I have the power - Legislative post by UEA Policy Ambassador Joanna Pace
Legislative report submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Joanna Pace, second-grade teacher at Amelia Earhart Elementary School in Provo School District
“Take over my classroom for just one day, I dare you. Come and see how many roles are required of a teacher on a daily basis: teacher, counselor, caretaker, nurse, parent, police, nutritionist, moderator, etc. THEN, after you have a better idea about the needs of my students, legislate.”
Provo educator Joanna Pace (left), met with her
representative during Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 15
While I do not have the influence necessary to pull lawmakers to my classroom, I do have the power to go to them. This last week, I spent a day seeing a tiny fraction of the process and politics behind those laws that often seem out of touch with my reality. I met some representatives legislating for a better education world, and some who were happy to shake hands, smile and tell me more about their own agenda. My day up on the Hill reminded me that, for our legislators, education is just a tiny portion of the many things on their long list of budget items. How do we move education to a higher place on their priority list? How do we inform them about what we actually need in our schools? How do we hold them accountable to past promises?
Thankfully we have an incredible team in our UEA leadership that helps lobby for the rest of us that are usually unable to be away from our classrooms. (Did you know that? I didn’t know that until this year). They can’t do it alone though, and certainly, we owe ourselves and our profession some advocacy.
Maybe you can’t get a sub for a Friday to go up to Educator Day on the Hill. Look up who your representatives are and send them an email. Let them know what it means to represent you and your students as they vote for education bills and initiatives this season. They may not come into our classroom anytime soon, but we can certainly get involved and share our experiences to better inform their decisions.
About UEA Policy Ambassadors—
In 2019, seven teachers volunteered to become UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members.