Arizona Senate approves bill requiring teachers to post lesson plans online

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Nancy Barto, says the bill aims to increase academic transparency.
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 6:33 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Arizona Senate has approved a bill that would require teachers to post their curriculum online, giving parents a right to know what is being taught in public schools.

Senate Bill 1211 would require teachers to post their lesson plans and materials online within seven days of first use. Educators must upload any gender, race, discrimination, and diversity curriculum at least 72 hours beforehand. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Nancy Barto, says the bill aims to increase academic transparency.

“It’s a long-overdue solution to the problem that parents are just not getting the full story when it comes to what their children are learning, and it’s about time they do,” Sen. Barto said. “The federal law and state laws give parents the right to review materials children are exposed to. And this is just a way of making that a practicality rather than a theory and a concept. Right now, the law isn’t specific enough about what they should have access to, and so this just a fix to that problem and make sure that it is posted.”

Sen. Barto believes this bill would also help new teachers find inspiration.

“If they have access to see what other schools and what other teachers in their grades are doing, the best practices are found to come to the surface, and I think we will see this as an added benefit to educational outcomes over time,” Barto said.

Marisol Garcia, Vice President of the Arizona Education Association, says teachers are already spending roughly 20 to 25 hours outside of the classroom and believes these requirements could impact education quality.

“The current piece of legislation in front of the House and Senate really tries to, in our opinion, put a wedge between the professional responsibilities and the connection we have with families and it really doesn’t do anything to change or make anything easier for parents. It really is just a lot more work for educators,” Garcia said.

Garcia, also an eighth-grade history and civics teacher, says lesson plans can change, making this task tricky.

“Lesson plans are done within context. They are not set in stone. They are very fluid,” Garcia said. “If I’m teaching the students about the first amendment and the way I present it maybe didn’t really saturate into their brains, I want to be able to go home and say ‘What is another tactic or way to access their critical thinking skills so that they get it?’. So that is something that could change quickly. I’m still teaching the same standard and teaching the first amendment, but maybe the next day, I’m going to have them come up and give a speech or think about what does petition mean? And those things happen quickly.”

Those who spoke against the bill said these requirements would add to Arizona teachers’ workload and may even push more teachers out of the industry. Garcia agrees. “Right now, Arizona educators almost every day are deciding to leave this profession. This is an all-call emergency, and part of the reason why they’re leaving is funding and salaries, and the other part is respect, and so in the legislature, our people that we elected are now down there having these conversations about making our jobs more difficult without any voice from us. This is why more people will leave the profession and why our public schools are not going to be treated with the respect they deserve,” she said.

The bill now heads to the Arizona House of Representatives for consideration.