Thursday, January 26, 2012
What the Hell Is the Tennessee State Board of Education Doing?
First they came for the teachers. See below:
Tennessee State Board of Education Agenda January 27, 2012 Final Reading Item: IV. G.
License Denial, Suspension, and Revocation Procedure Policy
Pursuant to State Board of Education Rule 0520-2-4-.01(9)(b) the State Board of Education may revoke, suspend or refuse to issue or renew a license for several reasons listed in the rule.
Currently under the policy, there is no option for the State Board to issue a public reprimand for a license holder who engages in conduct which may not rise to the level of a suspension, but should be discouraged nonetheless. Amending the policy to include public reprimand as an option would ensure that those instances of misconduct are not only recorded with the State Board of Education, but are also reported to the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Clearinghouse.
The Master Plan Connection:
This item supports the Board’s Master Plan principles of effective school leaders and effective teachers by ensuring that varying levels of misconduct will be actionable.
The SBE staff recommends adoption of this item on final reading.
Procedure for License Denial, Public Reprimand, Suspension & Revocation
Board Rule 0520-2-4-.01(9) governs denial, public reprimand, suspension and revocation of a Tennessee teaching license. Reporting and recording of action taken on licenses is coordinated with the Department of Education’s Office of Teacher Licensing and local education agencies.
Below is a general outline of the procedure followed in cases of possible license denial, public reprimand, suspension or revocation. Requests for restoration of suspended or revoked licenses are handled in accordance with Board Policy 5.500, License Restoration Requests.
Board Rule 0520-2-4-.01(9)(e) requires superintendents to report to the Office of Teacher Licensing whenever a teacher or administrator is “suspended or dismissed, or [has] resigned, following allegations of conduct which, if substantiated, would warrant consideration for license suspension or revocation under” the rule. Superintendents are also required to report “felony convictions of licensed teachers or administrators.” These reports must be submitted “within thirty (30) days of the suspension, dismissal or resignation” or “within 30 days of receiving knowledge of the [felony] conviction.”
After receiving a report, the following procedure should be followed:
For Automatic Revocation
1. The Office of Teacher Licensing (OTL) flags the individual’s file (license or license application) on a database available to Tennessee LEAs. Before hiring new teachers, LEAs should check the potential employee’s license status on this database to determine the reason for the flag.
2. The OTL creates a file with the superintendent’s report and the teacher’s license information to Board counsel.
3. Board counsel obtains a certified copy of the criminal record showing the conviction for one of the offenses at T.C.A. § 40-35-501(i)(2) or 39-17-417 (including conviction on a plea of guilty or nolo contendere).
4. Following receipt of the certified record, Board counsel informs the individual that his/her teaching license is subject to automatic revocation at the next Board meeting. Notification is sent at least 30 days prior to the Board meeting at which the revocation is scheduled to occur.
For Denial, Public Reprimand, Suspension or Revocation
1. The Office of Teacher Licensing (OTL) flags the license file on a database available to Tennessee LEAs. Before hiring new teachers, LEAs should check the potential employee’s license status on this database to determine the reason for the flag.
2. The OTL prepares a file with the application materials or the superintendent’s report and transmits the file to Board counsel.
3. If another proceeding could affect the decision by the Board, Board counsel may wait for:
a. The conclusion of any LEA investigation and/or termination proceeding or
b. Entry of a final order in any criminal or civil proceeding (including DCS findings) related to the events giving rise to the report.
4. A three person panel of Board staff reviews the file to determine whether disciplinary action (denial, public reprimand, suspension or revocation) should be pursued, or if additional investigation is necessary. This panel consists of the executive or deputy executive director, counsel to the Board, and at least one other staff member.
a. If the panel decides not to investigate further or pursue disciplinary action, counsel to the Board directs the OTL to unflag the file.
b. If the panel recommends that the Board impose disciplinary action, then
5. Board counsel then notifies the individual of the Board’s intent and the individual’s right to a hearing. Counsel may also include a proposed agreed order.
a. If the individual waives the right to a hearing, Board counsel submits the proposed disciplinary action to the Board for roll-call vote at its next meeting. Counsel includes a proposed order for the Board to approve.
b. If the individual requests a hearing, then Board counsel schedules a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Secretary of State’s office, sitting on behalf of the Board.
6. Board or ALJ action:
a. No disciplinary action:
i. If the Board votes not to impose discipline, Board counsel informs the individual of the decision and directs the OTL to unflag the file.
ii. If the ALJ, sitting on behalf of the Board, finds that suspension or revocation is not warranted, Board counsel directs the OTL to unflag the file. The Board may, however, appeal the ALJ’s decision at its discretion.
b. If the Board votes to impose discipline, counsel sends a copy of the order (signed by the Chair) to the individual, and copies the OTL.
c. OTL records the disciplinary action and the grounds on the national clearinghouse (NASDTEC).
NOTE: Suspended licenses are subject to expiration.
A visual representation of the procedure is included as an attachment to this policy.