Save Our Schools Arizona
Weekly Education Report
55th Legislature, 2nd General Session
Volume 4, Issue 16 • Week of May 2, 2022
For Teacher Appreciation Week, the legislature is going half-time
As we head into Teacher Appreciation Week, instead of rolling up their sleeves to ensure Arizona's current $5.3 billion budget surplus is used to provide for our state's public schools, our legislature has decided to reduce their own hours.
The House is now meeting only on Mondays and Thursdays. Not to be outdone, the Senate is now meeting only Mondays through Wednesdays. This is evidence of how little they have left to do other than pass a budget, and how protracted budget conversations have become.
As always, we urge lawmakers to get to work in bipartisan fashion, to craft a budget that leverages our state's current $5.3 billion surplus to provide for our state's chronically underfunded kids, educators and communities — and to respect Arizona voters by roundly rejecting the poison pill of an ESA voucher expansion. Reach out to your lawmakers and urge them toward building a bipartisan budget that uses our $5.3 billion surplus to prioritize funding for public education.
In a Friday news dump, Gov. Ducey signed HB2439, to force school boards to preemptively approve every single library book purchase, as well as HB2161, which forces schools to share all written and electronic records with parents even if it's not in a student's best interest.
We can't sit around and wait for this legislature to do the right thing — we've got a state to change! Join one of our phone banks or canvasses and help us build a pro-public education legislature. Then stay tuned to our social media for any breaking news.
🌟 Use our one-click email tool to tell lawmakers NO to their incessant attacks on public education
Many of these could be brought up for a vote with less than one day's notice.
Attacks on schools, school boards, districts:
- SB1269 (Udall, R-25) is a last-minute move to rig the school funding formula to increase the disparity between wealthy and impoverished schools. Early estimates say roughly half of school districts in Arizona would lose money. Passed House Appropriations Committee, 3/28. Awaits House Rules Committee, then the floor.
- SB1657, Boyer (R-20), is a near-universal ESA voucher expansion that pulls money directly from the Classroom Site Fund (created by voters to fund public schools) and diverts it to unaccountable private schools. Awaits House Rules Committee.
- HB2278, Livingston (R-22), expands School Tuition Organization (STO) vouchers and allows STO voucher companies to collude to give students multiple vouchers. Awaits Senate Rules Committee, then the floor.
Attacks on teachers & curriculum:
- SB1412, Udall (R-25), would ban teaching controversial topics in schools and drive further distrust of educators. Teachers could be disciplined up to losing their license, and school districts would face penalties of up to $5,000. Awaits House floor and final passage.
- HB2161, Kaiser (R-15), requires district and charter schools to give parents access to all written or electronic records, including immunization information and psychological records. ☑️Signed into law 4/25.
- HB2439, Pingerelli (R-21), would require school boards to approve every single library book a school purchases, and to make a list available for public review for 60 days. The bill also mandates parent access to schools' library catalog and student checkout records, a direct violation of student privacy. ☑️Signed into law 4/25.
- HB2495, Hoffman (R-12), would ban students from using “sexually explicit” material in public school, even "classical literature" (which is not defined) or books for college credit without written parental consent. The bill ignores modern literature, art and history, and will drown families in permission slips. Awaits Senate floor and final passage.
- HCR2001, Kaiser (R-15), asks voters to amend the state constitution to include the "Stop Critical Race Theory and Racial Discrimination in Schools and Other Public Institutions Act." Awaits Senate Rules Committee, then the floor.
Watering down teaching:
- SB1159, Gray (R-21), would allow anyone who completes any teacher prep program to receive a Standard Teaching Certificate, and expands "subject matter expert" teaching to grades as young as kindergarten. This furthers the misconception that anyone can teach, and that it is not necessary to be trained in curriculum, classroom management or instruction. Awaits House floor and final passage.
Your voice matters! A simple phone call or email to your lawmaker asking them to prioritize funding for schools and responsible policies for education goes a long way. Make it clear that you expect well-funded and well-resourced schools where educators feel supported and students feel safe.
For Arizona to move forward and thrive, we need these critical discussions! Find your legislative district here. Email and phone info is here for your representatives and here for your senator. Please reach out and make your voice heard.
Here are some other easy actions you can take:
- Sign up for a Community Action Team: East Valley, West Valley, Metro Phoenix, Northern Arizona, and Southern Arizona! Your local coordinators will help you with using Request to Speak and contacting your lawmakers.
- Request an SOSAZ Education Roadshow presentation HERE
- Sign up to automatically receive the SOSAZ Legislative Weekly Report HERE
- Get your #PublicSchoolProud shirt and mask HERE. Our 2022 Legislative Special is $20 to cover costs and shipping. Wear Public School Proud gear to show your dedication to well-funded public education in Arizona!