The following priorities are critical to supporting Utah’s educator workforce and students who have faced the disruption and stress of two years of a pandemic. We urge the legislature to recognize educators as experts on public education issues and work collaboratively.
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After fulfilling statutory education funding requirements, address the following:
- Provide at least a 6.5% increase on the WPU (est. $292 million), for a total WPU increase of at least 10% including inflation and student enrollment growth.
- Increase Paid Professional Hours for all licensed educators (est. $80 million one-time).
- Enhance funding for students at-risk of academic failure by increasing weights on the At-Risk Student line item (est. $25 million).
- Expand optional full-day kindergarten.
- Oppose schemes that funnel funds intended for public education to personal student accounts or privately-run entities where taxpayer accountability is lost.
- (View the 2023 UEA Budget Priorities)
Quality Instruction and Student Equity
- Ensure each classroom has an effective teacher by funding strategies to identify and address the root causes of Utah’s critical educator shortage.
- Invest in programs that develop a pathway for diverse educators to the teaching profession, including in rural areas or hard-to-staff subjects and schools.
- Improve teacher retention through comprehensive educator induction and mentoring programs.
- Increase resources for school safety and student social and emotional well-being such as school psychologists, social workers and counselors.
- Reduce class sizes to allow teachers the time needed to reach and inspire individual students and meet every student’s unique learning needs are met.
- Promote student attendance and family supports to ensure a strong sense of belonging and improve student academic outcomes.
- Value educators as trusted professionals to develop instructional materials based on adopted Utah core standards and local district policies.
- Eliminate the overuse of standardized testing and the misuse of student test scores to grade schools and impose consequences on schools.
- Enact a moratorium on new mandated education initiatives to recognize the overwhelming workload and stress already heaped on Utah educators.
- Protect the constitutional mandate of the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands (SITLA and SITFO) to safeguard the rights of beneficiaries, primarily Utah’s school children.