Teacher Planning Time… Know Your Rights!

In Texas, law states that teachers are entitled to a daily 45-minute planning period that should be only used for lesson planning, parent conferences, and grading. Teachers do NOT have to attend other planned meetings set forth by their school and district leaders, peers, and so on. Teachers either do not know this law or know it and are still afraid to actually stand their lawful grounds by ensuring that the law is followed. Teachers need their planning time!

Texas Education Code, Section 21.404 says:
Each classroom teacher is entitled to at least 450 minutes within each two-week period for instructional preparation, including parent-teacher conferences, evaluating students’ work, and planning. A planning and preparation period under this section may not be less than 45 minutes within the instructional day. During a planning and preparation period, a classroom teacher may not be required to participate in any other activity.

The commissioner of education has interpreted the law to provide teachers with a great deal of discretion in how to use their time.

Decision of the Commissioner of Education
Strater v. Houston ISD (1986):

“The purpose of the planning and preparation period is to allow teachers ‘time to engage in parent-teacher conferences, reviewing students’ homework, and planning and preparation as the teacher, not the administration, deems best. The statute clearly relieves the teacher of any duty during this period of time and prohibits the district and its administration from requiring the teacher to engage in any other activity the administration determines to be useful and important.”

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