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Key Lawmakers Target Teachers Behaving Badly

January 3rd, 2008 by flanews

A new year has lawmakers turning a closer eye on teachers behaving badly. The Department of Education investigated more than 4,000 complaints last year, ranging from testing fraud to drug abuse and sexual misconduct. But as Chris Casquejo tells us, what happened after the investigations leaves a lot to be desired.

Hear it here: Key Lawmakers Target Teachers Behaving Badly

View Here: Teachers Behaving Badly

Last school year, more than 4,000 teachers in Florida were investigated for misconduct, but just 300 disciplinary actions show up on a state website. The numbers do little to comfort parents

“Anything that’s inappropriate with a child should be taken care of,” said Shelley Gandy. “They should be barred by the school board where they should not be able to teach again.”

Key lawmakers say the days of quietly firing a bad teacher are over.

A Senate study on teacher misconduct found that some Florida school districts don’t even do background checks. It also found that districts don’t have to report whether a teacher has been fired for misconduct.

The Florida School Boards Association says changes long overdue.

“I think it’s obvious we need a better reporting system so that every district knows what’s going on,” said Wayne Blanton, executive director of the association.

The state can take away a teacher’s license for just seven reasons, including immoral acts and serious criminal charges. Lawmakers say the standards are too vague to be meaningful. Look for them to force schools to tighten the standards. The Department of Education says it is already doing what it can.

“We’re going to look into those things,” said Marian Lambeth of the DOE. “And within the confines of the current law and statutes, pursue those to the degree we can.”

280,000 people hold teaching certificates in Florida.

Lawmakers will take up the issue of teacher misconduct next week. You can log on to www.myfloridateacher.com and click on “search disciplinary actions” to search by name or county for disciplinary reports.

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