Background Checks

USA TODAY NETWORK investigation has determined that thousands of names are missing from the U.S.’ only national database of “disciplined” educators. The result, the report found, has been that educators disciplined (and in some cases fired) for misconduct were able to make their way back into the system simply by crossing state lines.

Over the course of a year, the USA TODAY NETWORK gathered information from state databases as well as from a private, nationwide database, run by the non-profit National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), that is a prominent screening resource for educational facilities. After performing a computerized analysis of millions of records, researchers determined that many states weren’t reporting effectively or completely. The report also noted that state background check systems were filled with inconsistencies, and some 11 states were not performing comprehensive work and criminal background checks before issuing teaching licenses.

These revelations should certainly put parents on their toes and serve as warnings to anyone who relies on databases for background screening. At Barada, we have always advocated for using multiple reference sources to ensure a complete portrait of a candidate. Any database can be problematic, but those where submissions are voluntary, as is the case with the NASDTEC database, have an even greater margin for error.