Under the Dome

Move to improve teacher background checks

The state will consider ways to better screen out-of-state applicants for teaching licenses after a USA Today report found North Carolina does a poor job of catching teachers who had been disciplined in other states.

The USA Today Network article on problem teachers crossing state lines featured the case of a teacher who was investigated in Georgia for physical altercations with students and for sending improper text messages that were sexual in nature to a student. He had his license revoked in Georgia, but found a teaching job in Charlotte. The newspapers gave North Carolina an F grade for weak screening and for not sharing teachers' misconduct with other states.

The state leaves teacher background checks up to local districts.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said the State Board of Education will discuss teacher background checks at its meeting next week.

The state and local districts should share responsibility for background checks, where the responsibilities of each party are clearly defined, she said.

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