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Fort Lauderdale Education Law Blog

Teacher fired after giving students zeros on homework

When we think about grade disputes, we often think about students who are unhappy with a teacher's grading decisions. However, there can also be conflicts when teachers are unhappy with a school's policies on grading.

In many cases, schools or districts will prevail in these situations, as long as their policies are lawful and evenly enforced. Though, this does not mean certain decisions are beyond scrutiny.

Could artificial intelligence put a stop to bullying?

Bullying is one of the most pervasive issues students and teachers face in school today. And whether it is physical, emotional or digital, bullying behaviors have the potential create long-lasting scars for victims.

While schools and districts may adopt policies and programs to curb bullying, the fact is that it can be harder than ever to stop. This is because much of today's bullying occurs digitally or online. However, the answer to stopping modern bullying could be the very thing that makes it so easy: technology. 

Incidents highlight communication issues with teacher hiring

Many Florida schools search for experienced teachers to join their staffs. The more years they have behind them, the easier it will be for them to educate and discipline students struggling in their classes. Good teachers are crucial towards shaping the futures of the newer generations.

Unfortunately, many of the state’s schools have some problems with their hiring process. These issues range from negligent oversights to problems with Florida’s current laws for newer applicants. There are several reports where a controversial teacher from one school is hired at another almost immediately. A common factor found in most of these cases is how better communication between schools could have yielded different results.

School vs. students: Who is telling the truth?

When there is a dispute involving students, teachers and school administrators, everyone is likely to have different versions of what happened. Under these circumstances, finding out the truth will be crucial in determining what -- if any -- punishment is appropriate.

Unfortunately, getting to the truth can be very difficult. This is especially true when you consider how quickly stories spread and change, thanks to tools like social media. 

Report shows shift in Florida education landscape

Did you know that nearly half of students in Florida go to a school of their choice? This is according to a recent report showing that over 47 percent of students (PreK-12) attend a school outside their neighborhood schools.

Also notable from the report is the fact that charter schools are the most popular type of school among those who choose. During the 2017-2018 school year, more students attended charter schools than choice and magnet programs, open enrollment and private schools. 

Examining 504 plans

If your child struggles in the academic environment but does not qualify for special education resources like an Individualized Education Plan, parents may want to examine having a 504 plan.

A 504 plan is similar to an IEP in that it provides a child with the tools and services he or she needs to succeed in school. However, there are differences that could make it a solid solution for a child struggling with disabilities like ADHD or hyperactivity.

Tensions run high when students, teachers clash

The relationship between students and teachers can be incredibly powerful. Sometimes, it is positive and life-changing; other times, it is negative and perhaps toxic. In cases of the latter, these relationships can do more than destroy a person's classroom experience. They can also ruin a person's reputation and leave a stain on his or her criminal record. 

For instance, in recent weeks, there have been multiple news stories about assaults involving students and teachers. These cases represent the tensions that can be present and the consequences when those tensions erupt.

Florida sees big rise in graduation rate for students with disabilities

Recently, Florida released statistics on high school graduation rates in the state. The statistics point to such rates steadily trending up.

For example, over the 5-year period going from the 2013-2014 school year to the 2017-2018 school year, the overall graduation rate rose from 76.1 percent to 86.1 percent.

Children can get punished for improving test scores too much

With January finally here, many Florida students are vowing to improve themselves for the new year. Some may want to bump their Cs up to As, while others are still trying to decide which college will be the right choice for them. The path to improvement may be a little more straightforward for many students, as college preparation tests such as the SAT and ACT use their scores to demonstrate where the student’s strengths and weaknesses lie before they retake it or settle for it before graduation.

Even though teachers and parents heavily encourage students to improve themselves academically, they do not always receive rewards for doing so. In fact, there have been multiple instances where a student might improve themselves too much and end up in trouble. An example of this can be found within a recent story about a Miami Gardens teen and her SAT score.

Public school teachers removed after evaluations

Florida school officials are causing confusion and concern over their decision to remove teachers from the classroom based on certain evaluation scores. While all public school teachers are evaluated periodically, those in failing schools may be under particular scrutiny. At about halfway through this school year, some are concerned that removing teachers may be disruptive to students. However, it may be even more disruptive to the teachers who are not necessarily doing a poor job but are certainly dealing with high-risk students.

Teachers are evaluated in many ways, including observations by supervisors and student test scores. However, the recent decision to replace teachers is based on the value-added model. VAMs measure the influence a teacher has on the achievement of students. In other words, teachers may be judged based on the student test results rather than their own performances. In one county, six teachers are facing replacement because of low VAM scores.