Utahns speak out in support of public education, decry ‘unnecessary’ bills

Alison Haynes, a second-grade teacher at Whittier Elementary School, chanted at a rally in support of public schools outside the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Teachers, school officials, parents and students gathered on the southern steps of the Capitol to oppose bills pushing through the legislature and to advocate for more support for teachers and public education. (Christine Murphy, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY – Teachers, school officials, parents and students withstood the stormy weather and marched on the southern steps of the Utah State Capitol on Tuesday to oppose bills that go through the legislature and advocate for more support for teachers and public education .

The rally, organized by the Salt Lake Education Association, the Granite Education Association, the Park City Education Association, the Canyons Association and the Jordan Education Association, drew hundreds of people to the Capitol, where they chanted in support of public education and listened to speeches by teachers and school staff. and parents.

In particular, speakers spoke out against HB234, a bill that requires all Utah public school teachers to post all instructional materials and programs on each day of instructions for parental review, saying the bill adds unnecessary work to a profession that is “overloaded and in crisis.” “. ».

“Some may say that transparency bills are just opening the door for parents who can participate in education and improve their students’ curriculum, ”said Kelly Yates, a teacher in the Park City School District. “In fact, these laws close opportunities for students, they stifle the creativity of teachers and send a direct message that they do not trust us. It’s demoralizing, and it needs to stop. “

The sponsor of the bill, the representative of Jordan Teusher, South Jordan, has already rejected the proposal for this legislative session. Tewshar’s January 28 statement said that because of the “coordinated disinformation campaign” against HB234, he had spent most of his time “putting out fires” and believed that it would take longer than the session to pass.

In addition, the speakers called for increased support from administrators, more funding for public schools, more competitive compensation, reduced class size, stimulating college curricula to attract more students to education, and urged lawmakers to support and trust the experience of educators.

“Talk to your leaders, ask them what they’re going to do to make you stand here and represent Utah’s biggest business – education,” said Sen. Kathleen Ribe from D-Cottonwood Heights, who is also a public school teacher.

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