ARIZONA STATE SENATE
LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH ANALYST
Telephone: (602) 926 -3171
Facsimile: (602) 926 -3833
DATE: February 13, 2012
Prohibits public schools teachers from using partisan books or any partisan doctrine. Prescribes penalties for teachers, school districts, and charter schools that violate the prohibition on partisan instruction.
The State Board of Education (SBE) must prescribe a minimum course of study, incorporating Arizona’s academic standards, to be taught in Arizona public schools (A.R.S. § 15-701, 15-702). School district governing boards must approve the course of study, including the basic textbook for each approved course and all other units recommended for credit before implementing each course in both elementary and high school in accordance with minimum course of study prescribed by the SBE (A.R.S. § 15-721, 15-722). Additionally, pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-701.01, a governing board may adopt courses of study which are in addition to or higher than that prescribed by the SBE.
Arizona Revised Statutes 15-535 states that who uses sectarian or denominational books or teaches any sectarian doctrine or conducts any religious exercises in school is guilty of unprofessional conduct and his certificate shall be revoked.
There is no anticipated impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.
1. Adds that a teacher in any school district or charter school is guilty unprofessional conduct and the teacher's certificate will be revoked if the teacher does any of the following:
a) uses partisan books, promotes any partisan doctrine or conducts any uni-partisan exercises in school;
b) encourages, entices or otherwise indoctrinates pupils to promote or adopt, or both, the teacher's partisan or political viewpoints; or
c) puts on public display a pupil's support for the teacher's political position in order to promote the teacher's position.
2. States that an administrator in a school district who does not actively prevent or cease a teacher’s political or partisan activity in the classroom in a timely manner is guilty of unprofessional conduct and their certificate will be revoked.
3. Adds that if SBE or the SPI determines that a school district or charter school fails to prevent or cease a teacher’s unprofessional conduct pursuant to this act, the SBE or SPI must notify the school district or charter school that they are out of compliance.
4. Specifies that if SBE or the SPI notify a district that they are out of compliance and they do not comply within 60 days, the SBE or the SPI may direct the Department of Education (ADE) to withhold up to ten percent of the monthly apportionment of the district’s state aid and requires the ADE to adjust the apportionment accordingly.
5. Permits the SPI to withhold monies from the date of determination of noncompliance until ADE determines the school district is in compliance.
6. Adds that if a school district superintendent, a school district governing board or a charter school governing body knew or should have know and ignored a teacher’s unprofessional conduct pursuant to this act, that school district or charter school is subject to the penalty provisions of this act.
7. Requires ADE to pay for all expenses of a hearing pursuant to this section.
8. Becomes effective on the general effective date.