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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Senate OKs ethics law, high school grade changes



Gaetznew The Senate just approved two laws sponsored by former Okaloosa schools superintendent Don Gaetz (left), Republican senator from the Panhandle.

The Ethics in Education Act (SB 1712) tightens the standards for hiring, screening and disciplining educators in cases of misconduct. No one convicted of sexual crimes such as voyeurism or enticing a child could teach. Schools and districts could not enter confidentiality agreements aimed at quietly dismissing educators involved in unethical activities. And any educator convicted of an offense against a child would lose pension retirement benefits. School districts also would have to report even suspicions of misconduct, and could see superintendents or school board members lose their salaries for a year if they fail to do so.

"We need professional, ethical standards across the state," said Sen. Lisa Carlton. "With this bill, we've brought together the best policies from various districts to create consistency."

Another bill (SB 1908) would change the way high schools are graded, so that students' FCAT performance accounts for just half the grade. The rest would depend on a school's graduation rate; students' SAT and ACT performance; participation and success in advanced placement, IB and industry certification courses; and performance on end of course exams.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:38am]


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