Why run background checks for teachers?
Once upon a time, personal recommendations and a lively interview were all that were required to qualify a job seeker for a teaching job, but school hiring practices have changed dramatically and background checks for teachers are becoming more important.
There are myriad reasons for stepping up security checks for all hires that work around children. Educators really took notice when the USA Today Network investigated “a loosely-connected patchwork of state laws and procedures, inconsistent practices by school districts and state officials, and wide variations in who’s accountable for what, and how accountable they are.”
Why teacher background checks are so dicey
Information about teacher misconduct is mired in bureaucracy, so an applicant seeking a job in Maine could get hired–even if she was judged unfit to teach in Nevada. Among the “foundation cracks” USA Today researchers found were these:
-Not every state undertakes background checks before a license to teach is granted.
-When a licensing application is approved, that doesn’t mean the contents can or will be shared with another system if a teacher moves.
-Some states don’t require misconduct reporting for educators, schools and other employees.
What researchers found
A surprising number of applications checked by the research team were found to be inconsistent or incomplete. In other cases, shared state and local responsibility for compiling teacher profiles wasn’t shared, nor were personnel files flagged.
In some cases, states issued teaching licenses without fingerprinting candidates and in too many cases to count, background checks came up empty due to incorrectly-spelled names or name changes—an irony not lost on English teachers.
What you can do to avoid trouble when hiring teachers
It makes good sense to employ the services of an experienced background check service with deep roots in the nation’s education system.
At HireShield.com, we not only use standard methods of investigation, but we check teaching license applicants against the NASDTEC Clearinghouse database, an authority in the processing of candidates for all types of school-related positions.
Further, today’s schools operate on shoestring budgets, so the ability to use just one trusted resource to handled background checks saves time and money. But, you can’t put a price on the reputation your school enjoys when you’ve applied the due diligence step of detailed background checks.