Number of Pa. Educators Losing Licenses Increasing

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

While school districts years ago used to be able to quietly negotiate an exit for some educators who abused children or committed other serious crimes, school leaders for the past decade have been required to report such allegations to the state Department of Education for potential disciplinary action.

In recent years, more certified education professionals have lost or had their certificates suspended, with 114 educators notified in 2010. That compares to 39 to 67 educators each year from 2004 through 2007.

Over the past eight years, the state has named 548 educators statewide who have been notified of action taken on their certificates, including public reprimands, suspensions, revocations, surrenders in lieu of discipline and reinstatements (there are 603 notifications because some individuals are subject to more than one action).

That counts 74 educators statewide whose certificates were suspended, revoked or surrendered in 2011 for actions ranging from sexual relationships to embezzlement, including two whose certificates were both suspended and revoked in the same year. The list covers a variety of certificates, including teaching and administrative.

"There may be a greater awareness now of the types of things that need to be reported," said Wythe Keever, spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association. "The PSEA overall supports that."

Noting such cases are a small part of the state's 150,000 teachers, Mr. Keever said the PSEA wants due process followed but "has no interest in keeping teachers in the classroom who are guilty of inappropriate behaviors and actions."

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