Gonzalez’s Urgency Bill to Help Students Recover from COVID-19 Setbacks Heads to Governor’s Desk

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (Monday, June 21, 2021) – Today, Assembly Bill 104 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to provide families with a flexible menu of options that help K-12 students recover from lost instruction time during COVID-19 unanimously passed the Assembly with bipartisan support. The bill now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk, upon which he will have 12 days to sign, approve without signing, or veto the bill.
 
“Kids who struggled with distance learning during the pandemic shouldn’t be penalized for falling behind during such a difficult year,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) explained. “For some students in California, the next school year will begin as early as July. There’s more urgency than ever to ensure AB 104 becomes law so families can immediately make use of these options that can help get their children back on track for the next school year.”
 
Grade Retention

There is no existing process in place that allows parents to request or have a consultation regarding their child retaking a grade level. AB 104 will require school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to implement a temporary process for students to be able to retake their grade level, if they are not passing at least half of their courses.
 
Under the bill, a consultation must take place within 30 days of a written request from a parent to allow the parent, student, and student’s teacher to determine if it’s in the student’s best interest. A final decision must be issued within 10 days of the consultation.
 
"I really feel that this bill would be in students’ and parents’ best interest," said Heather Jensen, mother of a sixth grader. "The COVID situation was stressful for parents. It was stressful for students. It was a huge life change and they had to continue with school through that. I think it’s a good thing to have options like being able to retake a grade level so our kids can get the learning they need before they move onto another grade."
 
Pass/No Pass Grading Options
 
AB 104 would allow high school students enrolled during the 2020-21 school year to change their letter grades to a “Pass" or “No Pass” designation on their transcript, keeping their GPA from being negatively affected so they are not unfairly disadvantaged for college admissions and still have access to state financial aid for higher education. The bill requires CSU and requests that the UC and private colleges to accept transcripts with a “Pass” or “No Pass” designation.
 
Credit Recovery Options
 
Existing law does not require schools to provide credit recovery options to students who have fallen behind. For students who were enrolled in their 3rd or 4th year of high school during the pandemic, AB 104 would require schools to allow them to complete their high school graduation requirements, including an option to enroll in a 5th year of instruction to ensure students graduate with a high school diploma.

For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov