Michigan GOP lawmakers push bill to require teachers post full curriculum, lesson plans

Posted at 10:14 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 22:24:14-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan GOP lawmakers say it’s a way to empower parents and boost transparency, but public school teachers are calling a new education bill “unnecessary” and “frustrating.”

The bill introduced by state House Republicans earlier this month, mirrors a push from Republican lawmakers nationwide and if passed, would essentially require teachers to post their entire curriculum—learning plans, writing assignments, research projects, books, planned field trips, before the first day of school or the district could lose out on 5% of funding.

“I'm trying to empower parents in helping to educate the kids in our district and throughout the state of Michigan,” says State Rep. Bryan Posthumus (R-Kent County) who co-sponsored the bill (HB-5722)

“They're already putting this information together. We're just trying to push it into the 21st century and make sure it's posted in a manner that the parents can read it and have have it have access to it,” Posthumus added.

“If we can make sure schools are posting the curriculum, posting the textbooks that they'll be using, and then posting as well some field trips, and different things like that to ensure that the parents are, able to learn what's happening with their kids in the in the school system, then that provides them the empowerment that they need in order to help guide and direct their kids as they're going through the educational process,” says Posthumus.

Public school teachers are taking exception to the proposal saying it’s unnecessary, as much of the information is already available publicly and creates extra work at a time when teachers are in short supply and facing burnout.

"We are more transparent than we have ever been. And parents have plenty of ways to know what we're teaching. It's just frustrating,” says Ingrid Fournier, an elementary school teacher at Ludington Area Schools.

“From what I understand, we do this. We have our curriculum set up, we've got a lot already published in advance, but this seemed way more tedious, way more checking boxes, way more out to get you,” Fournier added.

On top of that teachers say lesson plans are often fluid because of student needs, and not completely determined before the first day of school.

“There are times where we need to slow down, or reteach, we need to modify in order to meet special needs and learning styles of students. And having to create all of this before we see our students for the first time seems a bit misguided,” says Blake Mazurek, a teacher in Grandville Public Schools.

"How does this address teacher shortage? That's a number one critical issue that we're dealing with right now. We're dealing with students who are still struggling with pandemic learning, and and trying to help students to make up some last ground where they may have missed out over the last couple of years. And this bill does nothing to address those things. Instead, what it does is it creates another barrier," Mazurek added.

They believe proposals like this lead to division between parents and teachers that shouldn’t exist, as tension have risen between the two during the pandemic.

“We're not the bad guys, just please trust us. We're really honestly trying to teach your children---there is no agenda we're not the bad guys,” Fournier added.

The bill is in the House Education Committee right now, but lawmakers believe it could reach the floor for a vote soon. Posthumus says they are also working on other bipartisan legislation to address issues like the teacher shortage.