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If a teacher showed a movie in class, legislators would know about it under proposed bill

Millbrook High School student Edgar DeLeon-Molina intently watches a scene in a movie during his English as a Second Language class on March 19, 2008. The class was watching "Miracle," the story of the 1980 U.S. hockey team winning the gold medal at the Winter Olympics. The students would watch a portion of the movie and then discuss the nuances of it. Also visible are Darisa Paez Santana (left) and Denny Cruz (right).
Millbrook High School student Edgar DeLeon-Molina intently watches a scene in a movie during his English as a Second Language class on March 19, 2008. The class was watching "Miracle," the story of the 1980 U.S. hockey team winning the gold medal at the Winter Olympics. The students would watch a portion of the movie and then discuss the nuances of it. Also visible are Darisa Paez Santana (left) and Denny Cruz (right). cliddy@newsobserver.com

A state lawmaker wants to know what movies are being shown to students during school hours, and that's leaving some North Carolina teachers feeling insulted.

House Bill 1079 would require all North Carolina school districts and charter schools to report to the state which movies were shown during instructional time this school year from November through January and from April through June. Schools would also be required to say when the movies were shown, the amount of time they were shown and the instructional purpose for viewing them.

Monthly totals would also be required on the number and percentage of classrooms viewing a movie and the number and percentage of instructional hours spent viewing movies. The bill would provide the state Department of Public Instruction with $100,000 to compile the information and present it to state lawmakers by Nov. 15.

Rep. Justin Burr, the Stanly County Republican who is the bill's primary sponsor, did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.

But the legislation has drawn angry comments from some teachers since it was filed Thursday.

"It implies teachers are lazy and unprofessional, putting on movies in lieu of actually teaching," said Justin Parmenter, a language arts teacher at Waddell Language Academy in Charlotte. "It’s particularly ironic to have an attempt of this type of intrusive, heavy-handed micromanaging come from the party of smaller government."

Parmenter tweeted Saturday that the use of film as a teaching method is permitted under state education standards.

"I'd respectfully suggest that you stop trying to legislate pedagogy for licensed professionals and allow us to do the work we were hired to do," Parmenter added in another tweet.

Several other teachers have also taken to social media to question the bill.

"Y’all this is what the #NCGA has time for while in session," tweeted Christina Spears, a former teacher and now special assistant to Rodney Trice, Wake County's assistant superintendent for equity affairs. "Can’t write budget as a bill so folks can debate and comment, but they’re worried about Ts showing movies during instructional time. Seriously?! Now I gotta prepare a few emails today."

John DeVille, a social studies teacher at Franklin High School in Macon County, noted in a tweet that Burr lost his re-election bid in the Republican primary in May.

"The NC teacher corps is pleased with your newfound interest in quality instructional time as you prepare to clean out your desk," DeVille tweeted to Burr on Saturday. "If you have a moment to file a slightly more constructive bill, we would appreciate one which cut required time to facilitate state-mandated testing cut in half AND one which would restore school year and testing calendar flexibility to the LEAs."

T. Keung Hui: 919-829-4534, @nckhui
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