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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
November 15, 2018

Dear County and District Superintendents and Direct-Funded Charter School Administrators:

Assembly Bill 2735: English Learner Participation in Standard Instructional Program

On September 7, 2018, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 2735 (O’Donnell et al.), Chapter 304, Statutes of 2018, into law, thereby adding Section 60811.8 to the California Education Code (EC). This letter provides information on the implementation of EC Section 60811.8 in districts that have at least one English learner.

Effective July 1, 2019, and commencing with the 2019–2020 school year, no middle school or high school pupil classified as an English learner may be denied participation in the standard instructional program of a school by being precluded from any of the following:

  1. Enrollment in courses that are part of the standard instructional program;
    • Per EC Section 60811.8, a standard instructional program includes, at a minimum, core curriculum courses, courses required to meet state and local graduation requirements, and courses required for middle school grade promotion.

  2. Enrollment in a full course load as part of the standard instructional program; and
  3. Enrollment in courses that are not part of a school’s standard instructional program and either meet the subject matter requirements for purposes of recognition for college admission (“a–g”) or are advanced courses (AP) on the sole basis of a pupil’s classification as an English learner.
    • These courses required for college admission are commonly referred to as the “a–g” subject requirements, and the advanced courses are commonly known as Advanced Placement (AP) courses as well as International Baccalaureat

This new statute does not require schools to create extra courses in languages other than English. Provided that the pupil’s course of study is designed to remedy any academic deficits incurred while learning English and allow the pupil to attain meaningful and equitable participation in the standard instructional program within a reasonable length of time after entering the school system, the following pupils may be denied access to enrollment in a standard instructional program:

  • A middle school or high school pupil classified as an English learner and has recently arrived in the United States, as defined in Section 1111(b)(3)(A) of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
  • A middle school or high school pupil classified as an English learner and participating in a program designed to meet the academic and transitional needs of immigrants with a primary objective of English learner proficiency development.

But this shall not be construed to prohibit, restrict, or discourage the enrollment of any pupil in a standard instructional program. All local educational agencies are encouraged to review their current enrollment practices to assess compliance with EC Section 60811.8. For more information regarding legislation affecting English learners, please visit the California Department of Education English Learner Legislation web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/t3/elleg.asp.

If you have questions regarding coursework and high school graduation requirements, please contact Peter Callas, Education Administrator, High School Innovations and Initiatives Office, by phone at 916-319-0669 or by email at pcallas@cde.ca.gov.

If you have questions regarding English learner programs and services, please contact Theresa Hawk, Education Administrator, Technical Assistance and Monitoring Office, by phone at 916-319-0950 or by email at thawk@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tom Torlakson

TT:sc
2018-06275
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 17, 2021

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