SACRAMENTO, Calif. - When qualified teachers are not available, school districts across the state can hire teachers on emergency credentials who are not fully qualified.
Up until now, those teachers have been able to work for five years before they need to get their full qualification.
At its meeting in Sacramento on Friday, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing shortened that time span to three years.
"We've come a long way as a state in California, even 10 years ago we had 40,000 teachers in the state teaching without having completed their training," Public Advocates for Civil Rights spokesperson Tara Kini said. "Today, there are about 2,800 teachers in the state on an emergency permit, but that's too many for the students in the classrooms and we're fighting for the day when every child in California has a fully prepared teacher."
Proponents of the change said most of the impact is felt by students for whom English is a second language.
Among those addressing commissioners Friday were several area high school students.
"I have a lot of friends who are English language learners," Placer High School Senior Sarah Harker said. "I have friends who need extra help. As I've gone through high school, I've found that my friends who have dropped out or gotten a GED, the majority of them are the people who are learning English."
"It negatively affects these students," student Espi Gutierrez said. "There's a handful that have graduated, but there is a lot more that haven't."
Commissioners delayed a decision on whether to require recruitment documentation with each emergency permit application.
By Jonathan Mumm, firstname.lastname@example.org