BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


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                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 544
          Author:   Coto (D), et al
          Amended:  5/13/09 in Assembly
          Vote:     21

           SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE  :  8-0, 7/1/09
          AYES:  Romero, Huff, Alquist, Liu, Maldonado, Padilla,  
            Simitian, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Hancock

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  76-0, 5/28/09 (Consent) - See last page  
            for vote

           SUBJECT :    Teaching credential:  American Indian languages

           SOURCE  :     Author

           DIGEST  :    This bill requires the Commission on Teacher  
          Credentialing to issue an American Indian language  
          credential for a two-year period, upon recommendation of  
          the tribal government of a federally recognized Indian  
          tribes in California.

           ANALYSIS  :    The federal Native American Languages Act of  
          1990 allows exceptions to teacher certification  
          requirements for instruction in Native American languages  
          when these requirements hinder the employment of qualified  
          teachers who teach in Native American languages.  These  


                                                                AB 544

          exceptions apply to federally funded programs.  Federal law  
          also encourages state and territorial governments to make  
          similar exceptions.

          This bill:

          1.Requires an applicant for the American Indian languages  
            credential to meet the following requirements:

             A.    Demonstrate fluency in the tribe's language based  
                on assessment developed and administered by the  

             B.    Successfully complete a criminal background check  
                for credentialing purposes.

             C.    Submit an application, fee, and recommendation for  
                the credential to the CTC through the federally  
                recognized Indian tribe.

          2.Requires the American Indian languages credential to  
            authorize the holder to teach the American Indian  
            language for which the credential was issued in public  
            preschools and schools in grades K-12, including adult  
            education courses.

          3.Prohibits a holder of an American Indian languages  
            credential who does not have a valid California teaching  
            credential to teach any subject other than the American  
            Indian language for which he or she is credentialed.

          4.Authorizes the holder of an American Indian language  
            credential, upon completion of the two-year period, to be  
            eligible for a clear teaching credential (full  
            credential) for that language, as specified.

          5.Encourages each federally recognized American Indian  
            tribe to develop a written and oral assessment that an  
            applicant should successfully complete prior to being  
            recommended by the tribe for an American Indian languages  

          6.Requires a tribe that recommends a candidate for the  
            American Indian language credential to develop and  


                                                                AB 544

            administer a technical assistance program, as specified.

          According to A Compilation of Federal and State Education  
          Laws regarding Native Language in Curriculum and  
          Certification of Teachers of Native Languages, at least 16  
          states have developed policies to allow Native American  
          language teachers to teach in public schools.  Twelve of  
          these states involve tribes either directly or indirectly,  
          in the process of certifying, licensing, or endorsing the  
          teachers of Native Languages for services in the state  
          public schools.  This bill is consistent with this approach  
          in that the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)  
          issues an American Indian languages credential, upon  
          recommendation of the tribal government.

          There are 107 federally recognized American Indian tribes  
          in California.  Tribal languages differ greatly throughout  
          the state in grammatical and linguistic structure and  
          cultural content.  The author's office asserts that  
          California has not adequately implemented a process for the  
          CTC to issue teacher certification for instruction in  
          Native American Languages to comply with federal law.

          According to the CTC, it received a request from a school  
          district in the Humboldt area to address the needs of  
          teachers of three local Native American languages (Yurok,  
          Karuk, and Hoopa) who need to establish their subject  
          matter competency for both credentialing and federal law  
          purposes.  Other states such as Idaho, New Mexico, and  
          Washington have recognized the unique situation of Native  
          American language groups by modifying their credentialing  
          assessment requirements to better meet the needs of  
          candidates from these language and cultural groups.  At its  
          April 2008 meeting, the CTC approved alternative assessment  
          options for less commonly taught languages for which no  
          approved subject matter programs exist and for which there  
          is no examination.  This action included an option for  
          American Indian languages that includes an assessment  
          process entirely locally developed and administered by  
          approved assessor agencies/organizations, including tribal  
          governments.  Candidates who pass this alternative  
          assessment are deemed to have met the subject matter  
          competency requirement by examination for the particular  
          Native American language.  This bill is consistent with the  


                                                                AB 544

          CTC's action with regard to the alternative assessment for  
          Native American languages.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  7/20/09)

          Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
          California Association of Tribal Governments
          California Tribal Business Alliance
          Commission on Teacher Credentialing
          Elk Valley Rancheria
          Inter-Tribal Council of California
          Ione Band of Miwok Indians
          Karuk Tribe
          Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District
          Lytton Band of Pomo Indians
          Morongo Band of Mission Indians
          Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians
          Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians of California
          San Manual Band of Serrano Mission Indians
          Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations
          Tubatulabals of Kern Valley
          Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians
          Winnemem Wintu Tribe

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 
          AYES:  Adams, Ammiano, Anderson, Arambula, Beall, Bill  
            Berryhill, Tom Berryhill, Blakeslee, Block, Blumenfield,  
            Brownley, Buchanan, Caballero, Charles Calderon, Carter,  
            Chesbro, Conway, Cook, Coto, Davis, De La Torre, De Leon,  
            DeVore, Emmerson, Eng, Feuer, Fletcher, Fong, Fuentes,  
            Fuller, Furutani, Gaines, Galgiani, Garrick, Gilmore,  
            Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Hayashi, Hernandez, Hill, Huber,  
            Huffman, Jeffries, Jones, Knight, Krekorian, Lieu, Logue,  
            Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma, Miller, Monning, Nava, Niello,  
            Nielsen, John A. Perez, V. Manuel Perez, Portantino,  
            Price, Ruskin, Salas, Saldana, Silva, Skinner, Smyth,  
            Solorio, Audra Strickland, Swanson, Torlakson, Torres,  
            Torrico, Tran, Villines, Yamada, Bass
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Duvall, Evans, Mendoza, Nestande


                                                                AB 544

          DLW:cm  8/17/09   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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