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Re: TEACHER RIGHTS IN TEXAS
Joan

    On 12/22/06, Does your state offer similar rights? wrote:
    > Every teacher is entitled to a duty-free lunch and
    > planning and preparation time. Except for a few minor
    > changes made in the 1995 rewrite of the Texas Education
    > Code, the statutes have essentially remained the same.
    >
    > Duty-free lunch – Texas Education Code, Sec. 21.405
    > By law, each classroom teacher and full-time librarian
    > gets at least a 30-minute lunch period “free from all
    > duties and responsibilities connected with the instruction
    > and supervision of students.” According to a Texas
    > Attorney General opinion, the term “duty” would include a
    > directive that teachers remain on campus during lunch,
    > because it would relate to student instruction or
    > supervision. Districts cannot require teachers to stay on
    > campus during their 30-minute lunch even if the campus
    > is “closed” for students.
    >
    > The law provides exceptions—personnel shortages, extreme
    > economic conditions or unavoidable/unforeseen
    > circumstances—which give districts the right to require
    > teachers to supervise lunches, but not more than one time
    > per week.
    >
    > The rules adopted by the commissioner of education set the
    > bar very high before a district can assign a teacher to
    > lunch duty. Scheduling problems do not create unforeseen
    > circumstances. They exist when an epidemic, illness, or
    > natural or man-made disaster leaves no one available to do
    > the duty. An extreme economic condition exists when hiring
    > a person to supervise lunch would cause the district to
    > raise taxes to the extent that the district might face a
    > tax roll-back election. A personnel shortage exists only
    > after all available nonteaching personnel—superintendent
    > and business manager included—have been assigned to the
    > duty and the district has diligently recruited community
    > volunteers to help.
    >
    > Planning and preparation time – Texas Education Code, Sec.
    > 21.404
    > The law entitles every teacher to planning and preparation
    > time, during which the district can require the teacher to
    > engage in no activity other than parent-teacher
    > conferences, evaluating student work, and planning.
    > Teachers must have at least 450 minutes of planning time
    > every two weeks in increments of not less than 45 minutes
    > within the instructional day.
    >
    > Examples:
    >
    > A teacher could have five 90-minute conference periods
    > within a two-week period, instead of a 45-minute
    > conference period each day. A district can provide 50-
    > minute blocks of planning time daily, and exceed the
    > minimum requirement, but it could not provide 50 minutes
    > one day and 40 minutes the next.
    >
    > A district cannot schedule a 7:45 a.m.-3:15 p.m.
    > instructional day, and then give teachers 3:15 p.m.-4:00
    > p.m. to plan after the students leave.
    >
    > Conference period cases often involve requirements for
    > group planning or staff development during planning
    > periods. According to the commissioner of education, if a
    > district gives teachers no more than the statutory minimum
    > planning time, the district cannot ask teachers to engage
    > in group-planning during one of those planning periods.
    >
    > Example:
    >
    > A district that schedules 50-minute planning periods every
    > day could ask teachers to plan as a group one day every
    > two weeks, but the district could not take one planning
    > period for group planning and another for staff
    > development.
    >
    >
    >