The California Education Code entitles employees to a hearing regarding their dismissal should they request it. The third district court of appeal has also ruled that once a school district employee requests a hearing to contest his/her dismissal, the school district cannot simply “dismiss” the case to avoid an award of attorney’s fees.
Sometimes when teachers do what others do, they can get into trouble simply because they are teachers. A case from San Diego highlights this very problem. In San Diego Unified School District v. Commission on Professional Competence, the court held that a teacher’s act of posting lewd photos and advertising for sex on Craigslist constituted “immoral conduct” and made the teacher “unfit” to continue working in the San Diego school district.
California teachers who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) often ask us about their reporting responsibilities to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). The short answer is that a teacher who is already certificated does not necessarily have to report a DUI conviction at the time it is entered on the record, but a bit of background is helpful.
We have handled many suspension cases over the years and it is amazing how often the procedure goes wrong. In a typical situation, a senior administrator (sometimes the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent) sends a notice to a teacher or principal informing them that they will be suspended without pay within 10 days. In some cases, the letter will offer a “hearing” of some sort.
When Congress passed the “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB, 20 USC §§ 6301, et seq.) the aim was to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged children. As part of the effort, the statute provides funding for, and permits flexibility in, staffing poorly performing schools. However, while the statute allows alternate certification procedures for qualified teachers, it nevertheless mandates that all teachers assigned per the NCLB be “fully certified” by state authorities.
Education is a hot button topic in America. One of the great challenges is placing highly qualified teachers in the classroom – especially in classrooms serving underprivileged students. One attempt to bridge the achievement gap between rich and poor (and between different ethnic groups) is the so-called “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB, 20 U.S.C. Sections 6301, et seq.). Under the NCLB, core subjects must be taught by “highly qualified” teachers. Individual states are free to adopt innovative certification programs to assure that level of competence in the classroom.