Dismissal for Poor Performance: Florida

Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy


The state should articulate that ineffective classroom performance is grounds for dismissal and ensure that the process for terminating ineffective teachers is expedient and fair to all parties.

Meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Dismissal for Poor Performance: Florida results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/FL-Dismissal-for-Poor-Performance-10

Analysis of Florida's policies

New legislation in Florida ensures that teacher ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal. All new teachers will be placed on annual contracts (see Goal 3-D), and the state requires that such contracts are not renewed if a teacher's performance is unsatisfactory. An annual contract may not be awarded if the teacher has received "two consecutive annual performance evaluation ratings of unsatisfactory, two annual performance ratings of unsatisfactory within a three-year period, or three consecutive annual performance evaluation ratings of needs improvement or a combination of needs improvement and unsatisfactory."

The state also distinguishes the due process rights of teachers dismissed for ineffective performance as determined by annual performance evaluations from those facing other charges commonly associated with license revocation such as a felony and/or morality violations.

A teacher dismissed for "just cause," which includes "immorality, misconduct in office, incompetency, gross insubordination, willful neglect of duty, and being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty to, regardless of adjudication of guilt, any crime involving moral turpitude" is entitled to more than one appeal. After receiving written notice of dismissal, the teacher may file an appeal within 15 days. The hearing must then take place within 60 days. A teacher then has 30 days to appeal the district school board's decision for judicial review.

In contrast, a teacher may contest his or her performance evaluation rating by requesting a hearing with the district school board, and the hearing must take place within 60 days. The district school board's decision is final.


Recommendations for Florida

State response to our analysis

Florida recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

One of the greatest shortcomings of teacher performance appraisals has been school systems' unwillingness and inability to differentiate instructional competency. The New Teacher Project, 2009, "The Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness" at http://widgeteffect.org/

See NCTQ, State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies (2011) as well as studies by The New Teacher Project of human resource and dismissal policies in various districts at: http://www.tntp.org/.

For information on the high cost of teacher dismissals, see Steve Brill, "The Rubber Room," New Yorker, August 31, 2009 at: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/31/090831fa_fact_brill.
Also, see Scott Reeder, "The Hidden Costs of Tenure: Why are Failing Teachers Getting a Passing Grade?" Small Newspaper Group, 2005 at:http://www.nctq.org/nctq/research/1135269736359.pdf.