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Legislative finding   

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(a) The Legislature finds and declares the following:

(1) The family is our most fundamental social institution and the means by which we care for, prepare, and train our children to be productive members of society.

(2) Social research shows increasingly that the disintegration of the family is a major cause of increased welfare enrollment, child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, and criminal activity.

(3) The lack of knowledge of parenting skills and the lack of adequate preparation to assume parental responsibilities are not only major causes of family disintegration, but also contribute substantially to the disastrous consequences of teen pregnancy.

(4) Because the state government bears much of the economic and social burden associated with the disintegration of the family in California, the state has a legitimate and vital interest in adequately preparing its residents for parenthood.

(b) The Legislature recognizes that the public education system is the most efficient and effective means to educate the populace on a large-scale basis, and intends, therefore, to use the public education system to ensure that each California resident has an opportunity to acquire knowledge of parenting skills prior to becoming a parent. That knowledge should include, at a bare minimum, all of the following:

(1) Child development and growth.

(2) Effective parenting.

(3) Prevention of child abuse.

(4) Nutrition.

(5) Household finances and budgeting.

(6) Personal and family interaction and relations.

(7) Methods to promote self-esteem.

(8) Effective decisionmaking skills.

(9) Family and individual health.

(c) Commencing with the 1995-96 fiscal year, the adopted course of study for grade 7 or 8 shall include the equivalent content of a one- semester course in parenting skills and education. All pupils entering grade 7 on or after July 1, 1995, shall be offered that course or its equivalent content during grade 7 or 8, or both. On or before January 1, 1995, the State Department of Education shall supply, to each school district that includes a grade 7 or 8, a sample curriculum suitable either for implementation as a stand-alone one-semester course or for incorporation within identified existing required or optional courses, with content designed to develop a knowledge of topics including, but not limited to, all of the following:

(1) Child growth and development.

(2) Parental responsibilities.

(3) Household budgeting.

(4) Child abuse and neglect issues.

(5) Personal hygiene.

(6) Maintaining healthy relationships.

(7) Teen parenting issues.

(8) Self-esteem.

A district that implements the curriculum set forth in this subdivision in a stand-alone required course may exempt a pupil from the course if the pupil requests the exemption and satisfactorily demonstrates mastery of the course content. The district shall determine the method by which a pupil may demonstrate this mastery.

(d) Commencing with the 1993-94 fiscal year, community college districts may offer, to interested individuals, noncredit fee-supported courses in parenting skills and education as described in subdivision (c).

(e) This section is not intended to replace existing courses that accomplish the intent of this section. School districts may meet the requirements of this section with existing courses of study offered in any of grades 6 to 9, inclusive, that includes the course contents identified in subdivision (c). When the parenting skills and education curriculum is incorporated within courses other than consumer and home economics courses, these courses are not subject to the curricular standards specified in Section 2 of Chapter 775 of the Statutes of 1989 or in the consumer and home economics education model performance standards and framework. Teachers of courses other than consumer and home economics that incorporate parenting skills and education are not required to meet the qualifications specified for teachers of consumer and home economics.

(f) This section shall become operative only if a funding source is identified by the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the purposes of this section on or before January 1, 1995.

(g) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall identify the funding source for this section from existing resources or private resources, or both, that may be available for the purposes of this section. The superintendent shall notify school districts when sufficient funds have been identified and are allocated to cover all costs relating to the operation of this section.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 637, Sec. 1.)