Persistence is the Key - Legislative post by UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest


Legislative report submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest, teacher at Ogden High School in Ogden School District

UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest (left) participated
in UEA Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 8
It doesn’t matter if you are a first-year teacher or a twenty-year veteran teacher. Each year you are going to have unique challenges that will take a long time to overcome in the classroom. The difficulty of these issues is why persistence is so crucial in addressing all the adversity teachers face each year. Not every solution, intervention or accommodation will work every single time. However, a response or an idea that does not assist the issue has ever stopped a teacher from building from their experience and finding new ideas and solutions.

The same kind of persistence has been effective in committee meetings at the legislature. When new bills are proposed, there are a lot of questions, concerns and skepticism that can come from any member of the Utah State Legislature. Educators and the UEA Legislative Team must be persistent in every way possible to address all the issues that may arise. The uncertainty and concerns may persist for many weeks during the session, however, with the strong efforts of everyone involved, these challenges can be resolved and the goals and priorities of educators will keep moving forward.

A prime example of this has been House Bill 71 involving sex education. This bill is vital to me because of the help and support it could provide my students, who have urgently needed more information about this crucial topic. The questions and concerns were there from the education committee and it didn't make it out of committee when they voted on the resolution.

After more work and support, the bill was introduced again with amendments and was able to pass out of the committee. This success would have never been possible without the persistence to keep trying at all costs. Educators and the association have seen many struggles, but every day they keep fighting, and their actions have paid off by the results of legislation getting approved at each step.

As educators, we understand that the process is never natural and there are a lot of different emotions along the way. However, we never stop and give up on the process because our students depend on it. In the classrooms, we have made the progress of finding new solutions that didn’t come easy but have changed teaching. It takes a lot of persistence after failure to reach all students. The same progress in legislation could have never been made without the perseverance to work through many struggles and shortcomings to get the solutions and support teachers and students need.

About UEA Policy Ambassadors—

In 2019, seven teachers volunteered to become UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members.

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