February 2016 Message

February 2016 Message:
by Keith Tondro

“UEA-Retired Educator on the Hill”  Feb 10, 2016

My experience began at a 7 am briefing, bringing our attention to the many issues on the hill.  We were able to attend the Education Appropriations Committee meeting.  Where most presentations were sale pitches for programs that venders wanted the State to purchase or continue funding.  I found the absences of a representative from the State Board of Education promoting what the state needs in education troubling.  There was also an absent of teacher input on many programs impact in the classroom. This meeting drove home the importance of teachers contacting legislators about education; otherwise they mostly receive a vendor‘s or administration’s bias view.  Most discussion from the legislators was concerned with how cheap and how many students, not was it needed by teachers and students.

What to do when attending “UEA-Retired Educator on the Hill”.

  • Listen to the briefing of what is happening on the Hill.
  • Be ready to tell your story of your needs and success in the classroom.
  • Visit the desks setup outside the Senate and Representatives chambers.
  • Note: Senators generally do not come out to talk, so a thank you card and a note of concern – keep to one point.
  • Fill in form, provided at the desk, to talk with your representative and write what you want to mention, when they come out.
  • Give a thank you for their service.
  • Give a brief 1 minute explanation of your concern or talking point.
  • Present them with something to read or card of thanks.
  • Thank them for listening.
  • Take a few minutes to observe in the gallery what the legislators do during the session.
  • Attend the debriefing of what your experience with the legislator was.
  • When home,
  • visit http://www.le.utah.gov.  and
  • http://www.myuea.org/issues_action/uea_under_the_dome.aspx sites and send comments on what they are working on.  Keep the dialogue going with your Representative and Senator.
  • We will make a difference; our voice is not heard unless we speak up.
  • Attend the next “UEA-Retired Educator on the Hill” event, February 25th 2016; 7 am to 2 pm meet in the Seagull Room in the Senate Building.  You are needed.