School administrators in every state will soon be able to check the backgrounds of job candidates against a national criminal database, under a new public-safety bill signed into law last week by President Bush.
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, a broad measure aimed at sex offenders and child abusers, includes the school employee background-checks provision, which will allow state education agencies and school districts to run the names of prospective employees through the national crime database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
School officials in at least 21 states have not had access to the national database because their states do not participate in a special compact that allows the sharing of criminal records for nonjudicial purposes.
Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., who has been pushing for more exhaustive background checks for school employees since 2003, sponsored the provision.
A version of this article appeared in the August 09, 2006 edition of Education Week