Advertisement
  1. Gradebook

Florida lawmakers advance ‘do not hire’ list for ‘disqualified’ teachers

If approved, the rule would apply to public, private and charter schools.
Senate Education Committee chairman Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, speaks to reporters Feb. 21, 2019, in the Capitol about his chamber's education priorities for the upcoming session. [The Florida Channel]
Published Apr. 9

Too often in recent years, stories have emerged in Florida about substitute teachers performing bad acts.

A school district might terminate them, Sen. Manny Diaz observed, but because they aren’t certified, they aren’t tracked by the state. In some instances, they turn up working in nearby private or charter schools, Diaz said.

“They fall through the cracks,” he said.

On Tuesday, both the House and Senate advanced legislation to stem that activity.

Both the Senate Education Appropriations and House Education committees approved related bills (SB 1444 / HB 1127) to create lists of people disqualified from working in the state’s public, private and charter schools. They also would be ineligible to serve on a charter school governing board or operate a private school.

Schools would be required to deny employment to the people who appear on the disqualification lists.

The bills found widespread support from the spectrum of organizations ranging from the Foundation for Florida’s Future to the Florida PTA. Lawmakers had little to say about the measures other than to offer their votes in favor.

Both measures next head to their respective full chambers. They would need to be reconciled into identical language before the idea could be adopted by the Legislature and sent to the governor.

In other actions Tuesday, the two committees also advanced legislation to expand dual enrollment programs to include financial support for students in private high schools (HB 189 / SB 1342). Members contended that the access to the college courses should be available to all students, and not limited because the state only covers the costs for teens in public schools.

The Senate committee advanced a bill changing the definition of “high performing charter schools,” as well. SB 934 would, among other things, change the rules so that charters deemed high performing could expand their enrollment annually only to the level of their current capacity, and not the capacity “at the time the increase will take effect.”

That change would likely prevent charters from proposing large additions in advance of seeking to expand by large numbers.

The House does not have a companion bill. But it does have several charter school proposals in play. The charter provisions that ultimately land in the final versions remain unsettled.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. [SKIP O'ROURKE   | Times]
    It’s unclear if there will be any proposed changes to this method for measuring teachers’ impact on their students’ performance, despite complaints.
  2. A deputy's Sig Sauer P320, similar to this Glock 19, discharged in the cafeteria of a Wesley Chapel school April 30. The bullet lodged in the wall behind him. The deputy has been fired.
    Cpl. Jonathan Cross was lifting his pistol up and down out of its holster when it went off, Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
  3. Shirley Joseph is named superintendent of Madison County public schools. Madison County school district
    The previous superintendent resigned amid conflicts with the School Board.
  4. In this image from a Pinellas County school district video, former School Board member Lee Benjamin motions to someone he knows while sitting with family members during at 2013 ceremony to name the Northeast High School gymnasium in his honor. Mr. Benjamin was the school's first basketball coach in 1954 and later became Northeast's principal in a long career with Pinellas schools that included 14 years on the School Board. He died Wednesday at age 92. Pinellas County Schools
    A teacher, coach and principal at Northeast High, he rose to district administrator and served on the School Board. Mr. Benjamin died Wednesday at age 92.
  5. Hillsborough County School Board member Melissa Snively Times staff
    Board member Melissa Snively wanted to honor a community pioneer.
  6. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri chairs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which is preparing its second round of recommendations for lawmakers.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. Toby Johnson is the new principal of Martinez Middle School. MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    The School Board also suspended former Martinez principal Brent McBrien.
  8. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
  9. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The sides have not set a time to resume discussions on teacher pay.
  10. Census forms have to be printed soon. [AP photo by Michelle R. Smith]
    Citizenship controversy could be a psychological barrier.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement