School service will be expelled or at least reduced at CVHS in the next school year. Assembly Bill 1012 aims to ensure that all high school students are put into academic classes. This is a response to some California school districts placing students into non-academic courses like school service; some families have sued their districts for depriving their students of educational opportunities.
As a result, school officials expect school service to have new requirements and fewer students in the future.
Teacher assistants (TAs) at CVHS do a variety of jobs that range from running passes from the office to helping out in the library and bookroom. Most students enroll in the course in order to fill up holes in their schedule. Many consider school service a “free period,” meaning an instruction-free class.
There are 400 students currently enrolled in school service at CVHS and 73 students signed up for next year. The number of TAs increases over the course of the year due to students dropping other classes. There are few academic semester courses offered at CVHS to accommodate these students.
Because of AB 1012, every TA position has to have educational value. The bill allows exceptions, such as the 36 TAs needed at the office, the three to four for special education, and four library helpers.
CVHS librarian Kathy Clarke says her TAs put in consistent work that keeps the library running. “Our students are never just sitting around,” she said.
Clarke said many of her TAs go on to study library science or work in book stores. The library wouldn’t be the organized establishment that it is without TAs. Signing up to help in the library will now be listed as a separate class as to avoid it falling under AB 1012.
“I don’t know what’d we would do without our students,” Clarke affirms.
Counselor Susan Elliott makes an effort to recommend academic courses to her students. She believes that TAs are “not being utilized to their fullest potential.” She claims that, for the most part, students sign up for school service to avoid academic work.
“Public high school is your last chance for free education. Try something new, learn something new,” Elliott suggested.