Arizona Capitol Times: Bill gives schools flexibility in meeting needs of each student

Originally published by Greta Forslund on March 29, 2021 in the Arizona Capitol Times.

A bill proposing changes to instructional time models for Arizona’s K-12 schools could reduce limitations that have prevented them from adopting non-traditional models more tailored to the needs of individual students. 

HB 2862 would allow school governing bodies to adopt instructional time models that utilize a mix of modalities and schedules. The bill would make possible models like project-based learning, independent learning, mastery-based learning, mixed remote and in-person instruction and staggered learning times. 

If passed, the bill wouldn’t immediately change the functions of classrooms. Changes must be given two public hearings within school districts, meet the total required number of instructional hours for each school level and keep the amount of remote instruction offered below 50% in order to continue to qualify as a brick-and-mortar school. After the first year, the maximum amount of remote instruction allowed in in-person schools will reduce to 40%. 

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, said current state law requires that Arizona schools either define themselves as in-person or online schools, and there is little room to incorporate new learning models within either category without risking a loss of funding.

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