In a move clearly intended to require greater supervision of Teach for America teachers, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing tightened the rules about the training and supervision of interns.

At hearings, civil rights groups argued that it was unfair to put poorly trained interns in charge of students with high-needs, especially English-language learners and students with disabilities. Supporters of TFA argued the other side, claiming that the rules were simply bureaucratic hurdles. The “reformers,” in other words, demanded lower standards for those who teach the neediest children.

This excerpt from the article shows the two sides at their best:

“For us, it’s a fundamental issue of equity and a constitutional right to equal educational resources,” said Tiffany Mok of the American Civil Liberties Union of California. The daughter of immigrants from Hong Kong, Mok teared up as she told the commission her parents always believed she should have the same opportunities as everyone else.

“But a powerful coalition of school boards, administrators, charter operators, reform advocates — and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy — had signed a letter to the commission arguing that state law explicitly allows interns to teach students with limited English and that they should be allowed to continue to do so. Placing more state regulations over them would create needless burdens, they argued.

“This is bureaucracy at its best,” said Jessica Garcia-Kohl of Rocketship Education, a charter-school chain based in San Jose.”