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School social workers struggling to pass state teacher test

The Florida Board of Education has proposed a new rule to exempt school social workers from passing a Florida state teacher test, if they hold a state license in social work. The proposed rule change comes after some Florida school social workers lost their jobs due to an inability to pass the teacher test, even though they were non-instructional staff who held higher degrees.

One social worker took the teacher test six times, but was unable to pass the math portion. However, she held a Master's degree, and was a former juvenile probation officer as well as director of a drug treatment program. When Brevard County School District hired her, she was the only social worker at her school. Because she could not pass the math portion of the test, her employment was terminated. In the aftermath of the Parkland school shootings, social workers are needed for students now more than ever. Just last week a Florida teen committed suicide on the campus of an Orlando school, and the father of a student who was killed in the Parkland shootings committed suicide.

After the Parkland shooting in 2018, the state of Florida committed to making mental health care a priority in schools. To do so, the state legislature even approved $69 million dollars allocated to the schools to help students in crisis. However, they failed to address the requirements for employment of non-instructional staff such as social workers. As a result, at a time when they should be hiring such workers instead of firing, they are losing well-qualified employees.

If you are a school social worker who has been terminated or in in jeopardy of losing your job due to teacher testing requirements, consult with a knowledgeable education attorney to discuss your legal options.

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