while state-issued financial aid is also limited.

Despite the controversial act, the Dream Act is set to go into effect this year.

 “…These persons also have demonstrated a strong commitment to and investment in California personally, economically, and intellectually,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a press statement. “Because these students will undoubtedly reinvest their education into California, it is important that our institutions of higher education support their endeavors."

Kindergarten Readiness Act

SB 1381 is part of Torlakson’s Blueprint for Great Schools Initiative, which focuses on preparing students from. The measure changes the required birthday admission to kindergarten and first grade

Previously, children would enter kindergarten if they were 5 years old on or before December 2. Children entering first grade must turn 6 years old on or before December 2.

Under the new act, the dates for both grades will be moved up to November 1.

The act is set to go into effect for the 2012-2013 school year.

Common Core State Standards

AB 124 (Fuentes), AB 250 (Brownley), and SB 140 (Lowenthal) will take effect to help initiate the , a state-led effort to develop a set of standards for mathematics, English-language arts and literacy from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Child Safety Seat Law

New laws will change the ages of children who are required to use a c. Under previous law, children under the age of six or under 60 pounds were required to be in a child safety seat.

Under SB 929 (Evans) , the age was raised to eight years old. Children under eight must be properly buckled into a car seat or booster seat in the back seat. Still, children over the age of eight who are not tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly must be secured in a booster seat.

For each child under the age of 16 who is not properly secured, parents (if in the car) or the driver can be fined a minimum of $475.

For more information about car seats in determining if your child still needs a booster seat, visit California Department of Public Health’s Web site

- From the California Department of Education

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