New procedures developed on AZ teacher records

Posted at 12:17 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 14:17:56-05

The new executive director of the State Board of Education says Arizona officials have developed new procedures so teacher certification records are timely and accurate after it was revealed that numerous cases of teacher-misconduct discipline either weren't entered in databases since 2010 or contained errors.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that the record-keeping mess allowed databases, in many cases, to indicate teachers' certificates were still valid, even though they had been revoked, suspended or surrendered.

A teaching certificate in good standing indicates a person has passed all criminal background checks.

The board's executive director, Karol Schmidt, said on Dec. 16 that the errors in the records of 79 other disciplined teachers since 2010 have been corrected. Two of the cases have been turned over to the Attorney General's Office, which declined to reveal details about them.

The problem also cost the job of the board's chief investigator, Charles Easaw, who resigned Dec. 15, and has given Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas political and legal ammunition in her nearly year-long power struggle with the board.

Board investigators haven't reported discipline information into state or national databases in 79 of 230 cases of teacher misconduct since 2010.

Schmidt said investigators are going to begin checking for errors in reporting before 2010.

Officials say no public schools have reported inadvertently hiring anyone whose records were incorrect.

The problem came to light when an assistant attorney general who represents the board was doing research on discipline data. The department's certification unit looked at a larger span of time after the attorney brought it their attention.

The investigators for years have been struggling with a backlog, which was in excess of 600 cases in 2011.