When a teacher wishes to challenge a Committee of Credentials discipline recommendation, he or she is entitled to a hearing before the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The hearing is conducted under the California Administrative Procedures Act, which provides substantial due-process protections before a credential can be subject to discipline or an application for a credential or certificate can be denied.
Before the hearing
The commission will file and mail or serve the teacher with an accusation or a statement of issues setting forth the allegations it contends warrant license discipline. The teacher must file a request for a hearing and a notice of defense within a very short time after receiving the accusation. It is critical that all teachers keep a current address on file with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Failure to maintain a current address with the commission can result in the teacher not receiving the accusation or statement of issues, which could result in a default proceeding and the teaching credential being revoked. Not keeping the commission notified of a current address can also be a cause for discipline.
The commission will refer the matter to the Office of Administrative Hearings, and an administrative law judge will conduct the hearing. The Attorney General of the State of California will represent the commission in the matter. A prehearing conference or settlement conference may be scheduled prior to the hearing.
During the hearing
During administrative hearings, teachers are entitled to cross-examine witnesses, to call and examine witnesses, and to present evidence in their defense. Some hearsay evidence may be allowed, but only evidence admissible in a court of law can be used to support any allegation or fact essential to justify disciplinary action.
After the hearing
The administrative law judge prepares a proposed written decision with detailed findings of fact, along with a dismissal of the case or proposed disciplinary order. The commission will review the decision and determine whether to adopt the decision, which usually happens. The commission may reject the decision and decide the case based upon the transcripts and copies of the exhibits received in evidence at the hearing. If the commission rejects the proposed decision, the teacher is given an opportunity to be heard before the commission makes its decision.
If the teacher wishes to challenge the commission’s decision, he or she may do so by filing a writ, which is essentially an appeal, in a Superior Court.