There are now more than 1.3 million California students labeled as English Language Learners. This means that one out of six students in the state speak little or no English.
And approximately one out of four students come from non-English speaking homes.
To address this, the state has mandated that by late January, all teachers receive their Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development, or CLAD, certification.
Teachers not certified will by law not be able to teach in a classroom where an ELL student is enrolled.
“Out here, this means every teacher has to be certified. There’s no such thing as a class with no ELL students anymore,” said Victorville teacher Patti Jones.
In theory, the certification classes prepare teachers to effectively deal with cultural and linguistic diversity in the classroom that will allow them to teach ELL students successfully.
As January approaches, many districts find themselves in a quagmire as to what to do with their non-certified teaching staff.
A teacher within the Victor Valley Union High School District said there are some 300 teachers who will not be certified by the deadline.
Most districts have paid for their staff to receive this certification by attending CLAD classes offered at community colleges and state universities.