Arizona teachers may find themselves under greater scrutiny if the Legislature continues to advance bills barring educators from partisan instruction, using unapproved course materials or using language in the classroom that violates Federal Communication Commission standards.
The full Senate gave preliminary approval to three such bills Monday afternoon.
Republican Sen. Lori Klein of Anthem sponsored the proposals and said they’re part of an effort to increase transparency and make sure teachers are not having an inappropriate influence on children.
Critics have said the bills are unnecessary, heavy-handed and could place unfair burdens on teachers.
One bill would punish public school teachers if they use words that violate the obscenity and profanity guidelines set forth by the FCC.
Klein said she introduced the measure because a parent in her district complained about a high school teacher using foul language.
Another proposal aims to keep teachers from imposing political or partisan views on their students. The bill would prohibit teachers from encouraging students to promote or adopt a partisan viewpoint. Violators could lose their teaching license.
The bill also says any administrator who does not work to prevent partisan views in the classroom could lose their professional certification.
Klein and other supporters of the measure have said a law is needed to ensure teachers are behaving ethically and students are able to form their own opinions.
A third bill requires teachers to get all books and materials used in the classroom pre-approved by the school district.
State law currently requires that basic textbooks be approved ahead of time and any supplemental books must be approved at some point during the school year. Approval for teaching aids and computer software are optional.
If the bill becomes law, all of those materials must be pre-approved and districts must post a list of those materials online.
Klein told fellow lawmakers she’s willing to tweak that bill but said her goal is transparency between teachers and parents.
Approval of the bills on a formal Senate vote would send them to the House.