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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida education department proposes new definitions for teacher dismissal criteria

13

April

Florida lawmakers set the ball in motion in adopting Senate Bill 736 last year. But where the Legislature set basic categories for suspending or dismissing teachers for "just cause," the State Board of Education gets to define what they mean.

That language goes to the State Board at its May 10 meeting in Tampa. And it's got some new details that might just set off some shock waves. Take, for instance, the recommended definition of "inefficiency" under the rule, which appears in today's Administrative Weekly (Section II, pages 1502-1504):

(a) “Inefficiency” means one or more of the following:
1. Failure to perform duties prescribed by law;
2. Failure to communicate appropriately with and relate to students;
3. Failure to communicate appropriately with and relate to colleagues, administrators, subordinates, or parents;
4. Disorganization of his or her classroom to such an extent that the health, safety or welfare of the students is diminished; or
5. Excessive absences or tardiness.

There's plenty of room for debate as to what those terms mean. The department might give more guidance after the State Board adopts the rule, or it might just leave it to districts to decide. But then, that could lead to widely varying standards among districts, while lawmakers clearly sought conformity.

The State Board is supposed to conduct a public hearing before adopting the rule. What will you tell the members? Read on for the full proposal.

6A-5.056 Criteria for Suspension and Dismissal.

The bases for charges upon which dismissal action against specified school personnel may be pursued are set forth in Sections 1012.33 and 1012.335, Florida Statutes. The basis for each of such charges is hereby defined:

(1) “Immorality” means conduct that is inconsistent with the standards of public conscience and good morals. It is conduct that brings the individual concerned or the education profession into public disgrace or disrespect and impairs the individual’s service in the community.

(2) “Misconduct in Office” means one or more of the following:

(a) A violation of the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida as adopted in Rule 6B-1.001, F.A.C.;

(b) A violation of the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida as adopted in Rule 6B-1.006, F.A.C.;

(c) A violation of the adopted school board rules;

(d) Behavior that disrupts the student’s learning environment; or

(e) Behavior that reduces the teacher’s ability or his or her colleagues’ ability to effectively perform duties.

(3) “Incompetency” means the inability, failure or lack of fitness to discharge the required duty as a result of inefficiency or incapacity.

(a) “Inefficiency” means one or more of the following:

1. Failure to perform duties prescribed by law;

2. Failure to communicate appropriately with and relate to students;

3. Failure to communicate appropriately with and relate to colleagues, administrators, subordinates, or parents;

4. Disorganization of his or her classroom to such an extent that the health, safety or welfare of the students is diminished; or

5. Excessive absences or tardiness.

(b) “Incapacity” means one or more of the following:

1. Lack of emotional stability;

2. Lack of adequate physical ability;

3. Lack of general educational background; or

4. Lack of adequate command of his or her area of specialization.

(4) “Gross insubordination” means the intentional refusal to obey a direct order, reasonable in nature, and given by and with proper authority; misfeasance, or malfeasance as to involve failure in the performance of the required duties.

(5) “Willful neglect of duty” means intentional or reckless failure to carry out required duties.

(6) “Drunkenness” applies only to persons who hold a contract issued on or before July 1, 1984, and means:

(a) That condition which exists when an individual publicly is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs to such an extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired; or

(b) Conviction on the charge related to drunkenness by a court of law.

(7) Unsatisfactory or ineffective performance evaluation ratings as defined in Section 1012.33(1)(a), Florida Statutes.

(8) “Crimes involving moral turpitude” means offenses listed in Section 1012.315, Florida Statutes, and the following crimes:

(a) Section 775.085, Florida Statutes, relating to evidencing prejudice while committing offense, if reclassified as a felony.

(b) Section 782.051, Florida Statutes, relating to attempted felony murder.

(c) Section 782.09(1), Florida Statutes, relating to killing of unborn quick child by injury to mother.

(d) Section 787.06, Florida Statutes, relating to human trafficking.

(e) Section 790.166, Florida Statutes, relating to weapons of mass destruction.

(f) Section 838.015, Florida Statutes, relating to bribery.

(g) Section 847.0135, Florida Statutes, relating to computer pornography and/or traveling to meet a minor.

(h) Section 859.01, Florida Statutes, relating to poisoning of food or water.

(i) Section 876.32, Florida Statutes, relating to treason.

(j) An out-of-state offense, federal offense or an offense in another nation, which, if committed in this state, constitutes an offense prohibited under Section 1012.315(6), Florida Statutes.

[Last modified: Friday, April 13, 2012 12:15pm]

    

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