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UEA Report on the 2019 Utah Legislature General Session

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WEEK THREE: 

WEEK IN REVIEW: February 11-15, 2019


Salt Lake teachers meet with Rep. Sandra Hollins

A bill to create a new education funding distribution mechanism, in addition to the WPU, passed a committee this week despite concerns expressed by the UEA about its being redundant and prescriptive on school districts. Bills to eliminate grading of schools and to allow the use of test scores for grades both passed the full House. The subcommittee charged with recommending a public education budget heard dozens of funding requests during the week. Final recommendations are expected on Feb. 19. The number of education-related bills being tracked by UEA was just 66 compared to 77 by the end of WEEK THREE last year.

UEA wary of TSSA alternate funding plan tied to test scores

SB149: Teacher and Student Success Act, presented in the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 13, adds an entirely new public education funding distribution method to several existing systems. The bill establishes the Teacher and Student Success Account (TSSA) to fund the new distribution system and requires each school to create an “outcome-based program plan,” tied heavily to test scores, to access the money.

Sara Jones, speaking on behalf of the UEA at the Committee meeting, raised concerns about the need to create a complex new distribution method when there is not a significant new source of revenue to fund the program. She also stated that the $65 million allocated last year could continue to be distributed through the flexible allocation line item or, preferably, through the WPU which is the most flexible account for local districts. The bill passed unanimously and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

House passes bills to eliminate grading of schools and to allow the use of test scores for grades

Two UEA-supported bills dealing with grades passed the House and now go to the Senate for consideration. HB198: Education Accountability Amendments removes the requirement for the State Board of Education to use a letter grade when assigning a school an overall rating. It passed on a vote of 68-2. This bill will face a much tougher test in the Senate. HB118: Incentives for Statewide Assessment Performance allows a teacher to use a student’s score on certain assessments to improve the student’s academic grade or demonstrate the student’s competency. It passed on a vote of 58-14.

 
An apple for the teacher.,,Sen. Jerry
Stevenson and Heidi Matthews 
share a light moment at the Capitol
Other bills of interest on the move this week included:

  • HB188: T.H. Bell Program Amendments would convert the current T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Program to a scholarship program for students pursuing teacher preparation in college, with a priority given to first-generation college students. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously and now goes to the full House for consideration.
  • HB130 (1st sub.): Public Education Exit Survey directs the Utah State Board of Education to create standards for an educator “exit survey” to be administered when a teacher leaves employment to collect data to better understand causes of the teacher shortage. The UEA supports the bill. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
  • HJR13: Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution - State Board of Education was presented in the House Education Committee. This resolution would pave the way for to enact a companion bill, HB242: State Board of Education Revisions, which would shrink the number of State Board of Education members from 15 to nine and instead of being elected by voters the Board would be appointed by the Governor. No action was taken on the bill during the meeting. The bill’s sponsor indicated she would be presenting a substitute bill at a later date to create a task force to study State Board governance and make recommendations for the next legislative session.

Public Ed budget recommendations expected Feb. 19

The “base” funding bill for public education passed both Houses unanimously and was sent to the Governor for signing this week, but the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee has yet to make a formal proposal for increased public education funding. That proposal is expected on Feb. 19. Meanwhile, the Subcommittee continued to hear dozens of new education funding requests.

Huge turnout for Educator Day on the Hill


More than 100 teachers and school professionals
participated in UEA Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 15
Good weather combined with recess for several school districts led to a near-record attendance at UEA Educator Day on the Hill. More than 100 teachers and education support professionals gathered, including a large contingent from Salt Lake Education Association that made up about a third of the group. Also represented were Davis, Alpine, Granite, Box Elder, Provo, Ogden and Grand School Districts, as well as UEA Retired, Utah School Employees Association and the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.

Education ‘Policy Ambassadors’ Share Lobbying Experiences

UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest (left) participated
in UEA Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 8
This year, 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. Here are this week’s articles submitted by these teacher ambassadors:

Have I Done Enough? - by UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest, teacher at Ogden High School in Ogden School District

“Every time the school bell rings to excuse classes for the day, the same question goes through my mind. That question has always been "Have I done enough for my students?" I am not confident that I will ever receive a complete answer to this question, but I believe that I must keep trying everything possible to gain a piece of mind when I answer that question after every school day…” - read the full article by Isac Ernest

Hear Me Roar! - by UEA Policy Ambassador Bianca Mittendorf, teacher at North Davis Jr. High School in Davis School District

“Friday, February 8, marked the second time I was able to participate in UEA’s Educator Day on the Hill. Though I had experienced the event previously, I still felt the same sense of accomplishment and empowerment as I walked under the Capitol Rotunda. It was awe inspiring to know that I was being given an opportunity to advocate for public education. As usual, I felt a little trepidation as I considered what I would say when I had a chance to speak with my lawmakers: Should I reference an upcoming bill that I really know nothing about? Will they be able to sense how nervous I am and therefore not listen to me? What if I say the wrong thing?...” - read the full article by Bianca Mittendorf



Huge turnout for Educator Day on the Hill – February 15, 2019


More than 100 teachers and school professionals
participated in UEA Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 15
Educator Day on the Hill (reported by Mike Kelley): It was the perfect storm – several school districts on recess, hot topics on the Hill, and…no storm. The weather cooperated, making way for more than 100 teachers and education support professionals to gather for UEA Educator Day on the Hill. A large contingent from Salt Lake Education Association made up about a third of the group. Also represented were Davis, Alpine, Granite, Box Elder, Provo, Ogden and Grand School Districts, as well as UEA Retired, Utah School Employees Association and the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.


Salt Lake teachers meet with Rep. Sandra Hollins
Several legislators stopped by to visit with participants. Reps. Marie PoulsonKaren Kwan and Joel Briscoe, along with Sen. Kathleen Riebe, thanked teachers for their service and discussed some of the hot education issues. Rep. Steve Eliason, House Chair of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, shared some insight into what he believes education funding will look like at the end of the session. He said he is hopeful that, “if all the pots of money were added together, (public education funding) will be very close to the requests from the UEA and other education groups.”

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB64 (3rd sub.): Lobbyist Expenditures Amendmentsputs in place the same lobbyist expenditure laws currently used by the Legislature and expands them to other elected bodies, including local school boards. It passed the Senate unanimously.


Public Ed budget committee hears dozens of funding requests – February 14, 2019

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The subcommittee continued to hear from legislators asking that their bills and projects be funded, including: Student Credential Enhancement to CTE Career Skills Certification (Rep. Shipp), Junior Achievement (Rep. Peterson), Interventions for Reading Difficulties (Sen. Millner), Unified Sports in High Schools (Rep. Quinn), Grand County School CTE Addition (Rep. Watkins), Create Utah: Digital Literacy Initiative (Rep. Waldrip), HB236: Teacher Salary Supplement Amendments (Rep. Christofferson), Grade 4-6 Reading Assessment Tool (Sen. Stevenson), KnowWhere Campus Safety & Emergency Communication (Rep. Briscoe), Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (Rep. Waldrip) and Utah Computer Science Grant (Rep. Knotwell).

Governor’s Office of Management and Budget staff member Jacob Wright, Governors Education Advisor Tami Pyfer and Utah State Board of Education staff member Scott Jonespresented the differences between the Board’s budget request and the Governor’s budget request. State Board Chair Mark Huntsman reiterated the Board’s emphasis on funding the WPU. He said they have great confidence in the local boards in using the money wisely.

House Education Committee (reported by Mike Kelley): Three UEA-tracked bills were heard in the Committee, all passed unanimously:

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HCR14: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging High Expectations for Students with Disabilities describes the benefits students of all abilities obtain when students with disabilities participate in general education classrooms and encourages all stakeholders in the education system to have high expectations for all students, including students with disabilities. The UEA supports this resolution. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): The Senate discussed several bills on the UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet today. The following all passed the Senate unanimously and now go to the governor for signature:


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 14, 2019

This year, the UEA is trying something new at the legislature. 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. Here is a new submission...


Davis educator Bianca Mittendorf
is a 
2019 UEA Policy Advisor
Hear Me Roar!

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Bianca Mittendorf, teacher at North Davis Jr. High School in Davis School District

Friday, February 8, marked the second time I was able to participate in UEA’s Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH). Though I had experienced the event previously, I still felt the same sense of accomplishment and empowerment as I walked under the Capitol Rotunda. It was awe inspiring to know that I was being given an opportunity to advocate for public education. As usual, I felt a little trepidation as I considered what I would say when I had a chance to speak with my lawmakers: Should I reference an upcoming bill that I really know nothing about? Will they be able to sense how nervous I am and therefore not listen to me? What if I say the wrong thing?

I then remembered something from the Policy Ambassador training I had received: as an educator, ‘I am the expert when it comes to the day-to-day workings of a public education classroom,’ though I’ll admit it feels a little weird saying that, considering I’m still a newer teacher (3 years in!). After the self- talk, I continued with my mission with my head held a little higher.


Bill to eliminate grading of schools passes the House  – February 13, 2019

Senate Education Committee Meeting (reported by Jay Blain): SB149: Teacher and Student Success Act was presented by Sen. Ann Millner. She said that the bill was part of the ongoing efforts by Our Schools Now to increase education funding. Part of this effort included placingQuestion 1 on the 2018 ballot to raise substantial new revenue for education.

Although Question 1 did not pass, SB149 would allocate a smaller amount of money appropriated in the 2018 legislative session to fund “outcome-based” plans aligned to a district framework for school improvement. The plans will need to demonstrate annual improved student performance based on standardized testing as used in the statewide accountability system. The bill requires that no more than 25% of the money disbursed to a district can be used for increasing salaries and only for school personnel who work with students in an academic role. Sara Jones, speaking on behalf of the UEA, raised concerns about the need to create a complex new distribution method when there is not a significant new source of revenue to fund the program. She also stated that the $65 million allocated last year could continue to be distributed through the flexible allocation line item or, preferably, through the WPU which is the most flexible account for local districts. The bill passed unanimously.

HB130 (1st sub.): Public Education Exit Survey directs the Utah State Board of Education to create standards for an educator “exit survey” to be administered when a teacher leaves employment to collect data to better understand causes of the teacher shortage. The UEA supports the bill. It passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB198: Education Accountability Amendmentsremoves the requirement for the State Board of Education to use a letter grade when assigning a school an overall rating. It passed the House on a vote of 68-2 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB146: Concurrent Enrollment Amendments will allow ninth- and tenth-grade students to take concurrent enrollment credit. It passed on a vote of 60-11.

Two clean-up bills passed the House unanimously and now return to the Senate for concurrence with changes. SB14: Education Reporting Requirements repeals certain reports and related provisions and reenacts and amends the State Superintendent's Annual Report.SB15: Education Recodification Repealers repeals the Parent Choice in Education Act, the Electronic High School Act and various outdated public education code provisions.


Bill to allow the use of test scores for grades passes the House – February 12, 2019

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The day was filled with presentations for funding requests.

Several individual appropriation requests were made, including: Leader In Me (Gibson), School Fees (Robertson), Innovative School Program (Pulsipher), Dual Immersion Late Comers Program Pilot (Anderegg), and Good to Grow: Treehouse Museum Expansion Project (Sandall).

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB118: Incentives for Statewide Assessment Performance allows a teacher to use a student’s score on certain assessments to improve the student’s academic grade or demonstrate the student’s competency. It passed the House on avote of 58-14 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB129: Campaign Amendments permits a candidate for public office to use campaign funds to pay childcare expenses while the candidate is engaged in campaign activity. The UEA supports this bill because it creates options for working people, including educators, who run for office. The House concurred with a Senate amendment. It now goes to the Governor for signature.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 12, 2019

This year, the UEA is trying something new at the legislature. 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. Here is a new submission...

Have I Done Enough?

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest, teacher at Ogden High School in Ogden School District

UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest (left) participated
in UEA Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 8
Every time the school bell rings to excuse classes for the day, the same question goes through my mind. That question has always been "Have I done enough for my students?" I am not confident that I will ever receive a complete answer to this question, but I believe that I must keep trying everything possible to gain a piece of mind when I answer that question after every school day.

For the past six years, I have had the privilege to work with students who have come from every part of the world. Each one of them has come here to Utah with a valuable diverse background, which makes them all unique in many ways. No matter what the differences, they all have a story about their lives and the extraordinary journey they are living. Part of the story is joyful because of the resiliency, effort and courage they possess in their lives. It takes many unique characteristics to come to a new environment with new traditions, but still thrive and go for your goals.

However, many aspects of their story are downright heartbreaking. Some live with family members they had never met before they arrived in the United States. Others live with no family. The social and emotional well-being of my students is always on my mind and I constantly worry if this will impact their lives in extremely negative ways including their educational experiences. I know I have not done enough for my students if their social and emotional needs are not being met. If possible, I would meet these needs myself, but all educators know that it takes a community to make the difference indeed....


Bill would pave the way for the State Board to be appointed by the governor – February 11, 2019

 
An apple for the teacher.,,Sen. Jerry
Stevenson and Heidi Matthews 
share a light moment at the Capitol.
House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HJR13: Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution - State Board of Education was presented by Rep. Melissa Ballard. The resolution would place a constitutional change on the November General Election ballot to remove the requirement that State Board of Education members be elected. This would be required to enact a companion bill, HB242: State Board of Education Revisions. This bill reduces shrinks the number of State Board of Education members from 15 to nine and instead of being elected by voters the Board would be appointed by the Governor.

There was committee discussion and public comment for more than an hour. Speaking on behalf of the UEA, Chase Clyde said that UEA is opposed to the resolution and has consistently supported direct, non-partisan elections for State Board to ensure the Board is accountable directly to voters. Rep Ballard asked the committee to hold HJR13 in committee, meaning no action was taken on the bill. Rep. Ballard also stated that she intends to substitute HB242. The substituted bill will be presented in committee at a later date but she said the bill will create a task force to study State Board governance and make recommendations for the next legislative session.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Two bills, one dealing with taxes and one with elections, passed after receiving unanimous votes in both the House and Senate. They now go to the Governor for signature:

HB49: Repatriation Transition Tax Amendments modifies corporate income tax provisions relating to deferred foreign income. The UEA supports this bill because of the positive impact on the Education Fund.

SB33: Political Procedures Amendments modifies and clarifies in the Election Code, including residency requirements for a local school board candidate.


Huge turnout for Educator Day on the Hill – February 15, 2019


More than 100 teachers and school professionals
participated in UEA Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 15
Educator Day on the Hill (reported by Mike Kelley): It was the perfect storm – several school districts on recess, hot topics on the Hill, and…no storm. The weather cooperated, making way for more than 100 teachers and education support professionals to gather for UEA Educator Day on the Hill. A large contingent from Salt Lake Education Association made up about a third of the group. Also represented were Davis, Alpine, Granite, Box Elder, Provo, Ogden and Grand School Districts, as well as UEA Retired, Utah School Employees Association and the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.


Salt Lake teachers meet with Rep. Sandra Hollins
Several legislators stopped by to visit with participants. Reps. Marie PoulsonKaren Kwan and Joel Briscoe, along with Sen. Kathleen Riebe, thanked teachers for their service and discussed some of the hot education issues. Rep. Steve Eliason, House Chair of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, shared some insight into what he believes education funding will look like at the end of the session. He said he is hopeful that, “if all the pots of money were added together, (public education funding) will be very close to the requests from the UEA and other education groups.”

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB64 (3rd sub.): Lobbyist Expenditures Amendmentsputs in place the same lobbyist expenditure laws currently used by the Legislature and expands them to other elected bodies, including local school boards. It passed the Senate unanimously.


Public Ed budget committee hears dozens of funding requests – February 14, 2019

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The subcommittee continued to hear from legislators asking that their bills and projects be funded, including: Student Credential Enhancement to CTE Career Skills Certification (Rep. Shipp), Junior Achievement (Rep. Peterson), Interventions for Reading Difficulties (Sen. Millner), Unified Sports in High Schools (Rep. Quinn), Grand County School CTE Addition (Rep. Watkins), Create Utah: Digital Literacy Initiative (Rep. Waldrip), HB236: Teacher Salary Supplement Amendments (Rep. Christofferson), Grade 4-6 Reading Assessment Tool (Sen. Stevenson), KnowWhere Campus Safety & Emergency Communication (Rep. Briscoe), Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (Rep. Waldrip) and Utah Computer Science Grant (Rep. Knotwell).

Governor’s Office of Management and Budget staff member Jacob Wright, Governors Education Advisor Tami Pyfer and Utah State Board of Education staff member Scott Jonespresented the differences between the Board’s budget request and the Governor’s budget request. State Board Chair Mark Huntsman reiterated the Board’s emphasis on funding the WPU. He said they have great confidence in the local boards in using the money wisely.

House Education Committee (reported by Mike Kelley): Three UEA-tracked bills were heard in the Committee, all passed unanimously:

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HCR14: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging High Expectations for Students with Disabilities describes the benefits students of all abilities obtain when students with disabilities participate in general education classrooms and encourages all stakeholders in the education system to have high expectations for all students, including students with disabilities. The UEA supports this resolution. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): The Senate discussed several bills on the UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet today. The following all passed the Senate unanimously and now go to the governor for signature:


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 14, 2019

This year, the UEA is trying something new at the legislature. 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. Here is a new submission...


Davis educator Bianca Mittendorf
is a 
2019 UEA Policy Advisor
Hear Me Roar!

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Bianca Mittendorf, teacher at North Davis Jr. High School in Davis School District

Friday, February 8, marked the second time I was able to participate in UEA’s Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH). Though I had experienced the event previously, I still felt the same sense of accomplishment and empowerment as I walked under the Capitol Rotunda. It was awe inspiring to know that I was being given an opportunity to advocate for public education. As usual, I felt a little trepidation as I considered what I would say when I had a chance to speak with my lawmakers: Should I reference an upcoming bill that I really know nothing about? Will they be able to sense how nervous I am and therefore not listen to me? What if I say the wrong thing?

I then remembered something from the Policy Ambassador training I had received: as an educator, ‘I am the expert when it comes to the day-to-day workings of a public education classroom,’ though I’ll admit it feels a little weird saying that, considering I’m still a newer teacher (3 years in!). After the self- talk, I continued with my mission with my head held a little higher.


Bill to eliminate grading of schools passes the House  – February 13, 2019

Senate Education Committee Meeting (reported by Jay Blain): SB149: Teacher and Student Success Act was presented by Sen. Ann Millner. She said that the bill was part of the ongoing efforts by Our Schools Now to increase education funding. Part of this effort included placingQuestion 1 on the 2018 ballot to raise substantial new revenue for education.

Although Question 1 did not pass, SB149 would allocate a smaller amount of money appropriated in the 2018 legislative session to fund “outcome-based” plans aligned to a district framework for school improvement. The plans will need to demonstrate annual improved student performance based on standardized testing as used in the statewide accountability system. The bill requires that no more than 25% of the money disbursed to a district can be used for increasing salaries and only for school personnel who work with students in an academic role. Sara Jones, speaking on behalf of the UEA, raised concerns about the need to create a complex new distribution method when there is not a significant new source of revenue to fund the program. She also stated that the $65 million allocated last year could continue to be distributed through the flexible allocation line item or, preferably, through the WPU which is the most flexible account for local districts. The bill passed unanimously.

HB130 (1st sub.): Public Education Exit Survey directs the Utah State Board of Education to create standards for an educator “exit survey” to be administered when a teacher leaves employment to collect data to better understand causes of the teacher shortage. The UEA supports the bill. It passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB198: Education Accountability Amendmentsremoves the requirement for the State Board of Education to use a letter grade when assigning a school an overall rating. It passed the House on a vote of 68-2 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB146: Concurrent Enrollment Amendments will allow ninth- and tenth-grade students to take concurrent enrollment credit. It passed on a vote of 60-11.

Two clean-up bills passed the House unanimously and now return to the Senate for concurrence with changes. SB14: Education Reporting Requirements repeals certain reports and related provisions and reenacts and amends the State Superintendent's Annual Report.SB15: Education Recodification Repealers repeals the Parent Choice in Education Act, the Electronic High School Act and various outdated public education code provisions.


Bill to allow the use of test scores for grades passes the House – February 12, 2019

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The day was filled with presentations for funding requests.

Several individual appropriation requests were made, including: Leader In Me (Gibson), School Fees (Robertson), Innovative School Program (Pulsipher), Dual Immersion Late Comers Program Pilot (Anderegg), and Good to Grow: Treehouse Museum Expansion Project (Sandall).

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB118: Incentives for Statewide Assessment Performance allows a teacher to use a student’s score on certain assessments to improve the student’s academic grade or demonstrate the student’s competency. It passed the House on avote of 58-14 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB129: Campaign Amendments permits a candidate for public office to use campaign funds to pay childcare expenses while the candidate is engaged in campaign activity. The UEA supports this bill because it creates options for working people, including educators, who run for office. The House concurred with a Senate amendment. It now goes to the Governor for signature.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 12, 2019

This year, the UEA is trying something new at the legislature. 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. Here is a new submission...

Have I Done Enough?

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest, teacher at Ogden High School in Ogden School District

UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest (left) participated
in UEA Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 8
Every time the school bell rings to excuse classes for the day, the same question goes through my mind. That question has always been "Have I done enough for my students?" I am not confident that I will ever receive a complete answer to this question, but I believe that I must keep trying everything possible to gain a piece of mind when I answer that question after every school day.

For the past six years, I have had the privilege to work with students who have come from every part of the world. Each one of them has come here to Utah with a valuable diverse background, which makes them all unique in many ways. No matter what the differences, they all have a story about their lives and the extraordinary journey they are living. Part of the story is joyful because of the resiliency, effort and courage they possess in their lives. It takes many unique characteristics to come to a new environment with new traditions, but still thrive and go for your goals.

However, many aspects of their story are downright heartbreaking. Some live with family members they had never met before they arrived in the United States. Others live with no family. The social and emotional well-being of my students is always on my mind and I constantly worry if this will impact their lives in extremely negative ways including their educational experiences. I know I have not done enough for my students if their social and emotional needs are not being met. If possible, I would meet these needs myself, but all educators know that it takes a community to make the difference indeed....


Bill would pave the way for the State Board to be appointed by the governor – February 11, 2019

 
An apple for the teacher.,,Sen. Jerry
Stevenson and Heidi Matthews 
share a light moment at the Capitol.
House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HJR13: Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution - State Board of Education was presented by Rep. Melissa Ballard. The resolution would place a constitutional change on the November General Election ballot to remove the requirement that State Board of Education members be elected. This would be required to enact a companion bill, HB242: State Board of Education Revisions. This bill reduces shrinks the number of State Board of Education members from 15 to nine and instead of being elected by voters the Board would be appointed by the Governor.

There was committee discussion and public comment for more than an hour. Speaking on behalf of the UEA, Chase Clyde said that UEA is opposed to the resolution and has consistently supported direct, non-partisan elections for State Board to ensure the Board is accountable directly to voters. Rep Ballard asked the committee to hold HJR13 in committee, meaning no action was taken on the bill. Rep. Ballard also stated that she intends to substitute HB242. The substituted bill will be presented in committee at a later date but she said the bill will create a task force to study State Board governance and make recommendations for the next legislative session.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Two bills, one dealing with taxes and one with elections, passed after receiving unanimous votes in both the House and Senate. They now go to the Governor for signature:

HB49: Repatriation Transition Tax Amendments modifies corporate income tax provisions relating to deferred foreign income. The UEA supports this bill because of the positive impact on the Education Fund.

SB33: Political Procedures Amendments modifies and clarifies in the Election Code, including residency requirements for a local school board candidate.

Huge turnout for Educator Day on the Hill – February 15, 2019


More than 100 teachers and school professionals
participated in UEA Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 15
Educator Day on the Hill (reported by Mike Kelley): It was the perfect storm – several school districts on recess, hot topics on the Hill, and…no storm. The weather cooperated, making way for more than 100 teachers and education support professionals to gather for UEA Educator Day on the Hill. A large contingent from Salt Lake Education Association made up about a third of the group. Also represented were Davis, Alpine, Granite, Box Elder, Provo, Ogden and Grand School Districts, as well as UEA Retired, Utah School Employees Association and the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.


Salt Lake teachers meet with Rep. Sandra Hollins
Several legislators stopped by to visit with participants. Reps. Marie PoulsonKaren Kwan and Joel Briscoe, along with Sen. Kathleen Riebe, thanked teachers for their service and discussed some of the hot education issues. Rep. Steve Eliason, House Chair of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, shared some insight into what he believes education funding will look like at the end of the session. He said he is hopeful that, “if all the pots of money were added together, (public education funding) will be very close to the requests from the UEA and other education groups.”

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB64 (3rd sub.): Lobbyist Expenditures Amendmentsputs in place the same lobbyist expenditure laws currently used by the Legislature and expands them to other elected bodies, including local school boards. It passed the Senate unanimously.


Public Ed budget committee hears dozens of funding requests – February 14, 2019

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The subcommittee continued to hear from legislators asking that their bills and projects be funded, including: Student Credential Enhancement to CTE Career Skills Certification (Rep. Shipp), Junior Achievement (Rep. Peterson), Interventions for Reading Difficulties (Sen. Millner), Unified Sports in High Schools (Rep. Quinn), Grand County School CTE Addition (Rep. Watkins), Create Utah: Digital Literacy Initiative (Rep. Waldrip), HB236: Teacher Salary Supplement Amendments (Rep. Christofferson), Grade 4-6 Reading Assessment Tool (Sen. Stevenson), KnowWhere Campus Safety & Emergency Communication (Rep. Briscoe), Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (Rep. Waldrip) and Utah Computer Science Grant (Rep. Knotwell).

Governor’s Office of Management and Budget staff member Jacob Wright, Governors Education Advisor Tami Pyfer and Utah State Board of Education staff member Scott Jonespresented the differences between the Board’s budget request and the Governor’s budget request. State Board Chair Mark Huntsman reiterated the Board’s emphasis on funding the WPU. He said they have great confidence in the local boards in using the money wisely.

House Education Committee (reported by Mike Kelley): Three UEA-tracked bills were heard in the Committee, all passed unanimously:

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HCR14: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging High Expectations for Students with Disabilities describes the benefits students of all abilities obtain when students with disabilities participate in general education classrooms and encourages all stakeholders in the education system to have high expectations for all students, including students with disabilities. The UEA supports this resolution. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): The Senate discussed several bills on the UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet today. The following all passed the Senate unanimously and now go to the governor for signature:


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 14, 2019

This year, the UEA is trying something new at the legislature. 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. Here is a new submission...


Davis educator Bianca Mittendorf
is a 
2019 UEA Policy Advisor
Hear Me Roar!

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Bianca Mittendorf, teacher at North Davis Jr. High School in Davis School District

Friday, February 8, marked the second time I was able to participate in UEA’s Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH). Though I had experienced the event previously, I still felt the same sense of accomplishment and empowerment as I walked under the Capitol Rotunda. It was awe inspiring to know that I was being given an opportunity to advocate for public education. As usual, I felt a little trepidation as I considered what I would say when I had a chance to speak with my lawmakers: Should I reference an upcoming bill that I really know nothing about? Will they be able to sense how nervous I am and therefore not listen to me? What if I say the wrong thing?

I then remembered something from the Policy Ambassador training I had received: as an educator, ‘I am the expert when it comes to the day-to-day workings of a public education classroom,’ though I’ll admit it feels a little weird saying that, considering I’m still a newer teacher (3 years in!). After the self- talk, I continued with my mission with my head held a little higher.


Bill to eliminate grading of schools passes the House  – February 13, 2019

Senate Education Committee Meeting (reported by Jay Blain): SB149: Teacher and Student Success Act was presented by Sen. Ann Millner. She said that the bill was part of the ongoing efforts by Our Schools Now to increase education funding. Part of this effort included placingQuestion 1 on the 2018 ballot to raise substantial new revenue for education.

Although Question 1 did not pass, SB149 would allocate a smaller amount of money appropriated in the 2018 legislative session to fund “outcome-based” plans aligned to a district framework for school improvement. The plans will need to demonstrate annual improved student performance based on standardized testing as used in the statewide accountability system. The bill requires that no more than 25% of the money disbursed to a district can be used for increasing salaries and only for school personnel who work with students in an academic role. Sara Jones, speaking on behalf of the UEA, raised concerns about the need to create a complex new distribution method when there is not a significant new source of revenue to fund the program. She also stated that the $65 million allocated last year could continue to be distributed through the flexible allocation line item or, preferably, through the WPU which is the most flexible account for local districts. The bill passed unanimously.

HB130 (1st sub.): Public Education Exit Survey directs the Utah State Board of Education to create standards for an educator “exit survey” to be administered when a teacher leaves employment to collect data to better understand causes of the teacher shortage. The UEA supports the bill. It passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB198: Education Accountability Amendmentsremoves the requirement for the State Board of Education to use a letter grade when assigning a school an overall rating. It passed the House on a vote of 68-2 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB146: Concurrent Enrollment Amendments will allow ninth- and tenth-grade students to take concurrent enrollment credit. It passed on a vote of 60-11.

Two clean-up bills passed the House unanimously and now return to the Senate for concurrence with changes. SB14: Education Reporting Requirements repeals certain reports and related provisions and reenacts and amends the State Superintendent's Annual Report.SB15: Education Recodification Repealers repeals the Parent Choice in Education Act, the Electronic High School Act and various outdated public education code provisions.


Bill to allow the use of test scores for grades passes the House – February 12, 2019

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The day was filled with presentations for funding requests.

Several individual appropriation requests were made, including: Leader In Me (Gibson), School Fees (Robertson), Innovative School Program (Pulsipher), Dual Immersion Late Comers Program Pilot (Anderegg), and Good to Grow: Treehouse Museum Expansion Project (Sandall).

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB118: Incentives for Statewide Assessment Performance allows a teacher to use a student’s score on certain assessments to improve the student’s academic grade or demonstrate the student’s competency. It passed the House on avote of 58-14 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB129: Campaign Amendments permits a candidate for public office to use campaign funds to pay childcare expenses while the candidate is engaged in campaign activity. The UEA supports this bill because it creates options for working people, including educators, who run for office. The House concurred with a Senate amendment. It now goes to the Governor for signature.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 12, 2019

This year, the UEA is trying something new at the legislature. 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. Here is a new submission...

Have I Done Enough?

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest, teacher at Ogden High School in Ogden School District

UEA Policy Ambassador Isac Ernest (left) participated
in UEA Educator Day on the Hill Feb. 8
Every time the school bell rings to excuse classes for the day, the same question goes through my mind. That question has always been "Have I done enough for my students?" I am not confident that I will ever receive a complete answer to this question, but I believe that I must keep trying everything possible to gain a piece of mind when I answer that question after every school day.

For the past six years, I have had the privilege to work with students who have come from every part of the world. Each one of them has come here to Utah with a valuable diverse background, which makes them all unique in many ways. No matter what the differences, they all have a story about their lives and the extraordinary journey they are living. Part of the story is joyful because of the resiliency, effort and courage they possess in their lives. It takes many unique characteristics to come to a new environment with new traditions, but still thrive and go for your goals.

However, many aspects of their story are downright heartbreaking. Some live with family members they had never met before they arrived in the United States. Others live with no family. The social and emotional well-being of my students is always on my mind and I constantly worry if this will impact their lives in extremely negative ways including their educational experiences. I know I have not done enough for my students if their social and emotional needs are not being met. If possible, I would meet these needs myself, but all educators know that it takes a community to make the difference indeed....


Bill would pave the way for the State Board to be appointed by the governor – February 11, 2019

 
An apple for the teacher.,,Sen. Jerry
Stevenson and Heidi Matthews 
share a light moment at the Capitol.
House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HJR13: Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution - State Board of Education was presented by Rep. Melissa Ballard. The resolution would place a constitutional change on the November General Election ballot to remove the requirement that State Board of Education members be elected. This would be required to enact a companion bill, HB242: State Board of Education Revisions. This bill reduces shrinks the number of State Board of Education members from 15 to nine and instead of being elected by voters the Board would be appointed by the Governor.

There was committee discussion and public comment for more than an hour. Speaking on behalf of the UEA, Chase Clyde said that UEA is opposed to the resolution and has consistently supported direct, non-partisan elections for State Board to ensure the Board is accountable directly to voters. Rep Ballard asked the committee to hold HJR13 in committee, meaning no action was taken on the bill. Rep. Ballard also stated that she intends to substitute HB242. The substituted bill will be presented in committee at a later date but she said the bill will create a task force to study State Board governance and make recommendations for the next legislative session.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Two bills, one dealing with taxes and one with elections, passed after receiving unanimous votes in both the House and Senate. They now go to the Governor for signature:

HB49: Repatriation Transition Tax Amendments modifies corporate income tax provisions relating to deferred foreign income. The UEA supports this bill because of the positive impact on the Education Fund.

SB33: Political Procedures Amendments modifies and clarifies in the Election Code, including residency requirements for a local school board candidate.