Private heritage schools, which educate children in the language and culture of foreign countries, are being asked to register with the California Department of Education to comply with a new state law.
“We want to get the word out,” said Jane Ross, an education programs consultant with the department. “It’s still relatively new.”
Ross said only 164 schools out of a few thousand statewide registered in 2011, the first year they were asked to do so.
Heritage schools are usually private after-school or weekend programs that offer school-age children lessons about the language, traditions or history of a country other than the United States.
These schools were formerly licensed as day care centers, but that process was costly and burdensome, Ross said. The new law requires only that the schools pay a $250 registration fee and comply with certain health and safety regulations.
The department does not have any authority to force schools to comply, but Ross said the registry, which will be publicly available, will be a resource for parents looking for a reputable school.