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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco teacher accused of FCAT lapses to get hearing before School Board



Migdalia Mojica, a teacher at Pasco County's Irvin Education Center, was recommended for a 10-day unpaid suspension over problems she had in monitoring this spring's FCAT exam for two students.

She challenged superintendent Heather Fiorentino's version of events, and said she handled the misbehaving students as best as she could, given the circumstances. She planned to appeal her suspension to the School Board.

But when it came time in July to schedule a hearing, district officials suggested she had missed the legal window of opportunity to file a formal appeal. They proposed moving ahead with the suspension as planned.

Board attorney Dennis Alfonso stepped into the mix, though, and suggested that since Mojica had conveyed her desire to appeal directly to board members via e-mail (instead of to the employee relations department as directed in letters), perhaps the board should hear the case out of an abundance of caution.

The board is following his advice, and has scheduled Mojica's hearing for Aug. 21, immediately after its regular meeting. There's only an hour set aside on the district calendar, but the feisty Mojica has promised to wage a vigorous defense of her actions that could provide lively (if not longer) action. 

At the heart of the matter is what Mojica should have done to get help while also trying to control students who showed little interest in taking the FCAT. She used e-mail to call for help, for which she's been criticized, and recorded testing room goings on to demonstrate her efforts. Using recording devices in the FCAT testing room is strictly forbidden by the state for students and staff. 

It will be up to the board to decide if she deserves the proposed punishment. What do you think?

[Last modified: Thursday, August 9, 2012 3:13pm]


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