Re: TEACHER RIGHTS IN TEXAS
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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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