Licensed professions often have a code of conduct that all practitioners in their field are expected to follow. The educator profession is no exception.
In Washington, the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB), composed primarily of practicing educators, sets standards and establishes a code of conduct for teachers, administrators, and educational staff associates (ESAs). The educator code of conduct safeguards our students, strengthens the culture of our schools, and increases public confidence in the integrity of our education system. It also clarifies what is expected of educators and how they will be held accountable.
Educator discipline is administered at two levels. Employment discipline is handled at the local level, and certificate discipline is handled at the state level. The OSPI Office of Professional Practice (OPP) is responsible for investigating individual educators for possible violations of the professional code of conduct at the state level. For questions about local discipline systems, please contact your school district.
Membership guidance for the appeals committee
In some discipline situations, an appeals advisory committee will provide recommendations on discipline decisions. The Admissions and Professional Conduct Advisory Committee (APCAC) is composed of nine educators appointed by OSPI. In 2021, a stakeholder workgroup recommended guidance on the composition of this committee, which was then approved by PESB.
Prior to appointing new members, OSPI consults with Washington professional associations on committee member nominations. PESB guidance requests that professional associations consider nominating members who reflect the racial diversity of the students in our state. OSPI will also consider this guidance when making final committee appointments.
Additional OSPI committee considerations:
- Geographical representation from across the state
- Educators from rural and urban areas
- Educators from a variety of disciplinary areas, including CTE
- Early career and experienced educators
- Slidedeck for educators and education leaders
- Educator code of conduct (PDF)
- Discipline types and discipline-related actions (document)
- Board materials (folder) on educator professional practice (March 2021)
- PESB/OSPI OPP Report to the legislature (2020) (PDF)
- How to file a complaint against a certificated educator
- Contact the OSPI Office of Professional Practice at 360-725-6130 or OPP@k12.wa.us for information on process, investigations, and more.
- WAC 181-86: The state discipline process
- WAC 181-87: Code of conduct for educators
- WAC 181-88 and RCW 28A.400.301: Mandatory disclosure by school districts to potential employers
- RCW 28A.410.010, RCW 28A.410.090: Procedures and complaints