(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the partnership academies program has proven to be a highly effective state-school-private sector partnership, providing combined academic and occupational training to high school pupils who present a high risk of dropping out of school, and motivating those pupils to stay in school and graduate. Partnership academies are functioning in high schools across the state, with occupational education and skills development successfully offered in California's 15 different industry sectors, including electronics, computer technology, finance, agribusiness, alternative energy, environmental design and construction, graphic arts and printing, international business, and space. Partnership academies have been honored with national awards for excellence, and the California partnership academies have been given high accolades in various textbooks and studies addressing career technical education programs.
(b) The Legislature finds the partnership academies are in the forefront of school efforts to integrate academic and career technical education and that they can be effective in providing an integrated learning program and high motivation toward pursuing skilled occupational fields to pupils at risk of dropping out of school and to pupils not motivated by the regular educational curriculum. Further, the Legislature finds the partnership academies can make a very positive contribution towards meeting the needs of the state for a highly skilled and educated workforce in the 21st century.
(c) Therefore, the Legislature hereby states its intent to expand the number of partnership academies in this state's high schools, hereafter to be known as California Partnership Academies; to broaden the availability of these learning experiences to interested pupils who do not meet the criteria of "at-risk" pupils; and to encourage the establishment of academies whose occupational fields address the needs of developing technologies.
(d) For purposes of this article, an "at-risk" pupil means a pupil enrolled in high school who is at risk of dropping out of school, as indicated by at least three of the following criteria:
(1) Past record of irregular attendance. For purposes of this section, "irregular attendance" means absence from school 20 percent or more of the school year.
(2) Past record of underachievement in which the pupil is at least one-third of a year behind the coursework for the respective grade level, or as demonstrated by credits achieved.
(3) Past record of low motivation or a disinterest in the regular school program.
(4) Disadvantaged economically.
(5) Scoring below basic or far below basic in mathematics or English language arts on the standardized test administered pursuant to Article 4 (commencing with Section 60640) of Chapter 5 of Part 33.
(6) Maintaining a grade point average of 2.2 or below, or the equivalent of a C minus.
(e) Up to one-half of the pupils enrolled at a partnership academy may be pupils who do not meet the criteria of "at-risk" pupils.
(f) The department may expend no more than 5 percent of the funds received to carry out this article on administrative expenses.
(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 650, Sec. 1. Operative on July 1, 2011, and shall be implemented commencing with the 2011-12 school year.)
Education Code 60640 et seq.