Busted. And exposed.
Coming soon to a computer near you: An online database that will allow parents to see whether education officials ever took disciplinary action against their kid's teacher. The Department of Education on Friday announced the still-developing website, www.myfloridateacher.com, and said it will be available for parents this fall. "School districts can already access disciplinary action against a teacher at any time and parents should have the same information," interim Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg said in a written statement. "The best way to protect students is through a transparent system of information." Teacher misconduct comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, it's criminal. (See Deborah LaFave). Sometimes it's just pathetic. (See Sharion Thurman). For more information about teacher misconduct, click here.
But parents, also keep this in mind: The vast majority of teacher discipline cases are handled at the local level, either by the principal or by the school board. Only some cases, and probably the most egregious cases – 3,744 of them last year - are referred to the state, which decides whether action should be taken against a teacher's license. So, if you really want to know whether your kid's teacher ever got into trouble, you really need to look to local officials. But districts don't seem to be in any hurry to put that information on-line, as the state has done. What do you think? Should districts post info about teacher misconduct on-line, so it’s just a click away?
- Ron Matus, state education reporter