In a recent development, state lawmaker Rep. Mark Finchem introduced the first education bill for the 2019 legislative session, directing State Board of Education to formulate a code of ethics for the teachers in every state-sponsored schools.
If the bill is passed, the code of ethics will instruct the teachers of state-run schools to not to endorse or oppose any candidate, nominee or elected or appointed official; any pending or enacted legislation, rules or regulations; any pending, proposed or decided court cases; or any pending, proposed or executed executive actions taken in any part of the Country.
He has also proposed that an issue of political controversy which is nowhere related to the education system or academic affairs should neither be discussed in school nor participated by the teachers in any forum.
Along with the code of ethics, the bill may direct the state board to enforce penalties for not observing decorum. And the bill also facilitates Three Hours annual ethics training session for all the state-run school teachers.
But this bill, if passed, will be a duplicate of already existing law that prohibits the use of public resources and public official to influence elections in any way. The existing law also bars the teachers to campaign for the participants in working hours.
The bill is allegedly aimed to stop the #RedForEd movement where thousands of teachers gathered and marched towards state capitol for the demand of increased budget and long pending school funds. But, Mark Finchem denied saying that this Code of ethics is above any movement and it’s for the higher goal of quality education.
He even said the whole movement is infamous for a few teachers as a result of which, the whole esteemed profession is getting its negative impression. Replying to this, the Vice President of Arizona Education Association, Marisol Garcia termed the bill as mere ‘political stunt.’ While we tried to take reactions from the school teachers, they said they were already aware of existing laws, and they didn’t want any political attention nor did they have any political ambitions. All they wanted is finance for running of schools.
It’s to be noted that the original draft of Finchem’s bill is not limited to political discussions only. It also instructs the teachers not to segregate a class by class, creed, and race. Inequalities from childhood would be detrimental to the growth of the nation. It indirectly advocates the ethnic diversity of our country and lets the pupils know of its importance and show ethnic solidarity.
Though this bill has already gained much criticism, it’s yet unclear how this bill is going to be proposed in early 2019 and how this is going to undergo the different stages of development until it reaches Governor Doug Ducey. If the bill is passed, we might not see any such movements by teachers on the roads related to political persons.