Originally published by Katie Dauphinais on March 24, 2021 on the ExcelinEd blog.
While it is easy to be overwhelmed by the challenges the pandemic created in education, Arizona is taking a bold step to identify the possibilities for education improvements. House Bill 2862 is an example of how Arizona policymakers quickly identified flexibilities that could be provided to districts and schools during the pandemic to better meet the needs of all students across the state.
House Bill 2862, co-sponsored by both House and Senate Education Committee Chairs Representative Michelle Udall and Senator Paul Boyer, currently pending with the Senate Rules Committee, provides schools with flexibility in their instructional time models. The bill does not remove the requirement for meeting instructional hours. Instead, it creates the opportunity for school districts and public charter schools to develop innovative ways to meet the instructional hours. This can be accomplished through a combination of instructional approaches beyond direct instruction, such as project-based learning, independent learning, mastery-based learning and remote instruction.
Education leaders engaged in conversations with school leaders across the state to identify and inform the flexibilities that are important to preserve, which helped shape House Bill 2862. Several testified in support during the House Education Committee hearing.