I learned more than I wanted to know about lesson plans from Ysleta ISD v. Porter. This turned into a major brouhaha between the district and some teachers over the level of detail the district can require teachers to produce in a lesson plan. It’s a complicated decision, parsing every syllable of Texas Education Code 11.164(a)(6). That statute is entitled “Restricting Written Information.” The statute is designed to protect teachers from overly burdensome paperwork requirements, but it identifies 10 broad categories of reports that a district can require. Among those are:
A unit or weekly lesson plan that outlines, in a brief and general manner, the information to be presented during each period at the secondary level or in each subject or topic at the elementary level. T.E.C. 11.164(a)(6).
Of course when you use subjective terms like “brief and general” in a statute, you are just inviting litigation. And so it came. When the district mandated lesson plans at Hanks High School that included TEKS objective, TAKS objectives, the cognitive level of the lesson, and the “differentiated activities” for special populations, some teachers objected.
The bottom line is that the court held that it was OK to require the TAKS and TEKS objectives, not OK to require the cognitive level, and the district agreed to drop the “differentiated activities” component.
It’s a difficult case to read, as it involves reviewing the decision of the trial court that reversed the Commissioner who upheld the district’s position. That type of judicial cartwheeling makes for hard reading. But if your teachers are complaining about lesson plans, you ought to take a look at Ysleta ISD v. Porter, decided by the 13th Court of Civil Appeals in Corpus Christi on April 13, 2015. The case is at 2015 WL 1735542.
DAWG BONE: NO ONE LIKES PAPERWORK, BUT YOU HAVE TO TURN IN THOSE LESSON PLANS.