Thursday, March 29, 2012

SB64 - Public Education Employment Reform Act

I wanted to share the following links about SB64. Several JEA members are featured in the videos on both UEA and KSL.  Please read the information and watch the videos to see what UEA has done for you this past Legislative Session. 

UEA information

Deseret News Article

KSL news piece

Executive Board Meeting

The JEA Executive Board met last night.  We discussed the UEA House of Delegates, EFT conversion progress, membership, PAC working on races within the Republican party prior to convention, a possible reduction in local dues to make up for increases in UEA and NEA dues, and creating an Election Committee. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012


JEA PAC met on Tuesday.  Carolyn Cartmell at West Jordan Middle and Suzette Johnson at Columbia won the $25 gift cards for attending their caucus meetings. 

PAC is going to be interviewing Republican candidates for Utah House and Senate seats within Jordan District boundaries.  Should candidates receive our support prior to the Republican Convention, I will let you know. 

If you don't currently contribute to PAC but you recognize the importance of having education friendly candidates at the state legislature, please go to the JEA website and click on Political Action Contributions Form.  You can send your contribution through District mail to the JEA Office.  Decisions impacting nearly every aspect of teaching are made by elected officials.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Legislative Council (AR) Meeting

We had a good AR Meeting last night.  We heard from Dan Bseiso of Western Governor's University about discounts, scholarships, and fee waivers for NEA members.  Please contact Dan at for more information.

Congratulations to the following schools for being on track to have 100% EFT flips by the end of May:  JATC (100%), Southland (100%), Jordan Ridge, West Jordan Elementary, Rosamond, Oakcrest, Eastlake, West Jordan Middle, Majestic, Copper Canyon, Elk Meadows, Elk Ridge, Valley, Butterfield Canyon, Westvale, Hayden Peak, and Terra Linda!

We heard speeches from the candidates for JEA Offices.  See this blog post for more information.  Primary voting for vice president is taking place now through Thursday, March 22.  Ballots are due by 5:00 to the JEA Office or the mailroom at the ASB.  Finalists will be announced on Friday.  Once general election ballots are printed, they will be sent out.

We also discussed the legislative session that just concluded.  Many items that UEA was worried about including limits to collective bargaining, loss of payroll deduction for dues collection, vouchers/tuition tax credits, and eliminating orderly termination died this year.  The budget funds new student growth, a 1.16% on the WPU, which will cover the increased costs of Social Security and retirement, and teacher supply money.  Computer adaptive testing was funded as well.  If you are a parent and wish to be on the School Community Council at the school your child attends, you may now do that.  There is a pilot program for Peer Assistance and Review, a program developed by NEA over 20 years ago.  We will wait to see if Jordan applies to be part of that pilot.

SB64 - Public Education Employment Reform was discussed at length.  Please visit UEA Under the Dome for all the details.  If you have any questions about this bill, please let me know.  UEA, Utah School Boards Association, and other education groups were involved in writing this bill.  It raises accountability, emphasizes instructional improvement, ties salary to satisfactory performance, expedites the dismissal process, and provides guidelines for administrator evaluations.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Caucus Meetings are Coming!

Caucus meetings being held next week are extremely important.  If you choose not to become a delegate, please attend your caucus meeting and vote for delegates who are aligned with your positions, especially on public education.  Below are some questions to ask of those who are running as delegates to determine their position on public education.

People concerned about federal issues should run to be state delegates, while those concerned about state and local issues should run to be county delegates.  If your state house or senate boundaries cross county lines, you would need to be a state delegate to select candidates for state races. 

Seeking Education Champions
Caucus meetings are critical!

-       Find the location of your caucus meeting here (must be a registered voter)

Utah’s students and teachers need lawmakers who support public education. In Utah, our lawmakers are often chosen long before their names ever show up on a public election ballot. That’s because candidates are selected by political parties and political parties in Utah use a “caucus and convention” system to pick their candidates. Under this system, neighbors meet together in a “caucus” and elect “delegates” who represent their neighbors. These delegates then gather at a party “convention” to vote on which candidate(s) they want to be on the ballot.

Come caucus night (March 13 for the Democrats and March 15 for the Republicans) it’s critical that you do three things:

1)     Attend your caucus meeting along with as many like-minded neighbors as you can get to come and support you;

2)     Run as a delegate; and

3)     Vote for other education-friendly delegates who will in turn support education-friendly candidates.

Selecting Education Friendly Delegates—

How do you know if a delegate is education friendly? At the caucus meeting, you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions of those running as delegates. Here are some questions you can ask potential delegates at your caucus meeting:

-          What do you view as Utah’s top priorities?
Surveys suggest most Utahns view education as the state’s No. 1 priority with the economy a close second in most polls. Be wary of candidates with an “agenda” not in line with your neighborhood priorities.

-          Do you support additional funding for public education?
By a wide margin, Utah ranks last in the U.S. for the amount it spends per student on education and the vast majority of Utahns believe our public schools are underfunded. The UEA supports additional funding for research-based reforms that will improve student achievement.

-          What public education reforms do you support?
The UEA supports research-based reforms proven to boost student achievement such as smaller class sizes (Utah has by far the nation’s largest), increased student access to technology, enhanced early intervention programs, training and collaboration opportunities for teachers, and reforms that focus on attracting and retaining a quality teacher in every classroom. The UEA does not support paying teachers based solely on test scores, diverting funds from public schools to for-profit companies without taxpayer accountability, or reforms that would result in inequality of student access to educational programs.

Vote for delegates who support the same positions you do, or better yet, consider running yourself – it’s really not that difficult and can make a HUGE difference!

2012 Caucus Meetings—

2012 caucus meetings will be held March 13 (Democratic) and March 15 (Republican). Find the location of your caucus meeting at

For more information, visit  You can view the Utahns for Public Schools PowerPoint on becoming a delegate here.

 JEA members will be sent a survey on Friday, March 16 about caucus attendance.  If you attend your caucus meeting, you will be entered in a drawing for one of two $25 restaurant gift cards!  Drawing sponsored by the JEA PAC.
Thank you in advance for attending your caucus meeting.  This is the first step in making a change in who makes laws impacting your classroom!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Educator Day on the Hill

JEA had nine teachers in attendance at Educator Day on the Hill:  Cyndee Bowser and Krista Pippin from Southland, Robin Frodge from West Jordan High, Kevin Ball, JEA VP from Rosamond, Jannifer Young and her mom from Elk Ridge, Heather Reich from Majestic, Karlin Coombs from Elk Meadows, Mallory Meyer and Lanny Sorensen from Sunset Ridge. 

Jannifer and her mom served the UEA sponsored break snacks in the Senate kitchen.  Kevin, Mallory, and Cyndee were interviewed by KSL for a piece they will be doing on teachers and the needs they see in their classrooms.  We were able to talk to many representatives including Newbold, Bird, Poulson, McCay, Ivory, and Bricoe.  Senator Osmond came to lunch and spoke to us about SB64 and how happy he is with the collaboration that went into that bill.

There are only 4 days left in the legislative session.  Please write your legislator in the House of Representatives and ask him/her to support SB64 as written.  See Under the Dome for more information.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Meeting with Dr. Johnson

My monthly meeting with Superintendent Johnson was this morning.  We discussed the activities at the legislature and the great work that has been done by Senator Osmond on SB64.  We reviewed the Board discussion about where and when to build a new elementary school and the need for a bond to meet the needs of growth in the District.

I talked with Dr. Johnson about JPAS.  When she spoke to the JEA ARs, she mentioned something negative about JPAS, and so I asked her about this.  She said the two problems she sees are that there is no student growth component, and that there is not enough reflection and goal-setting based on results.  The Educator Evaluation workgroup through the State Office of Education is likely to include these elements as part of their recommendations.  JPAS would then need to be modifying to add student growth and individual goal-setting.  JPAS is being used a s basis and model for the statewide recommendations.  I expect JPAS to be enhanced, but not replaced.

Jordan Education Foundation

The Jordan Education Foundation Board met this morning.  This is a great group of business leaders who work to find donations to benefit the students and teachers of Jordan District.  The Fundraising Breakfast raised $18,000!  The Foundation Outstanding Educator Awards nominations are due Friday, March 16.  See this link to nominate a teacher at your school.  Giving detailed examples of the great things the teacher does will be considered over generalizations.  I hope to have many JEA members recognized by the Foundation!