Now that you know who your child's teacher is, you might want to find out more about him or her. There's word of mouth — that's always good. One mom I know always looks at whether other teachers' kids are in her child's class as a gauge of whether that teacher is a good one.
The state now offers something more.
Beginning this week (perhaps as early as today), the Department of Education is launching myfloridateacher.com, a Web site where you will be able to look up teacher discipline actions going back as far as January 2007. Admittedly, it's not as far back as you might like. It is, however, a first step toward assuring the public that the state is trying to prevent the ages old "pass the trash" practice. You know, that's where one district "counsels" a bad teacher out, but never tells the next district hiring that teacher exactly why.
The Web site also posts agendas for the Education Practices Commission, which hears teacher discipline cases that make it to the state level; gives easy access to certification information; and tells you how to report cases, too. To read the DOE press release on the site, click here.
Beyond this, the department also plans to ask the Legislature to change the law, and to improve funding, so it can take action quicker and analyze data more efficiently. To see the action plan approved by the State Board of Education, click here.
Of course, most disciplinary matters don't make it to the state level. So if you've got concerns, call your local school district and ask to see your teacher's personnel file(s). They are public record, though open investigations are not.