Just in time for the start of school, the state of Florida has launched an eye-opening Web site that enables parents to see the disciplinary records of their kids’ teachers. The site, called http://www.myfloridateacher.com, makes public a troubling secret in education: that the people who teach our kids and discipline them sometimes have a few demerits on their own permanent records.
The site was designed to be parent-friendly. Users can put a teacher’s last name--or a particular school district--into a search engine and within a few seconds get a list of the teachers who have been found guilty of misconduct--even crimes--and a description of the punishment meted out to them. Some of the infractions seem minor; one teacher in Miami-Dade was convicted of submitting a cribbed essay as part of a licensing exam. (He was handed two years’ probation, a $250 fine, and required to retake the test.) Others suggest more serious problems: one teacher in Hernando County was convicted of disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon and intoxication. The punishment? A letter of reprimand and a $250 fine.
This is something that should be in EVERY State, bookmarked on library computers, and parents encouraged to check it.