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New Laws Reach Into State’s Classrooms

About 750 new state laws impacting everything from child car seats to tanning salons go into effect January 1st.

— As Californians ring in 2012, nearly 750 new laws will also take effect, including some of this year’s most hotly debated education laws.

The set of laws called the California Dream Act will extend in-state tuition at public colleges and universities to undocumented students who attended California high schools for at least three years. They also allow those students to apply for state financial aid.

California’s youngest learners will also be impacted by new laws. Transitional kindergarten will start this year for kids who haven’t turned five by the first day of school.

When school is back in session next week teachers will also be required to include materials in their lessons that discuss the accomplishments of Pacific Islanders, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans and people with disabilities.

The curriculum for nonnative English speakers will also get an overhaul. The changes are one step toward preparing to adopt the Common Core State Standards. The standards are national, voluntary curriculum guidelines developed by state superintendents of education and governors and have been adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

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