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Michigan’s HB 5722 Is Not About Posting a Year of Lesson Plans.

February 20, 2022

Michigan is in the news for a piece of legislation, House Bill 5722, which amends Act 94 of Michigan’s State School Aid Act of 1979 to “not later than the first day of the school year… make available to the public” certain information related to curriculum for a given school year. News reporting of the legislation is misleading, as the legislation itself does not mention the need for teachers to report a year’s worth of lesson plans in advance. In fact, as it is written to date, HB 5722 does not even mention lesson plans.

According to one HB 5722 sponsor, Rep. Bryan Posthumus, the legislation is supposed to “empower parents,” a phrase often associated with school choice but not mentioned just over a decade ago when “states” including Michigan developed Common Core and pushed it down America’s– parents’– throats. (Refresh your memories here with then US ed sec Arne Duncan’s 2013 “white suburban moms” comment.)

As for HB 5277, the threat is to cut state funding by five percent “after the date of noncompliance” for any Michigan district that does not post the following by the first day of school:

  • (a) The curriculum approved by the district for each school operated by the district.
  • (b) Each class offered to pupils of the district as part of the curriculum described in subdivision (a).
  • (c) Textbooks, literature, research projects, writing assignments, and field trips that are part of the curriculum described in subdivision (a).
  • (d) Extracurricular activities being implemented during designated school hours or under the authority of the school.
  • (e) A list of each certificated teacher or other individual authorized under state law to teach in this state who is charged with implementing the curriculum described in subdivision (a).

Let’s consider what the above would actually require of districts, should HB 5722 be enacted as written above.

First of all, to fulfil section (a), the district would need to post its own approved curriculum for its schools. This mandate is for the posting of district-approved curriculum by the first day of the school year. So, if a given Michigan district does not already have curriculum posted for its classes, then this curriculum would need to be posted for the entire year. Note that the legislation does not ask that the curriculum be divided into any particular subsections (i.e., grading periods, specific weeks or days). Just post approved curriculum for the year.

As for section (b), districts would need to make public what amounts to a course listing guide.

Section (c) is a bit more specific like a syllabus, but again, no dates need be attached. Name books to be used, a list of readings, research projects (note no required depth of detail is mentioned; according to the wording of (c), generalities will do), writing assignments (vague, but again, as this legislation is written, a general mention of the assignment and brief description fulfil the required posting), and field trips (general mention; this legislation as written does not mandate providing exact dates; if the legislation is written in generalities, leverage this fact and answer in kind).

Section (d) concerns extracurricular activities of the school. Name the activities; note their frequency, and that’s that.

Finally, section (e) amounts to a listing of certificated teachers employed by the district as of the first day of class.

If the information above is posted by the first day of school, then a district receives full funding. End of story. This is important to note: In HB 5722, there is no mechanism for auditing the posted information, which any resonable human being knows will change as the school year progresses (i.e., teachers retire or change jobs; pandemics cancel field trips; online teaching resources become unavailable and substitutions must ne made). The lack of auditing mechanism means this one-and-done demonstration is just for show. No state funding will be cut once the information is posted, and the Michigan legislators who proposed and voted for this window dressing can tout their accomplishment in “empowerng parents.”

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3 Comments
  1. speduktr permalink

    Just a lot of busywork. Of course, it does cut down on those spur of the moment activities that arise from classroom discussions/activities. I suppose those are less likely in a high school class, but were quite common in my experience K-8. Sounds like a recipe for deadening those classrooms. “Sorry, guys, we can’t study butterflies because they are not in the curriculum.”

    • I don’t think so. Once that “busywork” is submitted to the state, the issue is over. Just as there will be changes in personnel beyond the first day, there can be added activities that “supplement” the curriculum.

  2. Two bits says that all the adminimals and their adminions will interpret this completely different than you do. They’ll hammer the teachers into submission to their will to the fullest extent possible.

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