Q: Why might my school or district be interested in a product like EDEE?
A: Across the U.S., the cost of defending against, settling, or paying out all of employment-related claims was estimated at a staggering $3 billion annually in 2007. Factors contributing to this problem that are frequently cited by school leaders, attorneys and insurance carriers include the following:
- The nature of the community which the school or district serves
- The relative cost of legal representation vs. other budgetary pressures
- The failure to use effective communication and conflict resolution techniques
- The overall level of school board and leadership team experience
Q: Why is a program like EDEE necessary if proper insurance and legal counsel are in place?
A: Errors & Omissions coverage, risk retention trusts, state excess liability funds, in-house counsel, county legal pools and prepaid legal services are all clearly important in the event of a discipline-related lawsuit against your school or district. However, these “damage control” safeguards do not address the day-to-day impact of employee misconduct or lack of professional competence on student achievement.
Entities that insure and defend 21st Century Schools have often called for a more “proactive” approach to the management of employment-related risks to actually reduce or prevent such litigation wherever possible. These advisors consistently indicate that the most effective strategy for reducing the impact of such litigation is to provide meaningful professional development opportunities in a “job-embedded” format for those “front-line” administrators and supervisors who present the most legal risk to public school districts and charter organizations. Some of the more frequently cited reasons for this recommendation include the following:
- The types of incidents for which public school districts and charters are most frequently sued are typically excluded from standard coverage. Several common civil rights violations (e.g., discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination) are sources of increasing litigation in many districts, yet primary coverage for these high-risk incidents is typically absent from standard policies due to the loss history that insurers have experienced in these areas in the past.
- High-risk practices are often identified during the review of an insurance application. During the underwriting process, insurances companies typically review copies of the Human Resources employment practices and investigative guidelines in use by the public school district or charter and do not infrequently deny coverage altogether based on the overall risk profile presented by employment-related policies or procedures.
- Rates of turnover among school leadership are at historic levels. Since administrative turnover rates average 18% per year on a national basis, public school districts and charters regularly suffer a loss of the “intellectual capital” and experience required to effectively deal with employment-related legal risks.
- Training during administrative certification or licensure is overly general. Most M.Ed. programs typically provide only a single 3 credit hour course in general school law. As a result, a majority of administrators and supervisors report feeling a lack of confidence when dealing with potential liability exposures after assuming school leadership positions.
Q: Why choose EDEE?
A: As a national leader in the school reform process, UpSlope Solutions has partnered with nearly 800 school districts in their efforts to put accountability related research into practice since 2004.