Can Trustees tell a teacher how to teach?
Is it legal for a school board to tell its teachers HOW to teach if, up to this point, there has been no formal complaint about how the teachers were teaching?
Your question does not explain in what manner the school board is telling "its teachers how to teach." Generally, the constitution and statutes provide: The Montana Constitution at Article X, Section 8 provides, "The supervision and control of schools in each school district shall be vested in a board of trustees to be elected as provided by law."
The Legislature prescribed the powers and duties of the board of trustees in 20-3-324, MCA. Subsection (17) provides: the trustees shall "establish and maintain the instructional services of the schools of the district in accordance with the provisions of the instructional services, textbooks, K-12 career and vocational/technical education and special education parts of this title." Subsection (27) provides: "perform any other duty and enforce any other requirements for the government of the schools prescribed by this title, the policies of the board of public education, or the rules of the superintendent of public instruction."
Chapter 54 of the Administrative Rules of Montana contains the content and performance standards adopted by the Board of Public Education. School districts are required to use these standards in developing curriculum and assessment. These standards "describe what students shall know, understand and be able to do in these content areas. Benchmarks define the expectations for students' knowledge, skills, and abilities along a developmental continuum in each content area."
Chapter 55 contains accreditation requirements adopted by the Board of Public Education which districts are required to comply with in order to maintain accreditation.
20-4-301, MCA lists a teacher's duties which include "(1)(a) conform to and enforce the laws, board of public education policies and policies of the trustees of the district; (b) use the course of instruction prescribed by the trustees" and "(f) provide moral and civic instruction by: (i) endeavoring to impress the pupils with the principles of morality, truth, justice, and patriotism, including any curriculum related to the flag prescribed by the trustees; (ii) teaching the pupils to avoid idleness, profanity, and falsehood; and (iii) instructing the pupils in the principles of free government and training them to comprehend the rights, responsibilities and dignity of American citizenship."
If this does not address the specific concerns that you have, you may want to review the school board policies for your district, your bargaining agreement and contract of employment and call your union representative for assistance.
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