Friday, February 21, 2014

Educator Day on the Hill - February 21, 2014

Today, Jenny Pedler from Kauri Sue Hamilton School accompanied me at UEA's Educator Day on the Hill.  There was a great turnout with teachers from as far away as Washington County, Iron County, and Cache County!  I saw Richard Osborn, Janice Voorhies, Kayleen Whitelock, Susan Pulsipher, and Peggy Jo Kennett from the Jordan School Board.  I also saw Dr. Johnson, Burke Jolley, and Mike Anderson from Jordan District Administration.

We attended the House Education Committee.  Senator Osmond presented SB103 S1 with an amendment that 4 instructional days could be used for professional development for teachers.  This passed out of committee favorably.

Representative Cunningham presented HB116 about changing requirements and oversight of school construction.  This passed out of committee favorably.

Representative Ivory presented HB109 which would take money in excess of the 9% maximum in the rainy day fund and use it to provide capital funds for qualifying districts.  Under the current proposal, a district would receive around $1.5 million next year (this is about 10% of what a new elementary school costs).  This passed out of committee favorably.

Senator Adams presented SB148 which would make the UPSTART program permanent.  This passed out of committee favorably.

Jenny and I then went to try to talk to some representatives.  She wanted to talk to Representative Cunningham, but he was not on the floor today.  We were able to talk to Representative Knotwell about increasing the WPU, funding retirement and social security on a separate line item, adding professional development days, and the problems with HB131, Speaker Lockhart's technology proposal.  He listened and agreed with us on HB131.

During lunch, several senators and representatives came to talk to the teachers.  The one surprise was Senator Howard Stephenson.  He came in and told us that he had sponsored the charter school legislation and online classroom laws and that he thought these were "silver bullets". He admitted that is not true.  He said, "The proportion of F schools under the school grading in charter schools is actually higher proportioned than for neighborhood schools."  He said the "macrochoice" of parents to be able to choose their school has less impact than the "microchoices" happening inside classrooms with computer adaptive learning.  "What you (teachers) are doing is far more significant than the macrochoices of parents." 

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