Demonstration highlights groups’ support for public education, educators | News, Sports, Jobs


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People hold signs in support of teachers at a rally for public education held at the Utah State Capitol on Saturday, February 12, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Clearfield High School graduate Carter Coleman speaks at a public education rally held at the Utah State Capitol on Saturday, February 12, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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People hold signs in support of teachers at a rally for public education held at the Utah State Capitol on Saturday, February 12, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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A Valentine’s card is sent to librarians throughout Utah.

Photo courtesy, Genevra Prothero

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John Arthur, Utah Teacher of the Year 2021, speaks at a public education rally held at the Utah State Capitol on Saturday, February 12, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Marsha MP Juddkins, R-Provo, speaks at a rally for public education held at the Utah State Capitol on Saturday, February 12, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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On Monday, 1,347 state librarians will receive Valentine’s Day cards thanking them for everything they do.

The plan began in December when Geneva Protero, a father from Davis County School, came up with the idea to send Christmas cards to librarians, but when there was no time to do everything, Frank Brennan’s proposal prompted everyone to turn to Valentine’s Day. It took 15 volunteers to sign each card by hand. “It’s a dedicated effort,” Brennan said.

It was originally planned to send cards to each public school librarian, but after the ball ended, charter schools, private schools, and public librarians were added to the mailing list.

Every member of the various organizations behind the cards has done so because of the belief that reading is key for children, that they should be able to find and discover the right books.

On Saturday, the group responsible for the cards – along with teachers, parents and select officials – rallied in support of public education at the Utah State Capitol.

MP Marche Judkins came from Provo to the rally. The Republican lawmaker, a former member of the Provo City School Board, sparked laughter in the crowd, noting that her presence was a testament to bipartisan support for public education.

The legislative session itself from the very beginning has been deeply focused on education and schools.

Without highlighting a separate bill, Judkins said: “Some of the bills that came out seemed to our educators a real slap in the face.”

She mentioned a poll she conducted among voters that showed more support in her constituency, which covers part of Provo, for funding education than the recently adopted tax cut. She also mentioned concerns about a recently introduced bill that would aim to create a school voucher program. She worries that House of Representatives Bill 331 could have “unintended consequences”.

In Utah, vouchers have an important history: they were passed by the legislature in 2007 before they were repealed by voters.

“It’s a rather complex bill, and we really need to sort it out and ask tough questions … ‘How will this affect the future?'” Judkins added that there are parts of the bill that have merit, namely in terms of of this bill. home schooling.

Saying that one should think about funding parents who study at their children’s home, she added that then there should be accountability.

Talks about the roles of teachers and the public school system are being held at all levels across the country.

The Tennessee school board has been the subject of nationwide debate since the decision to ban the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel “Maus” depicting the Holocaust through cats and mice.

In November, the Canyons School District in Sandy pulled nine books off the shelves following parental complaints. All the books included a discussion of racism, sex and LGBT issues.

On Friday, a spokesman for Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, introduced HB 374, called “Conventional Materials in Schools,” which prohibits schools from having materials that include sexual content or obscene language.

It will also allow parents to sue educational institutions, school boards or schools if the parent alleges a violation and confidential material is not removed from the school.

One of the first bills to hit the governor’s desk during the legislative session struggled with the decision to move schools to “Test to Stay” protocols away from school boards and health departments and to the legislature.

The talks were straightforward, pointing to a red piece of paper with a list of bills to oppose, and a green one with bills to support, and broad about the value of public education – what the teacher means in students’ lives, the role of special education and difference in the lives of individual teachers.

While Saturday’s rally was led by educators and advocates, several students took to the steps of the Capitol. The first, a third-grader from Cash County, had a simple message: “I love public education because I love my teacher so much.”

Another was Carter Coleman, a 2019 Clearyfield High School graduate. Coleman told the story of his creative writing teacher Lorin Harris, a man who he said made an impact by caring for students and connecting with them.

“Sir. Harris saw and understood that many of his students would go to this class hurt. Many of them sought liberation through writing,” Coleman said. “He created an atmosphere, a place where every student felt safe. “Every student felt that they meant something and that they could come to this class and feel free. I am grateful that I was able to pass his class.”

Groups involved in sending out Valentine’s Day cards include Librarian Shirley, Utah Citizens for Positive Change, Murray Equity Alliance, Utah Educational Equity Discussion Group, Equity in Education Cache County, 1Utah Project and CD4 Coalition.

Representatives of Carol Moss and Elizabeth Waite, both Democrats from Salt Lake, and Senator Kathleen Ribe from Cottonwood Heights also spoke at the rally. All three shared the same message with Judkins and other speakers. participate in classes, school boards and government.

“If you are here today, you have the right to run for office. You have been summoned to office, ”Rybe said. “If you’re here today, you’re taking the first step in running.”



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