Maryland state education officials publicly posted the names of all teachers whose licenses have been revoked – a decision announced days after a News4 I-Team investigation showed the state offered less information than neighboring states about teachers who had admitted sexual misconduct with students.
Prior to the decision, Maryland declined to post any publicly viewable information about teacher license revocations.
Public officials, including Montgomery County Council Education Committee Chairman Craig Rice, said the lack of transparency risked endangering children by making it more difficult to track predators.
“We want more information out there,” Rice said. “For our parents, our community leaders, our people who hire, we want them to make more informed decisions."
The I-Team investigation in April revealed other states offer more publicly available information to parents with questions about teachers suspected of misconduct. In several states – including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Carolina – state education agencies post the names of all teachers from whom licenses have been stripped and the nature of the misconduct that led to the revocation.
Rice, citing the April I-Team investigation, asked Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon to consider policy changes. Days later she notified the state’s board of education her agency would begin posting the names of all teachers whose licenses had been revoked and a summary of the reasons.
“We want to make sure we have a great teacher in front of every student in every classroom in the state,” Salmon told the I-Team.
The I-Team investigation also led to requests for Virginia’s Department of Education to add details about its teacher misconduct cases to the agency’s website. The agency agreed to consider possible changes. In its current form, the Virginia Department of Education posts only the names and school districts of teachers from whom licenses have been revoked.
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Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna), also formally citing the I-Team investigation, formally asked state education officials to make the additions.
“(In teacher license revocation cases,) we don’t know the reasons? What are the specifics? We can guess based on rumor and innuendo, but it'd be nice if we had the facts," Keam said.
In response to Keam, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven Staples said the agency would “review other states’ practices and consult with the Attorney General’s Office to determine how the process may be enhanced.”
The April I-Team investigation found the lack of publicly available information about teachers who’ve admitted misconduct made it difficult for former students and parents to track the cases of those teachers. In at least one case, a teacher who canceled his license amid allegations of inappropriately touching a student did so without the knowledge of the father of the teenage girl. The father, who said he tried to monitor the case, was unaware of the teacher’s license revocation until notified by the I-Team, 11 years after the license was stripped.