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Legislative findings and intent   

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(a) The Legislature finds that as the state's population of schoolage children continues to change and grow more diverse in its racial, ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic background, and that as no group's characteristics, experience, or background represents the majority experience of California's pupil population, efforts to restructure public education in California must fundamentally enable schools and educators to better meet the needs of, and ensure educational equity for, a diverse pupil population.

(b) It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to support and encourage restructuring in California public education in order to improve pupil learning.

(c) The Legislature further finds and declares that pupils learn best when school personnel and school structure are responsive to their individual characteristics and strengths, and when the school establishes an atmosphere of high expectations for all pupils, regardless of sex, racial, ethnic, linguistic, or socioeconomic background. All advice and communication to pupils and their parents should be designed and delivered to communicate these attitudes.

(d) The Legislature finds that education restructuring involves shifting from the current system of accountability, which is based upon rules, to a system of accountability based upon performance. Education restructuring therefore involves a revision in school governance and management procedures in order to enable professional educators to respond appropriately to pupil requirements, with the central goal of improving learning for all California public school pupils.

(e) It is the intent of the Legislature to initiate a demonstration of education restructuring in participating elementary, high school, and unified school districts, to the end that school districts will do all of the following for schools included in the application:

(1) Specify achievement outcomes for all pupils in core competencies including, but not limited to, communication skills and knowledge, problem solving techniques, abstract reasoning, teamwork, and entry level, job-related skills and, in particular, for pupils performing below their potential, strive to accelerate their achievement beyond the overall rates of pupil improvement and achievement.

(2) Work with local schools to reach an agreed upon definition of educational quality.

(3) Set clear goals for achieving educational quality.

(4) Provide schools with the flexibility to meet those goals.

(5) Offer high quality technical assistance and support to local schools consistent with agreed upon goals.

(6) Hold local schools accountable for pupil and staff performance based, at a minimum, upon measurable pupil behaviors and knowledge.

(f) The Legislature further finds that increased decisionmaking authority for educators at local schools corresponds with increased accountability for results, particularly for pupil achievement.

(g) It is the intent of the Legislature that the demonstration of education restructuring test the feasibility of fundamental changes in the governance and management of public schooling over a five-year period, by allowing school districts and schools to develop and adapt instructional strategies that prove to be highly successful in improving both pupil achievement and pupil, parent, and staff satisfaction with schooling.

(h) The Legislature intends to foster, by the Demonstration of Restructuring in Public Education, improved education for California's pupils by assisting educators to do an of the following:

(1) Foster self-esteem and a sense of belonging in all pupils by assisting every pupil to meet rigorous academic standards and relating the educational process and instructional strategies to diverse pupil needs in today's complex society.

(2) Motivate and inspire California's pupils to become capable, responsible citizens in a multicultural democracy.

(3) Be sensitive to the diversity of pupil needs, learning styles, talents, and levels of development.

(i) The Legislature encourages the business community to become a full partner in the efforts to restructure California's public education and to offer its resources, including time, expertise and skills, leadership and financial assistance to further this demonstration of restructuring in public education.

(j) The Legislature finds that existing laws and regulations governing public schools often serve as a hindrance to meaningful, long-lasting educational reform. It is the intent of the Legislature to create a demonstration program that does not result in rules and regulations governing school programs or in paperwork and reports for school and school district personnel. It is the further intent of the Legislature that participating school districts retain maximum flexibility and freedom from state regulation in designing and implementing the demonstration program. The Legislature encourages program participants to utilize their ability to seek waivers of the Education Code and state regulations to allow them to design the most effective demonstration of restructuring.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1556, Sec. 1.)