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2017 UEA Legislative Priorities

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These priorities were developed in collaboration with hundreds of teachers across Utah. We urge policymakers to consider the following when contemplating legislation:

Education Funding

  • Strategically target funding where it makes the most difference – in the WPU. Needs are different in every school. Locally elected school boards are closest to their students and best equipped to determine the specific strategies to positively impact student learning in their school district.
  • Invest approximately $285 million new public education funding as follows:
      - Fully fund new student growth, including all line items impacted by growth (est. $68 million);
      - Fully fund current programs and levels of service (2.5% WPU / est. $72.3 million);
      - Provide a minimum 20% WPU increase over the next four years to address ongoing student needs (5% WPU in FY2018 / est. $144.6 million).
  • Fund charter schools in a manner that does not reduce neighborhood school budgets, is transparent, is equitable based on student need and provides taxpayer accountability.
  • Oppose schemes to funnel public education money to personal student accounts or privately run entities where taxpayer accountability is lost.
  • Seek solutions to the chronic underfunding of public education by fixing Utah’s flawed tax structure.

Teacher Shortage

  • Ensure each classroom has an effective teacher by addressing the root causes of Utah’s critical teacher shortage.
  • Invest in educator salaries to attract the best and the brightest to enter and remain in the teaching profession.
  • Ease the overwhelming workload heaped on Utah teachers by giving them more autonomy, reducing the number of education bills and policy changes, limiting the number of mandated initiatives and reversing the over-emphasis on testing and accountability.
  • Reduce class sizes to allow teachers the time needed to reach and inspire individual students.
  • Provide locally determined professional development and new educator mentoring programs.
  • Dedicate ongoing funding for Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) to support highly effective teachers.

Education Policies and Accountability

  • Halt the proliferation of charter and online schools until concerns about their impact on state and school district budgets and student academics are addressed.
  • Strengthen accountability standards for charter and online schools consistent with neighborhood schools, including student performance, governance, educator evaluation and financial accountability.
  • Streamline school accountability into a single measurement tool that uses multiple lines of evidence.
  • Support direct, non-partisan election of school board members.
  • Eliminate the misuse of student test scores to grade schools and impose consequences on schools.
  • Recognize teachers as experts on public education issues and consult with them in the development of education policy, procedures, budgets and law.

- Printable version of the 2017 UEA Legislative Priorities