Lawmaker seeks limits on types of info on student ID cards

A bill restricting the types of information included on student identification cards - including any reflection of a pupils' academic performance - is one of many curriculum bills lawmakers are expected to take up in the coming weeks.

Assemblyman Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana, authored AB 1166 in response to a practice implemented in the Anaheim Union High School District that required students to carry school ID cards and notebooks in one of three colors based on their performance on the previous year's California Standards Tests.

High-achieving students received black or gold cards that gave them special campus privileges and discounts at local businesses. White cards, held by low achievers, gave students no privileges and required them to use a separate, slower lunch line, according to the author's office.

While designed to encourage students to work harder, many students and parents called the program embarrassing and demoralizing. The schools have halted most elements of the programs, but have vowed to replace it with another program that incentivizes student performance.

Students learn every day and can achieve higher academic milestones at any time. To publicly categorize them for an entire year based on their test scores is just wrong," Solorio said in a statement. "AB 1166 will ensure schools understand these types of incentive programs compromise a student's privacy and are prohibited by law."

Solorio's bill would prohibit school districts from including any information about pupils' standardized tests scores or course grades on school identification cards or any other objects pupils are required to carry on his or her person at school. It would define "information" to include pupils' actual test scores or grades, the percentile or range into which those test scores or grades fall, or any symbol, color, logo, or other device to represent or convey any information about test scores or grades.

The bill passed out of the Assembly in January and is waiting to be heard by the Senate Education Committee.

Some other curriculum bills pending in the Legislature include:

- AB 1521, by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley D-Santa Monica, which would streamline California's public schools assessment system by eliminating several nonessential, end-of-course assessments, allowing teachers to provide students additional instructional hours.

- AB 2241 by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, which would establish the Transitioning Youth for Success Program to prioritize use of specified federal funds for neglected, delinquent, or at-risk pupils, to ensure they successfully transition from the juvenile facility to further schooling or employment and have a support system to ensure their continued education. Participating school districts and county offices of education would provide programs and services focused on the special needs of youth who are or have been confined to juvenile halls, juvenile homes, day centers, juvenile ranches, juvenile camps, regional youth educational facilities, and certain group homes.

- Brownley's AB 1246, which would expedite the instructional materials adoption process and give school districts and teachers the opportunity to participate in the review of materials. Under this measure, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and school districts, instead of a curriculum commission, would recommend instructional materials to the State Board of Education. AB 1246 would add requirements for review and adoption of instructional materials, including changing the submission cycles to eight years for all subject areas.

- AB 1756, by Assemblyman Stephen Knight, R-Antelope Valley, which would authorize school districts to elect not to provide a study of the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States, as required under an existing law effective January 1, 2012.

To view information on the many other pending curriculum bills, click here: more