Teachers Unite! – Legislative post by UEA Advanced Policy Ambassador Tina Martin

Legislative report submitted by UEA Advanced Policy Ambassador Tina Martin, math teacher at Margaret L. Hopkin Middle School in the Grand County School District

I was fortunate to participate in the Policy Ambassador program on January 28 during the hotbed of House Bill 234. Prior to the day, I was emailing and contacting my representative and senator asking for a solid ‘NO’ vote if this came before them. Sharing and communicating with our local teachers to be involved and who and how to contact. This bill attracted strong teacher opposition, and a solid message of “NO, this is not good for teachers or students.”

We who were once honored from grateful communities as front-line workers, who have persevered, now going into our third year of pandemic reality, who rallied to serve online learning with no training or time, who developed and continue to practice protocols to keep our children safe and secure, who have faced the fallout of TikTok and hate speech, are now faced with vilification of our professional abilities.

Fortunately, on January 28 mid-day the bill was pulled, to be re-worked over the summer. Please understand that teachers need to be part of the process. If parents feel a need for greater transparency, then an investigation should occur as part of a change in education, a change that includes those knowledgeable about education (educators) and parents. The privilege to communicate with Sen. Kathleen Riebe, Sen. David Hinkins, Rep. Carl Albrecht, Rep. Christine Watkins, and a chance meeting with our future Rep. Phil Lyman, making personable connections was valuable and an honor.

Once again seeing our UEA Legislative Team in action and the very real difference they make for us as educators is inspiring. It was a full day with coffee in the morning on the way to the Capitol at 6:30 a.m., finishing with lunch and a debrief at 2 p.m. with our Grand County team. This was truly a memorable day, and one that I could walk away from knowing I participated in the good fight for protecting education.