Interns, Pre-Interns and Emergency Permit Teachers
March 5, 2004
TO: All Clients
FROM: Peter C. Carton, Schools Legal Service
RE: Interns, Pre-Interns and Emergency Permit Teachers;
Precautionary March 15 Notices;
Recommended Form of Board Resolution
The Traditional Approach
Schools Legal Service has always recommended that teachers holding teaching authorizations less than a preliminary credential should be employed on annual contracts with definite termination dates built into the text. The employer routinely issues a letter around mid-February thanking the teacher for his/her service, along with a reminder that their contract provides for expiration of employment no later than June 30. The advice applies whether or not the employer has also called these teachers ”temporary.”
Our recommended annual contract procedures for true temporary replacement teachers and categorical teachers follow a similar track, although those teachers hold qualifying credentials.
A. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and ”Highly Qualified” Standard
With the advent of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), public school employers have an additional responsibility and incentive to make sure that teaching staff meets a still-unclear ”highly qualified” standard. Right now, NCLB does not recognize as qualified any emergency, pre-intern or waiver teacher. Interns may or may not be qualified for NCLB Title I funding purposes, even though they do not yet hold a preliminary or clear credential.
B. Court Challenges to the Use of the Term ”Temporary” for Non-qualified Teachers
Since 2001, a number of appellate court cases have considered the claims to heightened status by holders of emergency permits, waivers or internship certificates. None of the reported cases involved a written employment contract such as we have been recommending. A case currently pending trial asks the courts to examine whether a holder of an emergency permit is entitled to something more than a notice letter regarding expiration of employment. In other words, should he/she get “more” notice such as a layoff or nonreelection process?
Under the circumstances, we are now recommending that all of our clients consider adopting a resolution prior to March 15 which does the following:
1. Endorses the NCLB concept of “highly qualified” teacher and declares a need to upgrade to that standard in this district.
2. Finds that anything less than a preliminary credential does not meet the District’s standards for continuing employment with this employer.
3. Directs the Superintendent to give timely notice of nonreelection to each person serving in a certificated position who does not hold at least a preliminary authorization. That group includes, but is not limited to, (i) emergency permit/credentials, (ii) university or district interns, (iii) pre-interns, and (iv) waivers.
For this purpose, we enclose a copy of the recommended resolution. Contact us for sample notice letters confirming both contractual end of employment and nonreelection. (The statutory nonreelection process does not apply to most Districts with less than 250 A.D.A. Please contact us for modified resolutions and notice forms.)
Please feel free to call us as questions come up. We would appreciate your comments along with copies of your board-adopted resolution.
BEFORE THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
____________ SCHOOL DISTRICT
In re: )
Establishing minimum qualifications for ) Resolution No. _____
eligibility for continuing certificated employment ) ______________________________________)
1. For the current school year, this District has been unable to locate and recruit suitable fully qualified teachers for a number of positions.
2. Consequently, the District has filled a number of certificated positions with staff working solely under one or more of the following listed authorizations issued through the State Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Those authorizations are of less quality than a preliminary or professional clear credential. Those authorizations are:
- Emergency “permit/credentials,” for which the permission for use automatically expires each June 30 pursuant to Title 5 California Code of Regulations §88026.
- Temporary County Certificates
- Internship authorizations, whether under a university or district-sponsored program
3. The District endorses the goals of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and its efforts to encourage school districts to improve teacher qualifications and standards. At this time, NCLB does not recognize emergency authorizations, waivers or temporary county certificates as meeting a highly qualified standard. Further, staff reports that NCLB’s treatment of internship programs nationwide is inconsistent and not definitive as to qualification.
4. Accordingly, in an effort to raise standards for teachers in this District, and to assure that no person becomes a candidate for advancement to permanent status until he/she possesses a preliminary or better credential, the Board now resolves as follows.
A. Recitals. The above recitals are true and correct.
B. Standards Established. In order to facilitate recruitment efforts for qualified teachers, the Board takes the following action, effective immediately.
(1) We endorse the NCLB concept of ”highly qualified” teacher and declare a need to upgrade certificated staff to that standard in this District.
(2) We find and declare that for this District anything less than a preliminary credential does not meet standards for purposes of continuing employment with this District.
C. Nonreelection Notices. We further direct the Superintendent to give timely notice of nonreelection to each person serving in a position requiring a credential who does not hold at least a preliminary authorization. That group includes, but is not limited to, (i) emergency permit/credentials, (ii) university or district interns, (iii) pre-interns, and (iv) waivers.
[Details of Adoption, vote, etc.]