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Florida teachers who fail the state certification examination are entitled to unemployment compensation, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

In a decision handed down earlier this month, the court found that Ernest Washington, a teacher in the Gulf County school system, had made a good-faith effort to meet the district's conditions of employment. Teaching with a temporary license, Mr. Washington was fired after three unsuccessful attempts to pass the test.

The justices said employees can be denied unemployment benefits only if they quit their jobs without good cause or engage in misconduct. Mr. Washington had done neither, the court said.

Sydney McKenzie, general counsel to the state education department, said the ruling may inhibit school districts from hiring uncertified teachers. It may also lead to an increase in the amount employers must contribute to the state's unemployment- compensation fund.

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