California update

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Ruling on a mettlesome lawsuit bought before the California courts by Californians for Justice (CFJ), a judge has voided the credentials of 4,000 of California's teachers who were teaching under "Individualized Internship" certificates (IIC). In ruling for the plaintiffs, Judge James L. Warren did not take issue with the merits of the individual permits, but said that "the credentialing commission failed to follow the state's procedure in distributing them." Apparently the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) skipped the required period for public comment when developing the certificate.

The ruling might seem to indicate that these 4,000 teachers would have to start all over to get both certified and highly qualified, much to CFJ's satisfaction. Not so, however. For one thing, apparently about half of the 4,000 teachers involved have already gotten standard certification in the meantime--proving that they were not just "warm bodies" that the state snuck in to fill its classrooms. Second, the state has developed another certificate for the remaining IIC folks who still lack standard certification, the "special temporary certificate."

As we reported earlier, these teachers clearly met the criteria for HQT status according to federal law, as they had met the state's subject matter knowledge requirements and were on track to full certification. The suit's outcome--a "conviction on a technicality"--would seem to reflect the lawsuit's relative lack of substance. It's good that these folks won't be stripped of their positions, since most of them are math and special education teachers--also known as precious commodities.

In other Cali news, as already widely reported, on November 8 California voters turned down Schwarzenegger's two ed reform initiatives that would have extended the probationary period for new teachers to five years and given school administrators more power to dismiss low-performing teachers. President Reg Weaver offered these stirring words in response to the victory: "Today, I thank California voters for recognizing and for rejecting these measures that would have hurt our children and our public schools."