After reviewing the FAQ below, if you did not find the answer to your question, you can contact DPP by e-mail: DPPInfo@ctc.ca.gov. Walk-in services are not available.

Discipline Process Overview

What is the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Committee on Credentials and the Division of Professional Practices?

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing ensures excellence in education by establishing high standards for the preparation and licensing of public school educators. The Committee of Credentials is a disciplinary review committee created by statute and appointed by the Commission. The Committee evaluates the moral character and fitness of all persons who wish to teach or perform certified services in the public schools. The Committee reviews allegations of misconduct against credential holders and applicants. If the Committee finds that probable cause exists for adverse action against a credential holder or applicant, it recommends an appropriate adverse action to the Commission.

The Committee is comprised of seven members appointed by the Commission for two-year terms. Membership includes an elementary teacher, a secondary teacher, one school board member, a school administrator, and three public representatives. The Committee meets 4 days each month at the Commission's offices in Sacramento.

The Division of Professional Practices supports the disciplinary work of the Commission and the Committee of Credentials.

Who can the Commission investigate and how does the Commission find out about misconduct that may have been committed by an educator or an applicant?

The Commission may begin a disciplinary review after receiving:
  • Official records from the Department of Justice, any law enforcement agency, any state or federal court, a California state agency, or another state agency.

  • An affidavit signed by a person with personal knowledge of the alleged misconduct.

  • A notification from an employer, usually a school district, that a credential holder, as a result of or while allegations of misconduct were pending, was:

    • dismissed
    • nonreelected
    • suspended for more than ten days,
    • placed pursuant to a final employment adverse action on unpaid administrative leave for more than 10 days, resigned, or otherwise left employment.

  • A notice from an employer that a complaint was filed with the school district alleging sexual misconduct by a credential holder.

  • A notice from a school district, employer, public agency or testing administrator regarding failure to fulfill an employment contract, explicit recruitment of students as customers for the credential holder's business, report of false expenditure data on the conduct of an educational program, or subversion of any licensing examination.

  • An application with a "yes" answer to a professional fitness question. Personal fitness questions are related to convictions, employment discipline, adverse actions or denials of any license and pending investigations by law enforcement agencies, licensing agencies, or employers.

The Commission may also begin an investigation if a credential holder fails to disclose a conviction, adverse action or denial of any license or pending investigation of any criminal allegation or pending investigation of any noncriminal allegation of misconduct by a governmental licensing agency.

Will the Commission automatically deny or revoke credentials for some offenses?

Yes, the law prohibits the Commission from issuing any credential to and requires the Commission to revoke a credential already issued to a person:
  • who has been convicted of any sex offense defined under Education Code Section 44010

  • who has been convicted of any narcotics offense defined under Education Code Section 44011

  • who has been convicted of any crime listed in Education Code section 44424, or

  • who has been found to be insane by a federal or state court

  • who has been judicially determined to be a mentally disordered sex offender under the law.

What kind of disciplinary actions can the Commission take and what do they mean?

The Commission can take the following actions:
  • Private admonition. A private admonition is a written warning to the credential holder that any repetition of such act or omission may result in denial, suspension, or revocation of the credential. At the time of the admonition, the credential holder's employer receives a copy of the admonition, otherwise the admonition remains confidential. The Commission and employers must expunge all records pertaining to the private admonition after three years, as long the offense does not reoccur.

  • Public reproval. A public reproval is a public warning from the Commission that the conduct is not appropriate for a credential holder. Commission of the same or similar misconduct may result in a more serious adverse action.

  • Suspension. Suspension is the temporary inactivation of a credential for a specified period. If a suspension is imposed, the credential holder may not work in a position requiring a credential during the period of the suspension.

  • Revocation. Revocation is the termination of an individual's ability to work in a position requiring certification. Once effective, the revocation continues unless and until the Commission reinstates the person.

  • Denial of an application.

Who is notified when an adverse action is imposed?

All adverse actions except private admonitions are published in a document titled the "All Points Bulletin," which is sent to all California school districts, county offices of education, private schools, deans of education and other interested parties as authorized by law.

What does the Committee consider when it reviews an allegation of misconduct?

When reviewing allegations of misconduct, the Commission and the Committee consider the nature and severity of the offense, its relationship to teaching, the recency of the acts or crimes, compliance with court sanctions, and any evidence of rehabilitation.

The burden of proof lies with the applicant to demonstrate documented evidence of rehabilitation. Examples of such rehabilitative evidence include:
  • A recent, dated letter from the applicant describing rehabilitative efforts or changes made to prevent future problems

  • Letters on official letterhead from professional counselors, instructors, employers, probation or parole officers, especially persons with knowledge of the alleged misconduct

  • Letters from recognized recovery programs and/or counselors attesting to current sobriety and length of time of sobriety, if there is a history of alcohol or drug abuse

  • Proof of community work, schooling, or other self-improvement efforts

  • Certified court orders expunging the criminal record, such as a reduction from felony to misdemeanor, or certificate of rehabilitation and/or pardon

  • Current mental status examination by a clinical psychologist, including psychological testing, if applicable

Which laws and regulations govern teacher discipline and misconduct?

Generally, the Education Code beginning with Section 44000 governs the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and teacher discipline, and misconduct is governed by the Education Code, beginning with Section 44240. The Education Code is available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html and the 2007 Laws and Rules Manual Pertaining to the Discipline of Professional Certificated Personnel is available by clicking here [PDF].

If a credential is revoked, is it permanent?

Someone who has his or her credential revoked may apply for reinstatement, one year after the effective date of the revocation. The matter is then considered by the Commission.

Can a credential holder serve in another state if the Commission has imposed discipline?

The teacher licensing agency in the other state makes that decision.

For Certificated Personnel Under Investigation By The Commission

Should I hire a lawyer?

A lawyer is not required in any proceeding before the Committee or the Commission.

Should I provide letters of recommendation to the Committee?

Letters of recommendation may be provided for the Committee and the Commission to consider. The letters should be from responsible persons, including but not limited to, supervisors, colleagues and employers who are familiar with the alleged misconduct being reviewed. Letters of reference or recommendation should be written on identifying letterhead.

Do I have due process?

You will have an opportunity to explain your side of the story and, if the Committee conducts a formal review of your case, you may appear before the Committee. If you are dissatisfied with the Committee's recommendation, you can request an administrative hearing.

The Commission sent me a letter asking for court documents and police records. What should I do?

Contact the police department where you were arrested or detained and request a certified copy of the arrest report. If the records are not available or police department will not provide them to you, ask for a letter from the police department to that effect. Also, contact the court that heard your case and request a certified copy of the court documents, including all charging, plea, and sentencing documents.

Please include a copy of the Pre-sentencing Probation Report, if available.

When may I appear before the Committee on Credentials?

Commission staff will send you a letter stating when the Committee on Credential will review your case. The Committee on Credentials meets monthly in Sacramento. You are not required to appear. A majority of cases are reviewed by the Committee on the basis of written materials that have been submitted.

What do I have to disclose?

On every application you submit to the Commission, you are required to make known the following:

Criminal convictions for misdemeanors and felonies, including convictions that have been:
  • dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, and

  • disclosed to the Commission on previous applications.

Licensing agency inquiries and investigations, including all:

  • inquiries made by the Commission and other licensing agencies, and

  • adverse actions imposed by the Commission and other licensing agencies.

School employment separations due to allegations of misconduct, including all dismissals, non-reelections, retirements, resignations, and suspensions for more than ten days without pay.

You must disclose all relevant information on every application you submit to the Commission, even if you disclosed the same information on an earlier application.

You are required to disclose all criminal convictions (misdemeanors and felonies). A court order pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4(a) states that the order does not relieve the person of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office or for licensure by any state or local agency.

You must disclose a conviction no matter how much time has passed, even if the case has been dismissed pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4. A plea of nolo contendere (no contest) to a criminal charge results in a conviction which must be disclosed.

Warning: Failure to report a conviction or disciplinary action by a state licensing agency is considered falsification of your application and could lead to criminal prosecution, denial of your application, and/or adverse action on other credentials you currently hold.

Why is it taking so long to review my application?

California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 80443, sets a maximum processing time of 50 working days for completed applications. However, applications delayed by a Commission appeal, Division of Professional Practices review, or fingerprint card processing are not subject to the 50-day restriction.

How can I find out the status of my review?

To request a status check on the review of an application for allegations of misconduct in the Division of Professional Practices, you can contact DPP by e-mail: DPPInfo@ctc.ca.gov.

What documents should I submit if I have been convicted of a crime?

For every conviction, applicants must submit:
  • certified documents from the court, showing plea and sentencing
  • arrest report from the law enforcement agency (usually a police or Sheriff's department) and,
  • an explanation of the incident that lead to the arrest. Click to download an explanation form. [MS Word]

Filing a Complaint Against Certificated Personnel

My child's teacher is not a very good teacher, what should do?

The quality of a credential holder's service is most often an employment issue. Contact the credential holder's employer if you have concerns about a credential holder.

How do I file a complaint?

If you have first-hand personal knowledge of the misconduct, you can file a complaint by completing and signing a Confidential Complaint Information form and an affidavit. The Confidential Complaint Information forms and affidavits must be signed by the complainant and can not be anonymous.

The forms can be found on the Public Complaints page.

What happens if I file a complaint?

Commission staff will review the complaint and the affidavit and determine the appropriate action. 

Can I get information about a complaint under investigation?

No. Information regarding our investigations is confidential. Only the final decision of the Commission is public.

How long does an investigation take and when will I hear about the outcome?

Investigations may be lengthy and involved because the Commission may have to gather information from school districts and law enforcement agencies, allow the credential holder or applicant an opportunity to respond, and review the matter at one or more meetings. Generally, the process takes several months.

Contracts

Can the Commission take disciplinary action against a credential holder who does not fulfill his or her contract?

Yes, the Commission can take an adverse action against a credential holder who refuses, without good cause, to fulfill a valid contract of employment with the school district or leaves the service of the district without the permission of the superintendent of the school district or the governing board of the school district, except in the manner provided by law.

What kind of action will the Commission take against a credential holder who abandons their contract?

The law specifies that the Commission may not suspend the credential for more than one year or revoke the credential. The Commission can issue a private admonition, a public reproval or suspend the credential for less than one year.

Applicants

Does the Commission run a criminal history check on applicants?

Yes, every applicant for a credential must be fingerprinted. The applicant's fingerprints are compared to the records maintained by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Justice.

The Commission sent me a letter asking for court documents and police records. What should I do?

Contact the police department where you were arrested or detained and request a certified copy of the arrest report. If the records are not available or police department will not provide them to you, ask for a letter from the police department to that effect. Also, contact the court that heard your case and request a certified copy of the court documents, including all charging, plea, and sentencing documents.

Please include a copy of the Pre-sentencing Probation Report, if available.

What does the Commission consider when deciding whether to grant a credential to someone with a criminal history?

If the conviction is not on the list of convictions that require the Commission to deny the application, the Commission will consider how long ago the misconduct occurred, any prior record of misconduct, references, rehabilitation, and other factors.

Fingerprinting and Criminal History Records

How do I challenge my FBI record?

The CJIS Division of the FBI is not the source of the data appearing on identification records. All data is obtained from fingerprint submissions or related identification forms submitted to the FBI by local, state, and federal agencies. As a result, the responsibility for authentication and correction of such data rests upon the contributing agency (i.e., police department, county court, etc.). Please contact this agency or the central repository in the state where the arrest occurred to request a change, correction, or update. The FBI is not authorized to modify the record without written notification from the appropriate criminal justice agency.

How do I challenge my DOJ record?

If you feel the information contained within your criminal history record is incorrect, you may submit a formal challenge to the Department of Justice only after you have received a copy of your record from the Department pursuant to California Penal Code sections 11120 - 11127. Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information (BCII) form 8706, "Claim of Inaccuracy or Incompleteness" will be mailed to you along with your record. Submit form 8706 and any supporting documentation to the Department of Justice to the address provided on the form. The challenge will be reviewed and a written response will be provided along with an amended copy of your criminal history record if appropriate.

For more information on character and identification clearance click here.

Researching A Teacher's Record Of Misconduct

How can I found out if a credential holder has been disciplined?

To search for a public school teacher's credential, click the lookup button on our home page. It will indicate whether the credential has ever been revoked or is currently suspended.

Revocation

How do I request that my credential or authorization be revoked?

Whenever the holder of any credential issued by the State Board of Education or the Commission on Teacher Credentialing requests in writing that the credential held by him or her be revoked, the Commission shall revoke such credential.

Pursuant to Education Code Section 44423, a credential holder may request that one or more of his or her credentials be revoked. Keep in mind that a dependent credential must have a valid prerequisite credential. For example, the holder of a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Learning Handicapped Specialist Instruction Credential may not request the revocation of the Multiple Subject Credential without also losing the Learning Handicapped Specialist Instruction Credential because the Learning Handicapped Specialist Instruction Credential can not stand alone.

It is also possible to request that one or more subjects or authorized fields be removed from a credential if the credential can stand alone without the subject or authorized field. For example, the holder of a Single Subject Teaching Credential with an authorized field of Social Science and supplementary authorizations in Introductory English, Drama, and Auto Mechanics may request revocation of any or all of the supplementary authorizations, but may not request revocation of the authorized field without losing the entire document. Standard Secondary Teaching Credentials with majors in Agricultural Science, Business Education, Dance, Health Science, Home Economics, Industrial Arts, Military Science, and Physical Education require one academic minor unless the word "Academic" was typed after the major; therefore, the academic minor can not be revoked without the entire document being revoked.

To request the revocation of one or more credentials, the holder must submit a letter addressed to the Division of Professional Practices requesting the voluntary revocation and the original credential document(s). To remove a subject or authorized field from a credential, the holder (not the employer, as we must have the holder's signature that he or she is making the request) must submit a letter requesting the voluntary revocation, the original credential document, and an application form and current fee so that a new document, minus the revoked subject or field, may be prepared if the request is approved. These requests are forwarded to the Commission. Once the Commission has acted on the request, the Executive Director notifies the applicant of the Commission's decision. If the request was for the removal of a subject or authorized field, the new document will be issued effective 30 days after the date of the Commission action. If the credential from which a subject or authorized field was removed was valid for life, the new document will also be valid for life.

Reinstatement

How do I request that my credential or authorization be reinstated after voluntary revocation?

After voluntary revocation of a credential or a subject from a credential, an individual must wait one year from the effective date of the revocation of the credential to request a reinstatement. An application, current fee, and a letter requesting the reinstatement must be submitted to the Commission for each document to be reinstated. If the individual has had all of his or her credentials revoked, a Livescan receipt must accompany the application. These requests for reinstatement are reviewed by the Commission and a determination is made regarding reinstatement. After Commission action, the applicant is notified of the decision. The reinstated document is issued effective 30 days after the date of the Commission action. The Commission may reinstate a subject or authorized field to a life credential, but can not reinstate a life credential if the entire credential was revoked. Such a credential will be reissued as a clear document. The Commission can not include grades 13 and 14 on a reinstated credential because the Commission no longer has the authority to issue credentials with these grades (except on renewals).

Web Messages

What does "Pending Additional Evaluation" status on the website mean?

For status of an application showing "Pending Additional Evaluation" on the website, you can contact us by e-mail DPPInfo@ctc.ca.gov. Please allow 2 to 5 days for a response. This time frame will be based on the number of e-mails received.
Updated March 31, 2017