AEA Legislative Update — House Education Committee Votes to Censor Teachers and more news

| January 25, 2022

January 21, 2022

AEA Legislative Agenda | Take Action | Video

House Education Committee Votes to Censor Teachers

On Tuesday, House Education Committee voted along party lines with six Republicans voting for and four Democrats voting against HB2112, which censors teachers from teaching the facts about history. This bill needs to be heard in Rules Committee before going to the House floor for a final vote. Thank you to hundreds of activists who sent emails! Many of you stood up and gave testimony, including AEA President Joe Thomas. Watch his testimony and take action on this bill>>

Urge Legislators to Override Spending Limit TAKE ACTION

The Arizona Legislature needs to override the constitutional aggregate expenditure limit by March 1, 2022, or school districts across Arizona will need to cut a total of nearly $1.2 billion (16%) from their budgets this year. These cuts would be devastating for our students and would impact extracurriculars, specialized programs like Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate, and staffing shortages and pay.

AEA members and educators – Senator Christine Marsh and Representative Jennifer Pawlik – have introduced legislation to authorize the override for this year (SCR1022 / HCR2012) and repeal the limit (SCR1023). Ask legislators to hear and pass these bills so schools can avoid budget cuts this year and in the future>>

AEA is hosting a webinar for members only next week to learn more about the spending limit and what impact it will have on school districts’ budgets this year.

Respect Educators TAKE ACTION

Arizona educators have come to work every day through the pandemic to ensure students get a quality public education. They deserve respect for the work they do in one of the most noble professions. It is disappointing to see bills like SB1159, which seek to de-professionalize teachers. This bill would completely rewrite teacher certification in Arizona by awarding a standard teaching certificate for all teacher certification pathways, whether it’s through traditional, alternative, or other means. In addition, SB1159 would:

  • Remove subject matter expert certification and expands it from grades 6-12 to K-12.
  • Remove the requirement for a teacher certification renewal applicant have at least 10 years of experience in AZ in the area they’re seeking renewal.
  • Allow districts and charters to enroll anyone with an emergency sub, teaching intern, sub certification, or at least an associate’s degree into a classroom-based prep program.

At a time when teachers already feel disrespected due to a perceived lack of support or education investments from the state, laws that lower teaching standards sends a disturbing message to teachers, students, and parents about the value of having a quality, certified teacher in the classroom. Policymakers should look for real solutions to address the teacher shortage crisis. Lowering standards is not the way to solve the teacher shortage; this bill will only drive more teachers out of the state. Senate Education Committee is hearing this bill on Tuesday. Urge lawmakers to oppose SB1159 and instead focus on keeping good teachers in the classroom>>

Stop Partisan School Boards TAKE ACTION

For the past several months, school boards around the state have been the target of protests, largely about school mask mandates, that disrupted meetings and posed a threat to school board members as well as members of the community attending the meetings. SB1010 is the latest attack on our schools and is a blatant attempt to introduce partisan politics into our school boards and score more political points for those who continue to attack our public schools. This bill would change the current nonpartisan school governing board elections in Arizona into partisan elections with a partisan primary followed by a general election. This bill also contains a provision that would prohibit a school district from ejecting from school property or the location of a school board meeting, and from taking any other adverse action against a person or a group engaging in peaceful protest after school hours that does not pose an obvious threat to people, does not damage school property and does not interfere with or disrupt activities where a school board meeting is taking place. The bill also states that a school district cannot require a person or a group of people to apply, request a permit, or secure any other form of authorization to engage in peaceful protesting on school property after school hours or near where a school meeting is taking place after school hours. SB1010 is being heard in Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. Protect our neighborhood school boards and urge lawmakers to vote NO to SB1010>>

Voter Suppression Bill Targets Schools TAKE ACTION

SB1133 would prohibit school districts from conducting a mail ballot election. This anti-public education bill seeks to make it harder for school districts to pass override and bond elections by suppressing the vote. School districts rely on overrides and bonds to make up for the fact that the state is not meeting its responsibility to fully fund our schools. SB1133 is being heard in Senate Government Committee on Monday. Urge committee members to vote NO on SB1133>>

Bills Target LGBTQ Kids TAKE ACTION

This year, the Legislature has introduced several bills attacking the LGBTQ community, particularly trans kids. HB2161 would require health care entities and public schools to out trans children, classifying a child’s gender identity or desire to transition in such a way that to affirm or support a trans child without immediately outing them would be a violation of parental rights. The real impact of this bill would be to erode the trust children can expect to have in the adults in their lives. Another bill, HB2495, would ban all sexual content, including any depiction of homosexuality, from public school curriculum. This kind of broad censorship is hateful, unconstitutional, far reaching, and unnecessary. Banning homosexuality from books sends a terrible message to our LGBTQ students who already struggle to feel seen and heard. Parents already have the opportunity to request alternative reading materials if they object to a particular book. This ban is so broad it would remove several classics from curriculum from Shakespeare’s plays to Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. These bills will be heard in House Education Committee on Tuesday. Urge committee members to oppose these anti-LGBTQ bills>>

Book Banning Bill TAKE ACTION

Book banning is back in style this session. HB2439 requires school districts to maintain and post school library catalogs online, tell parents what books their children are checking out of the school library, and post new books for public review for 60 days prior to their approval by the school board. School librarians are certified professionals who are focused on acquiring books to enrich the education experience of students. Parents already have access to this information. At a time when most schools in Arizona don’t have their own librarian, this bill creates an extra layer of bureaucracy and micromanagement to satisfy pro-censorship groups who want to ban books they don’t like. HB2439 is being heard in House Education Committee on Tuesday. Urge committee members to oppose censorship and vote NO HB2439>>

HB2284 Fails Students TAKE ACTION

HB2284 requires a teacher retain a student in grades K-4 if specific standards are not met. Our students are more than a test score and each child is unique with their own individual needs. At a time when we are in the middle of a pandemic, our schools are underfunded and short staffed, this bill sets our students up for failure. HB2284 takes the decision making away from those closest to the student. This bill will be heard in House Education Committee on Tuesday. Urge committee members to oppose HB2284>>

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Category: Education

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