House Rules to hear bills that limit classroom discussion, require access to learning materials - AZEdNews
Sections    Friday March 24th, 2023

House Rules to hear bills that limit classroom discussion, require access to learning materials

Arizona Senator Nancy Barto. Photo Courtesy Arizona Capitol Television

When Arizona Legislators on the House Rules Committee meet next, they will hear a bill that would require schools to post all learning materials and activities online for parents to review and another bill that would limit discussion of race, ethnicity and sex in classroom instruction.

The House Rules Committee was originally scheduled to meet today at 1 p.m., but the meeting was cancelled. The Arizona House of Representatives is adjourned until Thursday.

Senate Bill 1412, sponsored by Sen. J.D. Mesnard, originally would have required the Arizona Department of Education to award a substitute teacher certificate to a person who did not have a college degree but who provides instruction in STEM or career of technical education.

A floor amendment by Sen. Mesnard on Feb. 22, 2022 would have required the Arizona Department of Education to award a substitute teacher certificate to a person who held an emergency substitute teacher certificate as of Jan. 24, 2022, and would have waived the certification fee for an applitant for a substitute teacher certificate through the AZ Dept. of Ed-established process.

But SB 1412 is now subject to a strike everything amendment that  limits the discussion of race, ethnicity and sex during classroom instruction with the exception of age-appropriate and grad appropriate instruction regarding child assault awareness and abuse prevention, reviving the contents of House Concurrent Resolution 2001, which died in the Senate.

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Senate Bill 1211, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto and 14 co-sponsors, would expand requirements for students’ parents’ access to instruction materials that would include district and charter schools posting classroom learning materials and activities on their website. The bill was amended on the Senate floor by Sen. Barto and Senate Education Chairman Paul Boyer and also was subject to a strike everything amendment.

SB 1211 would require that learning materials and activities for student instruction and teacher training be displayed for at least 72 hours prior to first use on topics that include discrimination, diversity, equity, and inclusion; race, ethnicity, sex, gender, and bias; action-oriented civics, service-learning or social and emotional competencies; and any combination of these topics with other concepts. 

SB 1211 would also allow students’ parents access to teacher training materials in the same manner as student instructional materials and allow access to a classroom library within 10 days after a written request. 

In addition, SB 1211 would prohibit school governing boards or school staff from purchasing copyrighted instructional materials or those that require students to provide individual logins to use, unless students’ parents are provided the opportunity to review the materials.

Also, SB 1211 would require a principal to investigate a parent’s complaint within 15 days, and if not satisfactorily resolved for the parent to submit the written complaint to the school governing board or an administrator designated by the school board and requires an investigation within 25 days and written response about action take to resolve the complaint. The bill also allows an individual to sue in superior court if the complaint is not resolved to their satisfaction.

A floor amendment to SB12 11  by Sen. Barto allows parents to have temporary access to the schools online learning management system with temporary login credentials.

A floor amendment to SB 1211 by Senate Education Chair Paul Boyer removes the time periods a school must make learning materials available at the campus in the original bill, limits complaints to on per party in a 30-day period and allows a party to file suit in Superior Court to ensure each material or activity is posted as required rather than bring the school into compliance, among other provisions.

SB 1211 was also subject to a strike everything amendment that would expand the bills provisions to require access to learning materials and activities to parents looking to enroll their children in district schools, charter schools, accommodation schools and Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind campuses.

The listing of learning materials required to be accessible to parents must be organized by grade, subject area and teacher and would include if possible links online to: textbooks, articles, and other required reading materials, video and audio recordings, digital materials, websites, instructional handouts and worksheets, online applications for a phone, laptop or tablet, grade level or school-wide assemblies, guest lectures, action-oriented civics learning assignments or projects and service learning projects as well as a listing of all the teacher training materials and activities used at the school in the current year.

In addition, the Arizona Senate met at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Committee of the Whole to vote on a bill that would allow parents to receive a list of books and materials their children borrow from the school library and another bill that would allow Career and Technical Education Districts to operate for less than 180 days a year as long as there is an equivalent number of hours of instruction.

House Bill 2027, sponsored by House Education Chair Rep. Michelle Udall, which would let Career and Technical Districts operate for less than 180 days also would allow CTEDS to receive up to 0.25 of Average Daily Membership for a student enrolled in 150 instructional hours. Average Daily Membership is the way Arizona calculates student enrollment and is used to determine per-pupil funding. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

House Bill 2439, sponsored by House Education Vice-Chair Rep. Beverly Pingerelli, would give parents access to a list of books and materials that their children borrow from the school library. The bill would also allow parents to review a list of any books purchased for a school district of charter school library on the school’s website for a period of at least 60 days after the purchases are approved. The bill received a do pass recommendation.