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Charter Schools FAQ Section 5

Questions and answers regarding charter schools staffing issues.

Charter School Staffing

Responses to these frequently asked questions are advisory only. Charter schools and charter authorizers are encouraged to review the actual laws and regulations that provide the basis for these responses and consult with their own legal counsel regarding the application of any of these issues to a specific situation.


Q.1. What qualifications are required of charter school teachers?

California Education Code (EC) Section 47605(l) External link opens in new window or tab. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=edc&group=47001-48000&file=47605-47608] states that teachers in charter schools are required to hold a Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to that which a teacher in other public schools would be required to hold. EC Section 47605(l) External link opens in new window or tab. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=edc&group=47001-48000&file=47605-47608] also states that it is the intent of the Legislature that charter schools be given flexibility with regard to noncore, non-college preparatory courses. Currently, this flexibility is not extended to countywide benefit charter schools approved under EC Section 47605.6. External link opens in new window or tab. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=edc&group=47001-48000&file=47605-47608]

Administrators and non-teaching staff in a charter school are not required to be credentialed.

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Q.2. What is a “highly qualified teacher” according to the NCLB Act, and how does this requirement affect charter school teachers?

The NCLB Act  applies to teachers employed by public schools, and requires that all public school teachers be highly qualified. Under the NCLB Act, a highly qualified teacher:

  1. Holds appropriate state certification.
  2. Holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
  3. Has demonstrated subject area competence in each of the academic subjects in which the teacher is assigned to teach.

NCLB defers to state law for credentialing requirements. EC Section 47605(l) External link opens in new window or tab. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=edc&group=47001-48000&file=47605-47608] requires charter school teachers to hold a Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to that which a teacher in other public schools would be required to hold. However, this law also states that it is the intent of the Legislature that charter schools be given flexibility with regard to noncore, non-college preparatory courses (although this flexibility is not currently extended to countywide benefit charter schools approved under EC Section 47605.6) External link opens in new window or tab. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=edc&group=47001-48000&file=47605-47608]. Teachers of core and college preparatory courses must hold a valid credential equivalent to that which would be required of a teacher in a non-charter public school.

Therefore, for core, and college preparatory courses, the credentialing requirements are the same for charter school and traditional public school teachers.

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Q.3. Which subjects are considered “core” academic subjects and how does this affect teacher credential requirements?

The NCLB Act  defines core academic subjects as English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.

The NCLB defers to state law regarding credentialing requirements. Because California law does not explicitly define core subjects for credentialing purposes, the California Department of Education recommends that charter schools and their charter authorizing entity specify which subjects and courses are considered by the charter school to be core and college preparatory.

California EC Section 47605(l) External link opens in new window or tab. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=edc&group=47001-48000&file=47605-47608] requires that charter schools maintain records regarding teacher credentialing certificates, permits, or other documents equivalent to that which teachers in other public schools are required to hold. These documents are subject to periodic inspection by the charter authorizing entity.

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Q.4. Do teachers assigned to English learners providing core content instruction in charter schools need supplemental certification and authorization to teach English learners?

Yes. Teachers providing core instruction to an English learner must possess the same credentials as required in all California public schools, grades kindergarten through twelve.

Further information on English learner certification and authorizations External link opens in new window or tab. [http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/CREDS/english-learners.html] can be found on the Commission for Teacher Credentialing Web site.

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Questions: Charter School Staff | charters@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-6029 
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